Saturday, January 8, 2011

Raising a Preemie

Sweetpea was born 2 months early and spent 22 days in the NICU.  I know that 22 days for some babies is a long time (we saw lots of new babies come and go home while Sweetpea was in the NICU) and for others it isn't long at all.  For the full story of why Sweetpea was born early, you can go to Sweetpea's Story

Because of her early birth we have had to deal with a lot of concepts and have learned lots of new terms.  I've learned how to use a stethoscope and to dose various medications.  But I'm realizing that because of her "preemie" status, I am coddling her.  Sweetpea was so fragile in the beginning and we weren't allowed to hold her for quite a few days.  Even when we were allowed to finally hold her, we had to watch out for all of the IV tubes and other wires and monitors.  Now she is a relatively healthy 9 month old and I know that I am continuing to shelter her. 

I've come to realize that I have to change my mindset of, "she can't do that yet" to "let me help her learn".  With Buddy, Jon and I were helping him learn new skills and encouraging him to do things on his own.  I want to do the same with Sweetpea because one goal of parenting is to teach your child to be independent.  She has begun to crawl and pull up on everything so she is constantly bumping into things.  It makes my heart hurt to see her get a little bruised but it is an important part of learning.

Because of her unique beginning, I will always want to protect her more than a "normal" child and keep her from getting hurt but ultimately that will only hinder her in the end.  Sweetpea needs to get messy, get dirty (oh no germs!), and explore the world around her.  While on vacation at Christmas, Jon let Sweetpea pet a dog and I started to freak out.  Then I had to remind myself that she needs to have these experiences.  For the rest of our trip, Sweetpea and the dog were good friends! 

As I raise my preemie, God is teaching me that my children are His precious gift to Jon and me and that He is ultimately in control.  He is also teaching me that I can be a control freak and need to loosen up a bit.  I am know that God has a great plan for Sweepea and I need to help develop her into a Godly woman as the Lord has designed her to be.  Because, no matter how great my incredible love for her grows to be, He will always love her abundantly more.

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