“She’s big!” That’s what the woman at the daycare said to me today. I could hardly believe my ears. It made me so happy. “That baby over there is seven months, and I think your baby is bigger. It’s good.”
But even as they grow pudgier, like lucky little buddhas you can’t resist giving belly zorbers, in my mind they are still the precious, frightening little 33-weekers stretching their tiny limbs in NICU incubators. The little 3 pound 11 oz, 4 pound 1 oz morsels.
Obviously I have to adjust my image. These are my big, pink-cheeked babies right here. They are not made of sugar or paper. Frightened, over-protective parenting leads to frightened, stressed children. I thought this old article from The Times was interesting. It talks about parents of premature infants and how they can experience a type of PTSD. M and E were born a month and a half early, which is really nothing compared to what some parents, like the parents quoted in the article, go through. But even a two and a half week stay in the NICU leaves an impression.
I can’t help it. My favorite comment from strangers about the babies is still, “They look so healthy!” I am hungry for the reassurance. But they have a lust for life. They are amazing.