Becoming a preemie parent is often quite unexpected and is not a “club” that any of us intended to join. But here we are in that “club” – and what a “club” it is!
There are so many things I wish were different – I wish our sons had not been born at 24 weeks gestation, I wish we had not lost Campbell, I wish Joseph didn’t have the multitude of health complications he does as a result of his prematurity, I wish prematurity didn’t happen, I wish we had not spent 228 days in the NICU, I wish my labor could have been stopped….I wish, I wish, I wish….
But did impact our family and I can’t change anything. Here’s the one part of our prematurity journey that I would not change – the amazing and wonderful friendships that have been gained, nurtured, and fostered as a result of prematurity.
When the days are long, the doctor appointments seem never ending, the research has no end, and the paperwork is ongoing, I think of all my preemie parent friends. The friends who truly “get it” – the friends who truly understand this wild journey called prematurity. The friends who understand the medical jargon you use in your every day language, the friends who understand that visiting in the winter months is out of the question because you are on “lock down,” the friends who understand you may not return their call for days because you are over your head in paperwork for early intervention, the friends who understand that sometimes the only thing to say is, “hang in there”, the friends who understand what it is like to leave your child at the hospital day in and day out.
Preemie parent friendships are special. It is a bond that can’t be described in words unless you have walked the road of prematurity. It is a unique “club.”
When I think back through our prematurity journey and the friends I have made, I am thankful. While there are many days I wish our family did not have to deal with the difficulties of prematurity, I am blessed by the friendships I have made. I cannot imagine my life without these friends. They are special, they are strong, they are courageous, they are bold, they are advocates, they are loving, they are powerful, they are unique, they are tenacious, they are researchers, they are teachers, they are kind, they are giving, they are passionate, they are amazing, they are beautiful – they are preemie parents.
To preemie parents around the world, I hope you’re celebrating your strength and your resilience on Parents of Preemies Day!