“It’s Win’s due date. It seems much less monumental to me because he’s never seemed like a preemie.“
In the world of premature babies, there are preemies, and then there are PREEMIES. My son is a preemie. My daughter is a PREEMIE. As the parent of a PREEMIE, we often struggle to consider other preemies “true preemies”. When other parents want to relate to (or commiserate on) our experience of a premature birth, it’s hard to engage in a conversation of two experiences that are so vastly different. Statistically speaking, of the 10% of babies who happen to be born premature only about 6% are born before 28 weeks. So for every premature kid (born before 37 weeks gestation) we meet, only about 1 in 167 of them can understand what this was like for us. (And yes, we have met some.)
While I’m grateful my kids will forever be bonded by their premature births, they are the perfect example of those vastly different experiences. I’m incredibly grateful my son did not have to undergo the experience his sister did. After his brief NICU visit, he came home a pretty normal baby. By his two week checkup, he weighed in at 8lbs, 2oz – a very respectable weight for a two week old baby.
At this age, my daughter was still receiving milliliters of breastmilk – not ounces – through a nasogastric tube. Win, on the other hand, was eating like a champ. He knew when he was hungry (and boy, was that often), and he ate as much as he wanted. I didn’t have to set alarms to wake us up in the middle of the night to remind him to eat and grow. I didn’t have to count the minutes he spent breastfeeding to know he was getting enough. I didn’t have to pump, bottle feed and record to the nearest milliliter how much he’d taken. I didn’t have to track wet and dirty diapers to confirm his output was good. Win was an eater. He was a big boy. There was a certain side of anxiety I did not have to experience this time around, and that felt so good.
In the stats:
Gestational Age: 40 weeks
Actual Age: 3 weeks, 3 days