One of the biggest lessons I have learned from having a preemie, our NICU stay, and even now at home is to have patience. Patience is something I have never really had but having preemies has definitely changed that. When I got pregnant with the girls I wasn’t really worried or had a care besides what I ate. When I had the girls three months early all of that changed.
Having a preemie in the NICU is one of the hardest things I have ever done and having 2 just doubled all the emotions and worries. I think it made it that much harder because my girls were on different levels; I had one who was struggling for her life and one that was flying through milestones and I just couldn’t help but think, “what the heck.” I was a little confused and didn’t quite understand until much later why the difference in my daughters was so drastic.
I think it was Kendall’s first surgery that changed my whole outlook on having patience. I knew then that everything was out of my hands and that whatever happened happened. There was no way to change anything and the only thing I could really do was pray and hope that everything was going to work out for the better. Kendall’s NICU consisted of 300+ days so at this point my patience was getting tested. I wanted my other baby home and the doctors were still struggling with her, and on top of all of that I had a ton of people asking the repeated dreaded question, “when is she coming home,” “have they set a date for her to come home yet?” I know everyone wanted her to come home as much as I did but getting asked every day was a little rough. My patience was really tried but again I had to hold on and just started laughing when people asked, letting them know I would tell them as soon as I found out myself.
Kendall’s biggest struggle was her eating. After Kendall came home we had a really hard time getting Kendall to try new foods and at eating in general. We decided to take Kendall to therapy (which didn’t work) and really worked with her really hard at home. Me being a stay at home mom was one of the best decisions Matt and I ever made because I was able to focus on Kendall and what she really needed.
Now that Kendall is getting ready to turn four we still struggle to this day. Having a preemie is never a walk in the park and the struggles never fade. There are always situations you find yourself in that you never imagined and then realize it’s because she was a preemie. Kendall still has some trouble eating. I think it comes from different textures and she has to take very small bites/drinks otherwise we find her gagging or coughing because she has “inhaled” too much.
Throughout Kendall’s life and her struggles the one thing that has been consistent is that we have to have patience. We knew going in to this journey it was going to take time and things weren’t always going to be easy. Matt and I have dealt with things we would have never imagined and throughout all of this journey we have continued to gain more patience and work with what we have been given to get Kendall to the level she needs to be at. Everything is not always 100% still to this day. She has trouble eating, she still does breathing treatments from time to time but we are always there and take our time with what she needs.
The biggest advice or tip we learned form their life and NICU stay is have patience. Don’t get too stressed, relax, and breathe. If you let yourself have more patience then the rest will come easier.