***Disclaimer. This post is being written right before I am heading to bed. It is being written for the simple fact that I can't get this out of my head and if I don't write it, I will suffer through hours of going over it over and over again. I thought I'd just do a pre-emptive strike and write it now so, hopefully, I can get some rest.
The question was posed in my preemie parenting support group about how do you prepare for a preemie. This was, unfortunately, being asked by a mom who was currently experiencing pre-term labor at the extremely early time of 25 weeks. You just know the fear that prompted her to write that question.
And I wanted to help. She asked a few other questions that I was able to easily answer. But the answer to how to prepare for a preemie? I was stumped. How DO you prepare for a preemie?
I thought back to those first days on bed rest at the scary time of 26 weeks. At first, I asked questions. I researched. I thought about what it would be like. I googled. And I was scared to DEATH. Everything I found, everything I heard, everything I read told me that my baby, if it survived, would have nothing but challenges. Significant challenges. I could not find one story of a baby who survived with no lasting problems that was born as early as we feared mine would come. There was no comfort, no hope, no solace in researching and preparing myself for what could be.
So eventually, I stopped. I chose blissful ignorance. I told myself, I would make it to term. I would make it out of this hospital. I knew I wouldn't leave Phoenix but I would leave that hospital with my baby still in my belly and I would return to be induced. Because I wasn't having a preemie. As we all know, very well by now, that didn't happen.
So I guess the answer to the question of how do you prepare for a preemie is...you don't. Nothing can prepare you for the sudden end to your pregnancy. Nothing can prepare you for seeing your baby hooked up to machines. Nothing can prepare you for seeing your baby outside your body well before it was supposed to be and know it was still supposed to be in you. Floating in fluid. Kicking the crap out of your bladder, lungs, ribs, whatever. Nothing can prepare you for seeing your baby in that first moment and knowing beyond a doubt that you FAILED. (Of course that last part is an absolute LIE but I'm fairly certain there is not one preemie mom out there who hasn't told herself that on many occasions.)
I hope if you take anything from Elisa's story, if you are reading this, I hope that you find HOPE. That if you are one that is searching for that comfort and solace because you are sitting in a bed in a hospital in imminent danger of delivering your baby too early, that you see my baby and see that yes, your baby can survive. And it can thrive. And it can prove those doctors and those statistics wrong and thumb her nose at them as she leaves them in the dust.