This week has been an absolute whirlwind. I owe replies to several of you – thanks for being patient. Owen has had at least one appointment each day – so stay tuned on Monday and Tuesday to learn more about his next PT and OT goals, a new hypothesis about his lungs, his 18 month well visit and the great plans for the next YEAR (that seems like forever away) for early intervention. Also, watch over the next 48 hours for several new infographics for World Prematurity Day (tomorrow) and Month. Let’s make sure no one in the social media universe misses the significance of tomorrow.
The week wasn’t just busy with appointments. There was also some much needed preemie mom bonding. I really hope that every preemie parent has a fellow preemie parent to spend time with after they leave the NICU. I talked a lot about this subject in my post NICU Mom Bond and as important as the relationships are in the NICU, I also think it’s important to keep them when you get out.
Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my friendships, whether they are in the same situation as me or not, but there is something refreshing about someone who just gets what you’re feeling, without you needing to try to find the words for it. Those moments when you can talk about development and medical terms without needing to give background and you never feel the need to explain why your child is the way he is.
It’s like finally exhaling that deep breath that you’ve been holding onto for too long.
On Wednesday, I as lucky enough to have two mom dates. First, Owen and I had a play date with NICU friends Julie and William. William is one of the most amazing stories that I know. He’s the sole survivor of 23 week triplets. He had grade four bleeds requiring a shunt and has significant lung damage. After 9.5 long months he left the NICU last fall with a trache. He was so famous and loved that when he was discharged, it was announced over the NICU PA system. William had his trache removed in September and is O2 free! He and Owen played so well together. Is he not adorable?
As if that wasn’t enough joy in one day, I also got to have a glass of wine with another preemie mom, Sara, who I met through a mutual friend. Sara is mom to Jackson, a 3-year-old, who also had grade four bleeds and a shunt. Since Sara is a couple years ahead of us in the NICU journey, she reached out to us when she learned our story and has been a source of online support throughout. Like me, Sara made the decision to put her career on hold so she could focus on her son. We were able to meet over the summer and now, we’ll hopefully see each other most months when we attend Amplatz Parent Advisory Board meetings (fingers crossed we’re officially accepted). I unfortunately didn’t get a picture of Jackson when he and Owen met over the summer, but his mom said I could steal one off from her FB page.
I have to say to Sara and Julie, and all my preemie and special needs mom friends – thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Whether you’re an online friend or one who I know personally, I couldn’t do this without you. Thank you.
If you don’t have a preemie mom friend in your town, please find one. Life After NICU regularly asks parents to posts their location so they can find families in their area. Also, seek out preemie groups on Facebook, I’ve met so many wonderful moms this way. The groups are often private so you can say anything you want and nobody, but those in the group can see what you’re saying. Other ways to meet families like your own is to volunteer for organizations like Ronald McDonald House, March of Dimes and your local hospital. I promise, it’ll be worth any effort.
© Copyright Tatum, All rights Reserved. Written For: Ain't No Roller Coaster