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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Whole New World

The past few posts have been a bit of a downer, so here's your dose of smiles.

Being a parent of a preemie opens a world to you. A world you had no idea existed. Sure, you read about things like viability and premature labor when you (or your wife, or your friend) were pregnant, but they didn't mean anything to you.

It's like how you can never understand how much you'll love your own child until you see them there, dirty and sticky, covered in a lollipop, reaching up for you, saying, "Mommy, I wanna snuggle." Anyone but a parent would run the other direction (alright, even as a parent, I've been guilty of doing JUST that... but I digress). But as a parent, the dirt, the snot, the poop, the cries-- they don't get in the way of seeing this little human as something miraculous. And you just cannot understand until you are a parent yourself.

So it is in the preemie world.

You just cannot understand how much these parents devote their lives to their children. Being only a few months into this world, I feel very much like an outsider. Like a new kid at school, I'm not sure where to sit at lunchtime. But not in a "they don't like me" kinda way. More in a "I wish I could be as cool as my older sister" kinda way. I am, by all means, a novice. And I wish I could explain the power that these parents bring to the table.

Have a question regarding an IEP? I can give you the names of 5 parents, 3 lawyers and 3 school board officials who will go to bat for you.

Have an inkling that something might not be right with your kid? You'll get an answer of 15 different possibilities with 15 detailed experiences of kids with the same symptoms.

Need information on a medication? A medical device? A nursing agency? Wondering how to confront your insurance company? Not sure what to expect at an appointment with an Ophthalmologist? Or an ENT? Or what will happen during your child's surgery? No worries. I have people to help with that, too.

These people are incredible.

The most incredible part of this New World is that the civilians of Preemie World are living right under your nose. They go to your grocery story, they shop at your mall, they work with you, their kids go to school with your kids... they are everywhere.

Before Charlotte, I really, honestly thought that people went to the hospital at 40 weeks pregnant and came home three days later with a child. When I was in labor with Caleb, Peter and I walked through the parking garage on our way to the hospital. I looked at him and said, "When I walk back here, we'll be carrying a baby!"

I was totally ignorant of the world of the NICU. I hadn't thought that some people make that walk no longer pregnant, but without a child. I didn't realize that people walked back to their car and called a funeral home. I never though that we might not have need of the nursery at home. In that sense, we are incredibly lucky (yet another post, for tomorrow). Charlotte has come home. She uses her nursery. We know her. And no matter what happens to her tomorrow, or the day after that, we know her. We will always know her.

As much as this journey has pained us, I am so grateful for the world we now know exists. I am a better person because of the people I have met through all of this. And when I don't live up to the standards of this Whole New World, I know there are people surrounding me who will assist in whatever way I need.

1 comment:

  1. it is a rather amazing side effect of having a preemie. i'm glad we met! :)