Thursday, August 09, 2007

Are they still preemies?

During some emails that came through on my PreemieBlogMoms Yahoo Group recently, someone posed the question, "Won't they always be a preemie or do they out grow that term when they are all caught up or what?" She was asked if her daughter was still a preemie or when would she no longer be considered a preemie. How do YOU answer that?

For me, my girls will always be considered preemies. I know some say former preemies or ex-preemies, and to me, that is the same thing. It is a label that I will always carry with me in regards to my girls. How could I not? It's what has totally defined them from before they were even born. Even now, though they seem like happy, well-adjusted almost five year olds with no special needs; every illness or health problem, every behavior issue that comes up, even different personality issues, I question and wonder if it's somehow related to their early birth.

I wonder how those 114 days in the NICU could not affect them in some way. And about the months on the ventilator and oscillator, the suctioning, the steroids and all the other drugs, the heel sticks and IV's and blood transfusions, the eye exams and eye surgery, the bright lights and all the noise, ALL when they were supposed to be snug and warm in their mother's womb, but weren't...I could go on and on.

It's true, my day-to-day worries when they were infants are gone, about the reflux and are they taking enough fluids, etc., and it was hard to let that try to treat them just like any other toddler. But to me, they weren't like other toddlers. It was very difficult to let the feeding worries go, let them eat when they wanted to and trust that it was enough. It took me several years and lots of research and reading, particularly the books by Ellyn Satter: "Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense" and "How to Get Your Kid to Eat: But Not Too Much". Of course, lots of prayer, too.

Now I'm on to other behavior things, like them being overly shy and cautious, overwhelmed easily by lots of commotion and noises (although this has gotten much better over the years). Is it normal child behavior or is it something more? Is it anything to do with being a twin and their traits and behaviors that come along with that? I'm finding this much more difficult to identify. For example, we are planning a trip to Disney World in October. The girls will be five. They should really be excited about going, don't you think? Meeting the Princesses and Mickey Mouse? They tell me they don't want to go. They don't want to get dressed up as a Princess at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. What little girl do you know who wouldn't love this? And if it was just this one incident, maybe I wouldn't question it, but it's more than that, much more.
We love the shirts our friends sent us...
Cute girls
Wouldn't they make beautiful princesses?

These are some reasons why my girls will always be preemies. It's just part of who they are. I really try not to let my first thoughts always come back to prematurity. I don't know. Maybe my thoughts on this will change over the years. I have no idea what's in store. I just know that I will always be a strong advocate for them and whatever they need, vigilant, yet not smothering, always willing to explore with them...
...and I love them more than they'll ever know.


Tracy said...

Kim IKWYM about always being preemies. It's is like with every child of mine always being my 'baby'. Prayers for you at the appt. today.

Heather said...

I agree with you. My girls will always be preemies and to some that seems strange.

They are defined by it. Preemies are strongwilled, often stubborn and they want to survive. That shows in everything they do. I have one preemie that is anxious, nervous but for the most part outgoing if that makes sense. Then my other one is stubborn, headstrong, not shy at all. If she hadn't been at birth she wouldn't be here.

Also as things come up as they grow it always comes back to "well they are preemies" so it is normal for us to always wonder.

Your girls are very cute! Glad Sydney's heart check up went well.

(preemie board)

ERen said...

Kim, your girlies have on eskimo joes's shirts?@?@?@?@ Where did they get them? I used to work at EJs in college. So funny.


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