There’s proud and then there is a preemie kind of proud.
In the aftermath of a premature birth, as the shock begins to subside, you see just how amazing your early baby is.
I vividly remember the moment I was first overwhelmed by pride on the neonatal unit.
The doctors had asked me to step outside the room, but I had wanted to stay as they tried to take my baby off his ventilator. Watching as they removed the tube from his throat, willing him to breath, so desperately wanting for everything to be okay…
…I was his mum and I had to be with him.
And there it was, an intense emotion that stemmed from my core and filled every fibre of my being.
I’d witnessed my tiny baby do something on his own for the very first time.
I’d witnessed him do something amazing.
I’d seen him take a breath all by himself, I’d watched as my own child learned to breath.
I was so very proud. A preemie kind of proud.
Our children bring joy to our lives, as well as sleepless nights, worry and the occasional toddler tantrum!
We are proud of their accomplishments; the big and the small ones – from first words or sharing a toy to first steps or dancing to their favourite tune. As parents of premature babies we wait longer for those special firsts as our little ones develop according to their birth rather than due date. As a new mother I didn’t wait 6 weeks for our first smile, we waited four months… and when that moment came it was a preemie kind of proud!
I was proud too, like any parent, when my then 3 year old son took centre stage as Joseph in his nursery nativity play. I fought back tears of pride; but the tears and emotion were placed not only in that moment but also in another. Images of those first few weeks in NICU flashed in my mind and I couldn’t help but think back to those early days and of how far our little boy had come.
I was proud, but a preemie kind of proud.
Having a baby born too soon I have seen my son achieve things that most parents would take for granted. For 10 weeks he continued to develop outside the womb and I saw the incredible process of my final trimester as he learned essential skills like breathing and the suck reflex.
I do not know yet how these early experiences will affect my response to future achievements as my son continues to grow.
Will I always feel a preemie kind of proud?
Is feeling a preemie kind of proud a bad thing?
Or will my memories of the early days fade and pride become based in that moment alone?
Proud or preemie proud, I love him just the same.