Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fact or Fiction: Once A Preemie, Always A Preemie

Have you ever heard the phrase: "Once a preemie, always a preemie"?  I used to say this statement. I was convinced that it was a true -- but now, I am not so sure.

It has been more than three years since the birth of my daughter, Emily. Although she was born at 28 weeks gestation -- weighing just one pound, eight ounces, I no longer view her as a preemie or micro-preemie. I see her as an amazing little girl, full of love and laughter.

Even though Emily still weighs less than she should (24 pounds on a good day), has behavioral issues to work on (what three year old doesn't?), and a few motor issues -- I feel like we have "moved on" on from being a preemie and preemie parents in some respects.

Don't get me wrong -- I understand the textbook definitions for the words "preemie" and "prematurity."  I know that Emily came early.  And, I recognize that her premature birth changed our lives forever.

I often talk about Emily's early birth and three-month stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), but I no longer obsess over it. I have framed pictures around our home of Emily's hospital stay, as well as photos of her hooked to monitors, using a CPAP, kangaroo-ing, and finally coming home -- because that's the beginning of her life story. And, "Bentley's Preemie Blessing" (now dubbed "Emily in the Hospital") is often a must-read at bedtime.

I still freak out when another child coughs on Emily and whip out the hand sanitizer and Lysol spray.  I rush home like a bullet train when we get a call from preschool about an accident on the playground. I panic when I hear phrases like "sweat test" and "lab work" from the GI. I get anxious when we are told to increase high calorie foods and schedule more frequent weight checks. I get nervous about continuous toe-walking. I fret, worry, and pray A LOT -- just like other moms of preemies and non-preemies.

After a 24-month hiatus at home caring for Emily, I returned to work and Emily entered school.  Going back to work was a difficult decision for me, especially from an emotional standpoint, but it is a financial necessity in an expensive metropolitan area like Washington, DC. I am working full-time and commuting a very long distance -- and Emily is a full-time student.

Although I hate not being able to spend as much time with Emily as I would like, I am enjoying watching her grow into an independent little lady, full of imagination and wonder. She is an artist, a writer learning to scribble her name (the first letter of it -anyway), and a helper -- always eager to feed the dog or throw trash into the garbage.  Emily counts, sings songs, and talks up a storm -- just like a typical three-year-old.

She even talks about her future careers. Some days, Emily plans to be "dog doctor."  Other days, she wants to be a snow plow driver. She has even talked about becoming a nurse. If Emily decides that a career in nursing is her path forward, I wonder if she will take care of babies in the NICU.

I am not trying to stir up controversy or advocate for Emily to be called an "ex preemie" or a "former preemie."  I know that she is a preemie based on birth, but I believe that a transformation is taking place -- and we are entering a new phase of life. She's growing up.

Hello, out there. I have an incredible three-year old girl!

If you liked what you read today, and don't want to miss future tidbits, challenges, and interviews with preemie parents during Prematurity Awareness Month, then don't forget to follow me:  Email Subscription |Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Google+

Friday, May 8, 2015

High-Five It's Friday - My Weekend Docket

Hey - It's Friday!  We finally made it to the weekend!  What's on your docket?  

Here's what I think we'll be up to:

1. The Washington Capitals Playoff Game

My husband is a HUGE Caps fan. I imagine that much of the weekend will be spent in front of the television, with Craig and Emily dressed in Caps gear, watching the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Tonight, the Caps play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Gardens and have a chance of advancing to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1998. I'm sure that my husband will be working to get Emily to say the following three words in a row: "Let's Go Caps!!!!"

2. Spring Farm Day at Frying Pan Farm Park

I know, I know. I write about Frying Pan Farm Park all of the time. I can't help it -- I just love that farm!  

On Saturday, Frying Pan Farm Park is holding its Spring Farm Day. I'm excited about the possibility of milking a cow, watching sheep shearing, and making crafts. 

This is one of the few times when the farm is charging an admission fee. The admission fee will help raise funds for the farm, which I have been told is hoping to obtain a new tractor. 

3. 2015 Downtown Fest at One Loudoun

If we're up to it, I'd like to attend Downtown Fest at One Loudoun to see street performers and sample food from local restaurants. 

4. Mother's Day

It looks like we'll be celebrating Mother's Day with family and a brunch buffet. I better start skimping on meals so I can load up on Sunday. YUM!!!

5. The Usual

As usual, we'll have to spend some time doing household chores. If only the fairies would come over to clean, cook, do laundry, and wash dishes!

I hope you have a great weekend and a fantastic Mother's Day!  Please comment below and let me know what you're up to this weekend. 


If you liked what you read today, and don't want to miss future blog posts, then don't forget to follow me:  Email Subscription |Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Google+

Linking up with:


Virginia Bloggers Badge

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

March for Babies 2015

Over the weekend, my family participated in the March of Dimes March for Babies in Reston, Virginia. The March for Babies was held on Parents of Preemies Day, which is powered by the Graham's Foundation, once again!


Friday, May 1, 2015

Five Farm Party Favorites for Toddlers

Last month, I held a birthday party for my daughter, Emily, at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, Virginia. 

If you've been reading this blog, then you know that Emily was a micro-preemie. Although she was born in January, her actual due date was in April. So, we decided to hold her birthday party in April. This allowed us to take advantage of warmer weather, and hold her party outside at our favorite farm.

Frying Pan Farm Park offers birthday party packages for a fee; however, the majority of party-goers have to be at least four-years-old. Since Emily is just two, we planned and implemented her birthday party completely on our own.

It was the very first "kid party" that I have held. Overall, I am pleased with how well it turned out. 

My biggest concern was getting to the park in time to stake out picnic tables for the party, as seating areas are available on a first-come first-serve basis. We arrived at the Frying Pan Farm Park super early, so claiming our tables was no problem at all.

My other concern was weather-related. I was worried about rain, but prepared to move the party to our home, if necessary. The weather ended up being perfect, except for the wind.

I had farm-related tchotchkes, crafts, and games prepared for the big day. Below is a list of my farm party favorites:

Five Farm Party Favorites for Toddlers

1. Animal Visors

When party guests arrived, I let them select a visor to wear. I had cow, horse, duck, and pig visors available. The visors, purchased from Oriental Trading Company, looked cute on kids, and even adults!

2.  Duck Hunt Sensory Bin

I created a duck hunt sensory bin by filling a storage container with green shredded paper and plastic ducks from Oriental Trading Company.This simple game was a huge hit. Children really seemed to enjoy sifting through torn up paper in search for rubber duckies.

3.  Clothespin Horses

Although Emily's party was held on a beautiful day, it was really windy. We had a difficult time keeping tablecloths taped down. A bag of potato chips even got caught in the wind and managed to find its way into one of the barns.