Thursday, January 13, 2011

Confession of a Preemie Mom

Being premature isn't a disability. It's a disadvantage, for sure, but it's not something that will stop my son from doing the same things as other kids. In these early stages, it just takes longer. I hope.

In fact, when I talked to Finley's neurosurgeon about his brain hemorrhage (a not-uncommon occurrence among micro-preemies), she said that he may get straight A's in school, go to college, and play football. Or he may never walk or talk. And we can't know until he gets there. Or doesn't.

The pediatrician said at our last visit that he doesn't think Finley will face any big developmental delays or disabilities, and that we can just keep an eye out for some of the subtler stuff when he's in school. But really, what does this guy know?

Most of the time it is easy to live with knowing that my son might be different from other kids. I already know that he struggles with things like pushing himself up with his arms and crawling, where other kids do these things with little effort and no tears. And I know that he's not expected to be caught up to his chronological age, and those early months he spent with tubes all in and out of him he was struggling to survive when babies his age were practicing tummy time and learning to grab toys. He has worked so hard to catch up in the ways he has caught up.

But sometimes it's not okay. Like today, when we went to a playdate with a little girl Finley's age. She was so fat next to him, and strong. She could move wherever she wanted and sit and crawl and roll without a struggle at all, and without help. And the moment she got up on her fours and moved across the carpet, I had to hold back tears.

It's not anybody's fault, and I can believe these problems will be rectified with time, but it still isn't easy to watch your child drop sobbing in exhaustion from trying something that you see a baby his age doing effortlessly the next day. I wouldn't trade my baby for any super-coordinated, strong, genius baby. But I would trade my left and right legs for things to be easier for him.


Lisa said...

I've recently begun to know what that feels like--at least something similar. I have to admit that I usually skip over things when people list all of the words their kids can say, because it digs a pit deep in my stomach, because my son, who is almost 3, still isn't talking. And people tell me all the time about successful, happy people with autism, but the thing that no one will admit is that lots of people with autism don't succeed, and don't lead normal and happy lives, and everything is usually harder for them. And that's when I want to cry.

My nephew was born at 29.5 weeks, and with lots of therapy and the like, he is now totally up to speed in every aspect at age 3. Finley's chances really are good.

Catherine W said...

But I would trade my left and right legs for things to be easier for him.

I've had this thought so many times in relation to J. It's so hard, just waiting and waiting, to see what will happen, if they will get there in their own sweet time or not.

I always just try to remember that J spent a long time figuring out how to breath on her own. As you say, all that time other babies were doing their tummy time and stuff, she was still lurking around in an incubator.

I've had those moments, watching those seemingly enormous babies sit next to J and then do something that seemed a million miles away from what she could do.

She's getting there. But I do wish it wasn't so hard. And those brain haemorrhages do worry me, I wonder if they did cause more subtle changes? Or perhaps she's actually just fine and it's me that can't let go of it. Sigh. Who knows?