• Posted on May 11, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Two weeks from today, Gracie will be one year old.  A year ago today, I was on strict bedrest in the hospital, hoping I’d make it all the way to at least 30 weeks or more.  I didn’t, and here we are.

I’ve been very hesitant to post pictures of Gracie on this site because I’ve never understood why some “mommy bloggers” expose their children for the world to see.  However, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about it and the way I see it now is I can’t keep our daughter in a bubble for the rest of her life.  I can share her experiences with the few people who do read this blog.  I will draw the line about posting things that are private and should be treated as such.

Every day is a new parenting adventure for me.  I’m not quite sure what I’m doing and I haven’t even read any books about what to expect her first year or any of that stuff.  In fact, the only parenting books we bought were books dedicated to the raising of a preemie, which have since been collecting dust in our office.  Even so, I’ve managed to detect two major illnesses in Gracie – both requiring hospital stays/interventions.  Not knowing what I’m doing, but instinctively, I know enough.

So, without further ado, here’s Gracie, feeling better in the hospital.

It’s hard to see, but her right hand is obscured by a ton of cotton, tape, and an evil IV line.  The first IV went into her left hand and she didn’t protest much, which is indicative to how bad she was feeling.  That second IV line?  The one in her right hand?  It took two nurses over 30 minutes to get it in place, with her screaming and crying and blubbering the entire time.  It was awful.  It was so awful, in fact, she began to associate the hospital crib with DANGER! DANGER! and it became quite an experience every time we needed to change her or try to get her to nap.

I got smart, though.  On Friday morning, I changed her where I had slept the night before.   She didn’t fuss at all and was content to smile and laugh at me while I sang to her.

I really wish I had spent more of this year writing about what it’s like to be her mama.  I never knew what it was like to be a mom until she was born.  She had such a precarious beginning and it’s made me scared, paranoid, and terrified every day.  But, I look forward to seeing her smiling face in the morning and I look forward to seeing her smiling face when I get home from work.

Last night was extra special to me.  Even though I was tired from swim practice and the general business of the last two days, I sat on the couch with my husband and we quietly played with Gracie on his lap.  She giggled and pulled my hair, pulled my glasses off, tried to put my necklace in her mouth, and laid her head on my chest.  It was a joy to have her so close to me.

3 Comments on Hospital

  1. Janine Kovac says:

    I hear ya, Sister. (I found you through your comment on Alexa’s blog). My twins were born at 25 weeks, 3 days. They’re — OH, I can’t remember how old they are! Born 12/30/2009, due 4/11/2010. You do the math! I’m still very involved with our NICU (I’m on the Family Advisory Council, and the NICU Partnership council, blah, blah). Anyway, I just wanted to reach out and say, “Hi. I know how it goes.”

    (Actually, my standard line is, “I don’t know what you went through, but I know what I went through.”)

    • Dana says:

      Hi Janine!

      I am so relieved there are other people out there who truly understand what it’s like to have a preemie. Our experiences are all different, but they’re also inherently similar in many ways.

      One of the chaplains at the hospital who runs the infant loss support group asked me to be the parent representative for the palliative care committee she started and currently chairs. I was honored to be asked and though the subject matter has brought me to tears, I feel a part of something and feel like I am contributing my new-found expertise as a mother of a preemie. One of the members of the committee was one of the many NICU nurses who took care of Gracie during her 6-week stay. It’s interesting to interact with the nurse in this new capacity.

      Anyway… I hope you don’t mind if I link your blog with mine. I look forwarding to reading your blog, too. 🙂

  2. Janine Kovac says:

    Link away, Dana! And email me if you want to chat about your new position on your council. I remember my partnership council meeting. I went home and cried more than the whole time the boys were in the NICU. It was like the weight of those three months came crashing down — all the near misses along with all the real misses.

    On second thought — PLEASE email me! I would love to have another opinion on how to talk to parents of preemies.

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