COVID-19, development, mommy blog, prematurity, Tampa blogger

Preemie Mommy Reflections & Amazing News

My journey to motherhood was quite different than my expectations. No baby shower, no feeling the baby kicking at night, no making it to my third trimester, no gorgeous maternity photos. Instead, it was filled with anxiety and uncertainty, ironically, a lot of what we are experiencing in the world right now. It was only by the grace of God that I remained hopeful and steady throughout, even when I had a moment or two of breakdowns where I just had to let it out.

Even today, my experience as a mother differs quite a bit from many others. Mine is filled with trach changes, putting g-tubes back in, ordering and administering medication, ordering medical supplies, and keeping track of many doctors’ visits. It sounds like a lot, but I am grateful for it. Every day, I get to be the mom of a miracle. I look into my son’s eyes and am consistently in awe of how amazing he is and how much I never imagined him getting to this point. My focus has always been the present and while I knew he would grow and develop, I have tried not to let myself think too much about it as a way of not placing unrealistic pressure on him or myself as a mom.

Yesterday, we received some amazing news: Emerson’s decannulation will be on July 7th! Yes, the trach is coming out! I am so filled with emotions that I don’t know what to do. When I think about all that he has endured and overcome, I just thank God for creating this strong little boy and choosing me to be his mommy.

Lately, I have been struggling a bit with recognizing that the issues you experience as a preemie mom do not always stop when you leave the hospital. For us, there have been many hurdles after that, and while more recently, our focus is on the huge hurdle of eating, knowing that his trach will be coming out soon gives me comfort. It reminds me that we, as his parents, have done and are doing our best. He is developing at the rate that is best for him, and I am so proud. This journey hasn’t been the easiest, but it’s one that I am so grateful for. I have grown in ways I never could have imagined. 💜

development, mommy blog, NICU Life, prematurity, Tampa blogger

At Their Own Pace

Development can be a sensitive subject. Some parents (I think moms in particular) measure their success as a parent in terms of how their child is developing. So I tend to cringe any time I hear questions asked about development (ex: are they walking yet or why aren’t they walking yet). The thing about development is that while you can certainly help with your child’s development, at the end of the day, they develop at their own pace.

Having a micro preemie, one of the things I heard a lot was that I should expect him to be behind developmentally, but that he would likely catch up. Now that my son is two, I see what they meant. However, because I don’t have other children, I don’t necessarily think of it as him catching up, rather, it’s just his own pace of development.

However, now that he has accomplished so many developmental milestones, I find myself somewhat anxious about him continuing to move forward. Prime example: we are trying to get him to point things out to us, and he just doesn’t right now. It seems like something so easy, and I think because I know he knows what certain things are, I feel like he should be doing it. But alas, he’s not. This is when I have to remind myself that it’s at his own pace.

The outside world already places enough pressure on our children and is ready to quickly define them based on a number of things. We as parents are their safe space. It can be tough to walk the fine line between pushing them to develop, and pressuring them to develop. In the end, I think we all want the same thing for our kid(s), which is for them to be healthy and develop to the best of their abilities. We also tend to be on high alert for signs that they may need a little extra help developing in certain areas. For example, my son sees both a physical therapist and speech therapist, which is a huge part of why he’s come so far after a 191-day hospital stay.

Do you also struggle with this? I would imagine it’s likely something that moms of full-term babies probably deal with as well. I would love to hear your stories about how you manage the art of not adding additional pressure to your child because you are ready for them to move forward in their development, so please feel free to share. We are all in this together! 💜

**Update: When I originally started drafting this last week, Emerson would not point at anything… now he’s pointing to his nose! 😊