This might seem like a strange title for a post, especially since the girls turned two in January. What I actually mean is that today was their official due date. When you have a premature baby, they have when they were born and when they should have been born. The language used is their “actual age” and then there is their “corrected age”. Corrected age obviously meaning “how old they should be”.
The premature baby journey has ended for us and I didn’t think I would feel such relief. I wanted to write this post to mark the date more than anything, but it’s not until now, as I sit at my computer, that I’ve actually felt something.
NO LONGER CORRECTED
I suppose this has been such a big milestone for me – for us – because when a premature baby turns two it starts to level out. The growth charts are switched over to those that full term children use and any developmental delays catch up. (In theory!).
Little Man was such a beautiful entry into motherhood. Being full term meant that I just took him home with me from the hospital. There were zero concerns for his health, no separation and no endless medical appointments taking up his first year. I am so unbelievably thankful that we got to experience that because having a premmie baby in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) is a real shock to the system. As hard as it was for us juggling that with a toddler, I can’t even imagine the emotion for a first time parent. You are definitely robbed of something special.
I say this because something is or has gone wrong and there’s been an emergency birth for starters. That alone is undeniably frightening and what people don’t realise is that NICU is actually just the base camp at the bottom of the mountain. You have no time to recover. No time to get your head around what has or is happening. You’re just there learning lingo and medical jargon that you weren’t in any way prepared for. At least that’s what it was like for me.
OUR PREMMIE JOURNEY HAS ENDED
Looking back on photos of that time, when the girls were so small, does make me smile. For a long time pictures were, not hard to look at, but they didn’t give me joy either. If that makes sense? It was such an overwhelming time that I’m only now appreciating it for what it was. For a while it definitely did feel like we went through a huge trauma but now I’m on the other side of that and feeling a bit more like I can breathe.
Copperhead was officially discharged from our pediatrician at the beginning of this year. And that. Felt. AMAZING! We have absolutely no concerns about her development. In fact she’s always seemed a little further ahead. She’s physically bigger than Little Man was at her age and talking sooner too. I genuinely think that nothing much in this life could stop her and being born premature certainly wasn’t going to get in the way!
As you know, Little Red continues to see our pediatrician for her non-premature related health issues. (Read more by clicking here). However, we’re incredibly fortunate that our daughters have no lasting dramas from being born ten weeks early. I’ve written before how it kind of worked in our favour because chances are concerns surrounding LR wouldn’t have been picked up if she had been full term. I feel extremely lucky that we were able to get in with great services and people and that it all happened by chance, really.
Two years seemed like such a lifetime when they were born. My chest feels a little less tight now that we’ve finally made it through to the other side of the premmie baby journey.