Dear Friends and Family,
I have some very exciting news… I’m finally coming home! I am so thankful that my parents had YOU in their lives during one of the most difficult seasons of theirs. I know how much you prayed for me; how many supportive and encouraging things you said to my parents that gave them hope! The day has finally arrived and we can’t wait to celebrate my homecoming with YOU! However, there are few things that you may not know about me yet….
Coming home is a milestone of many milestones to come. In order to keep me at home and out of the hospital it’s really important that I don’t get sick. Please wash your hands before coming to hold me. And that big bottle of hand sanitizer that is in every room, use liberally please! Children like me, that were born before 37 weeks, have weak lungs and immune systems, which means that the common cold for an adult or even a full term baby can be life threatening for me. I can’t wait to be held by you, but if you’ve been sick or been around sick people, I would love to see you after you are all better so that we can both enjoy the snuggles better.
This has been a long road not only for me but for my parents as well. They are anxious to see friendly faces and feel your support. However, over stimulus can be bad for my development. By keeping your visits short but meaningful, it allows me to get rest and not be too anxious. Short interactions are really good for me and give Mom and Dad some sanity! I slept a lot in the hospital and the same is true for being at home, in fact it will be easier to sleep in the comfort of my home. Allow me the space to sleep and grow by keeping voices low. I love to be held, but sometimes just looking at your facial expressions can be overwhelming as I try to take in this big world that I live in. Keeping me swaddled as you hold me will help me to feel safe and secure, so that I can take in all the things you have to tell me.
I know I’m small, but I’m really very strong. I’m trying to catch up on all the things that you can do, be patient with me as I grow and learn about the world around me. Negative comments about my weight or my development bring discouragement to me and my parents who have worked so hard during this season. I may come home with monitors or medication, these may be new to you as the world of preemie babies can be very eye opening. Please stay positive, as these things will help me get stronger and smarter with each passing day!
While all of these requirements may seem hard to understand at the beginning, know that this is just a season and nothing is directed at you or your family personally. I will be playing with all of the other kids, eating dirt, getting messy, and love being a kid in no time! Be patient with my parents as they try to figure out the post NICU protocols to keep me safe and healthy so that we get to the fun phase faster!
Looking forward to seeing you,
Your tiniest blessing