November is Prematurity Awareness Month. It’s also the month Toby, Eleanor and Callista were born and the month I actively fought from Nov. 3, 2010, till Nov. 22, 2010, to keep them safe from battling the dangers of premature birth.

We all know my story has a happy ending, but none of us knew that then. The dangers were very real. The fear still haunts me. The experience has changed me forever. Part of who I was before then was completely erased and replaced with who I am now.

I sympathize with the pains of pregnancy. I was measuring at 34 weeks pregnant when I was only 22 weeks into my triplets’ pregnancy. That was the last fundal height I had done, so I have no clue how much I grew by 28 weeks when I actually gave birth.

The pains of pregnancy are very real and very difficult. Being pregnant while doing all sorts of Normal Life things is painful, exhausting and frustrating. Your mind remembers what your body is otherwise capable of, but your body screams NO.

I’ll sympathize with the pain, the frustration, the feelings of being whittled down to being more than a vessel than a person, but I absolutely cannot support people wishing a pregnancy would end before 38 (maybe), 39 (I’m closer to sympathetic), or, on my worst days, a full 40 weeks.

It’s far more difficult to watch your premature infant live in a box, undergo a battery of tests multiple times a day and have tubes and wires going every which way. It’s more difficult to wait to hear the results of brain ultrasounds, echocardiograms, blood-cell counts. It’s more difficult to see your baby and know that his or her wellbeing is no longer your task, that it’s now in the hands of total strangers you must instantly trust. It’s more difficult to have whatever faith in God you’ve believed thus far be put to the ultimate test.

If you’re thinking, “Gosh, I wish my baby were here already!” when you’ve still got weeks or months left in your pregnancy, by all means, think it. You’re entitled to impatience. Say it if you want.

Just don’t say it to me. Chances are I won’t bite your head off, but my eyes will glaze over, my mouth will tighten, and I’ll have to turn away.

One in eight babies in the USA are born premature. Don’t ask to join our club.

World Prematurity Day is November 17. Learn how you can help give all babies a healthy chance at life with organizations like WHOMarch of Dimes, Bliss.

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5 Responses to Grow people, grow patience

  1. Laura Case says:

    As a mom to two preemies, I could not agree more. Don’t say it to me. Even thought we are well past the scary times, one of my boys has ADHD now. Premature babies are more likely to have ADHD. I want to cry when I think that he could LITERALLY could have an easier time in life if he were born full-term.

    • Melissa D says:

      Aww, I read everything you both write and I’m so thankful to be in the preemie mom club with such awesome mamas. This is awesome, Jennifer, and I’m totally going to share it.

      For me, the hardest part was leaving the hospital without my baby 135 nights in a row and calling the hospital 135 mornings after to find out how she did that night. Even when my 4 year old 26 weeker is driving me CRAZY (she’s four and she’s really good at it), I stop to think of that tiny one pounder in the plastic box being cared for by strangers and thank my lucky stars she’s stubborn enough to still be here to drive me crazy.

  2. Lexy says:

    This is such a great post! I am 25w2d with twins (measured 35w at appointment this morning — these babies are huge!) and I am already so over people asking if I’m “ready to have them taken out.” I’ve been getting comments like that since 22w and I’m so done! Of course I’m not ready for them to come out! I’m ready to be off restricted activity. I’m ready to stop worrying about my heartrate. I’m ready to stop taking my blood pressure 6 times a day. But hopefully I’ll be doing all of those things for another 12 weeks (my OB doesn’t let twins past 37w)!! I wish people thought more before they spoke.

  3. Caileigh says:

    It’s phrasing for me – I can handle “I wish I was done already”, or “I wish I was full term already” but I completely agree with you. Wishing your baby born before they’re ready, and nope. I’ll be walking away.

  4. […] On being patient for full-term births […]

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