Today, November 17th, is Preemie Awareness Day.

I found this on another blog, and if you are a preemie mom, I bet you can't even get through 5 without the tears starting to well up.

You know you're a preemie Mom if:

1. You use strange initials (C-PAP, CCs, NICU, NG) when discussing your child.
2. You actually remember how many ccs make up an ounce.
3. You count his/her weight in grams.

4. The skin on your hands is peeling from washing so often.
5. You hesitate when someone asks you his/her age but you know exactly what he/she weighs.
6. The answer to "How old is your baby" is a story 30 minutes long!
7. When someone asks his birthday, you reply, "Which one"?
8. You start to understand some of the things they say on ER.
9. You turn into Kung-Fu Mom when someone tries to touch your baby.

10. You attempt to measure how much spit-up he/she just had before you clean it up!
11. You know how much he weighs before you put him on the scale at the doctor's office.
12. You cry at Maternity Ward and get mad at Baby Story.
13. You see a 7lb newborn and say "Wow! She's so big"!
14. Your baby is months old before he can even go to the mall.
15. When someone says how tiny your baby is, you argue that he is huge - and to demonstrate, you whip out pictures of him in the NICU.
16. You do a health check on people when they come to your house to visit.
17. You want to SCREAM when someone says that she just wants to have this baby right now - at week 28, 32, or 34.
18. You are so amazed when someone finally tells you your baby is big for his age.
19. You tried to find a place that sells newborn diapers in bulk.
20. You called half your relatives when the baby grew out of his first pair of pajamas.
21. You never take your child for granted.
22. You worry about RSV season and it's still months away...
23. You know what "RSV" stands for.
24. You donate his/her tiny clothes to the NICU and marvel that they seem so small - when they were too darn big!
25. Your son gets a simple cold and the doc sees him within the hour.
26. It has taken them 5 months to grow INTO newborn clothes.

27. You pick up 2 lbs of ground beef and think that your baby was born at that same weight.
28. You buy "Purell" in bulk.
29. You can stare at your baby hours while he sleeps.
30. In the course of a day you've wanted to slap and bear hug the same NICU nurse.
31. You could drive the route from your house to the hospital in your sleep... and maybe you have.
32. The sound of your baby crying is beautiful, not annoying.
33. You not only know what "bilirubin" is, you have had several extensive conversations about it.
34. You need to have another baby so you can wear all the maternity clothes in your closet with tags still on them.

35. You have acquired a taste for hospital food.
36. You always change your baby by putting a new diaper under the old before taking it off.
37. You are very uncomfortable when you take your baby home and don't know her heart rate, respiration rate or o2 levels.
38. You pray for and celebrate poopy diapers.
39. The following 6 months, or longer, after your baby gets home, they are in the same room with you during every daily activity. Shower, bathroom, dishes, laundry.... doesn't matter, cause if you can't see them, it's "not worth doing".

Oh #12, how I HATE watching those shows now. Hate. I guess I'm still not over the it's not fair thing.  I would cry all the way home from the NICU every night and just say over and over how unfair this journey was, and how much I HATED IT. I'm over the not being able to wear maternity clothes but a few days, not being able to leave the house until RSV season was over,not being mentally strong enough & possibly physically ok to have more kids & not being able to have her at home with me. But I'm still get upset at times when I think my body failed my little sweet baby, and I'd hate for her to have any type of disability or delay because of me.
#35 Luke and I lived on the $.75 coffee machine in the L&D waiting room. We grew to love that coffee!
#37 Talk about anxiety! The happy feeling of being able to take that sweet baby home, yet scared to DEATH of what might happen. There have been teams of people watching your baby for 24 hours a day, and then it's all up to you! You have to take a cpr/choking class, you are told that if your child gets ___, ___, or ___ they will immediately go on a ventilator in the ER, you are told if they get _____ their chances of dying are so much higher because of how early they are, and you are sent home on monitors. The house has been lysoled and bleached OVER and OVER, you have informed family and friends of visiting rules, and you have posted a sign on the door about germs, taking off shoes, hand washing, and NO TOUCHING! All you can do is hope and pray that sweet baby stays healthy!

I am so thankful we are on the OTHER side, almost hitting 1 year old. It's been very emotional here lately--reflecting on the past year & thinking of the future. We have grieved for several friends who have lost babies that were not too much younger than Lucy was. We hurt for them. We know what the outcome could have been, and we are so very blessed with everything about Lucy. She has always been 'healthy'. It might have been the hardest 53 days of our lives. It might have been the most emotional 53 days. It might have been the longest winter .It might have been the longest I've ever stayed in the house. It might have been a record setting anxiety attack 6 months.It might have been the most stressful year, but we have a happy ,laughing, almost crawling, curious little 11 1/2 month old who makes our hearts happy EVERY day! We are ever so grateful!  The memories are still so very vivid in our heads ( and the NICU # in our cells), yet it seems as if it was SO long ago. We are grateful for the prayers, words, cards, money, and thoughts from all of our friends, family, and people we don't even know. Please remember this month those families who are on the roller coaster ride of emotions from the NICU. Keep them in your prayers! 


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