for awhile there i thought the whole preemie business was going to be a piece of cake.
when i was in the hospital, sick as a dog, i dreamed about the day we could take ramona home–far away from the fluorescent lights and iv’s and nurses doing everything i wanted to do for my baby. i knew the first couple of weeks would consist of us sitting around the apartment together, doing kangaroo care and watching daytime tv. this sounded absolutely heavenly, and for two weeks this is what kept us going through the hospital time.
and it really was great. exhausting, but great. even when she didn’t wake up, we had to make sure ramona was eating every 3 hours. and she had her days and nights mixed up (in the NICU the lights were on all the time and it was pretty noisy, which didn’t help the transition at all) but all she did was sleep, eat, and poop.
now, for the past couple of weeks, she has really started to wake up and make her personality known. she seems so alert and so opinionated at such an early age that it was hard for me to think about her as being her “adjusted age”, or the age she would be had she been born on her due date. i also signed up for this e-mail that tells you about all the milestones babies tend to hit on a week to week basis. this was probably not the best idea ever, as i now know what “normal” 10 week old babies are like, as opposed to how my baby really is.
i took her in to the pediatricians on wednesday and she asked me a series of question based on ramona being 2 months old. i felt a growing sense of despondency as i answered no again and again: no, she hasn’t smiled, no she doesn’t babble, no she doesn’t hold her head up for extended periods of time . . . the pediatrician frowned and looked at me. i told her i wasn’t worried about it, seeing as she really is only a 2 1/2 week old based on her adjusted age. the doctor looked at me and then said well then i’m not worried about it either. i’m sure by the 4 month check up she will have caught up.
all of the sudden i was worried. and i continued to be anxious for the rest of the day, searching desperately for any hint of a smile or a coo from ramona. but she just furrowed her brow and was silent (or crying) and i just knew there was something developmentally wrong with her.
i think this is a fear that all mother’s go through: the fear that there is something wrong with their baby.
i know for a fact we really dodged a bullet with ramona’s birth, as there are a myriad of things that could have gone wrong with her being so early. but she has been perfect in every way, and when you take into account her adjusted age, she is flying with colors (is this a real expression or did i just make that up?). in retrospect i am a little peeved that her doctor chose to judge ramona based off what is “normal” developement instead of observing where she is at for her circumstances.
i choose to look at it the latter lens.
just today, for instance, ramona started babbling away to my mom (grammi). i have been too intense and anxious to really interact in a playful way with ramona for the past several days, staring intently into her round little face for signs of developmental milestones that i wanted to will into existence. my mom, on the other hand, sees it as her goal to play and interact with her at all moments–to which ramona responds with exercising her attempts at talking!
i think grandparents have a lot to teach us on being relaxed parents.
i have a feeling the whole milestone thing isn’t going to go away overnight, but i really hope that i can continue to learn and enjoy my baby for every stage that she is in.