Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Shocks to the system

RE: The comment on my last post where a preemie parent tells of being thrown over the edge when she heard of a 3YO former preemie who was just learning to jump.

There are a million of those moments, aren't there?

When Susan was still in the NICU, at about 4 months old, I noticed a new mom scrubbing in, so I greeted her and asked about her child. I felt like a veteran at that point, of course, and remembered how hard the first few weeks were. The mom told me this was actually her second child to pass through that NICU. Her first had gone home after 5 months, but passed away at 18 months old.

It was like a glass of cold water on my face. The whole time Susan had been in NICU, I felt like going home was the big hurdle - once we got passed that everything would get better. It hadn't really occurred to me that we could go through everything we already had, and still lose her months or years down the line.

I knew there would be ongoing issues, but the spectre of death was one that I had put out of my mind until that conversation. From then on that spectre has been with me - whenever she has a fever or any kind of infection - reminding me that her fragile little body might not be able to fight it off. Do all parents fear, deep down, that every illness might be the one that will kill their child? Maybe. Probably?

When I'm around other families with kids around Susan's age and I see the myriad of small ways it's all just easier for them, that's another kind of shock to the system. It's a lonely feeling. That's probably why so many of us are compelled to blog and read others' blogs, to supplement for the shortage of true peers in our real lives.

Here's a recent picture of my little pixie: