One aspect of parenting I had never considered prior to having kids is how preoccupied I would become with their development.  When I was pregnant, I thought (hoped?) that I would have this wonderful relaxed attitude towards the twins’ growth, that I would just trust the idea that all babies have their own schedule and that they would eventually get there in their own time.  And then I gave birth at twenty-five weeks.  (Funny how that changes things.)

When you go into labour that early, one of the first things you are told during that scary blur of time before your babies arrive, is that premature babies are often developmentally delayed, even if nothing else happens to them.  It’s a consequence of missing all of that extra time in utero, and it’s totally reasonable.  Then, your babies come out, and everyone reminds you about the chance of delays, and you say, yes, yes, of course, delays, no big deal.  But in your head, you think….I really, really hope we will be the exception.

Eventually, the other women in your life with due dates around yours give birth to full-term babies, and you are happy for them, but also sad for you.  It’s a reminder of what you never had, a reminder of all the awful stuff you had to go through because you never made it that far, and you start to become a little bit obsessed with the milestones.  Her little boy is making lots of cooing noises, why isn’t Reid?  Her little girl is rolling over already, why isn’t Madeleine?  You ask lots and lots of questions.  How much does your little one weigh now?  How much does she take at her feedings?  Is your baby doing lots of tummy time?  Is he smiling or giggling?  Does she reach for her toys?

It is of course, completely relevant and irrelevant at the exact same time.  Every baby is different, and every baby will approach these tasks in their own way.  Reaching a developmental marker late does not mean your baby has a problem.  Except when it does.  Whenever Madeleine sleeps a lot more than Reid (which is most of the time), or vomits, or is grumpy and cries, I worry that her shunt is malfunctioning (and never that she maybe just likes sleep/ate too much/is just grumpy).  When other babies show more progress with motor development, my brain automatically screams CEREBRAL PALSY.  When Reid fails to coo or make noise when he tries to giggle, I wonder if maybe his vocal cords were damaged by his ventilator.

And then, just like that, Reid will start gooing and gahhing when you are talking to him like he’s been doing it all along.  Madeleine will easily roll onto her side on her play mat like it was nothing, even though she never expressed any interest in doing it the day before.  And, just when you least expect it, Reid will let out a big, enthusiastic laugh on the change table before he is put down for bed, and your heart will skip a beat.

It is a reminder that, while I did get premature babies, while they had to come out into the world before they were ready, they are still fully-formed, capable little people who have managed to make it through things that even adults would struggle with.  Even though I’ll probably never stop worrying, I owe it to them to be patient and trust their own abilities.  They are really, really good at showing us what they are made of.

Maddie BW 3 mos


2 thoughts on “Milestones

  1. Dear Cherie, Matt, Madeleine and Reid, Sorry for the long time to respond, but have had a few problems of my own. What you need to know is that things do get great!!! I never mentioned it, because tooooo many people were telling me scary stories about birth and taking care of babies. Now is an ok time to mention, when Kyle was born, his heart valve didn’t close so we had to take him to a pediatric oncologist. Everything worked out fine.Had Colic for 3 months (live through that)He did not speak until he was 2 years old, but understood everything I said to him. He could not crawl, because his head was so friggin big, he couldn’t lift it off the ground without sounding like a baby lamb! So I stopped trying to make it happen before he was ready. As a mother, you will always worry, but you will have moments which will be the best of your life!!! I can’t wait to see them when you are ready. Kyle is now a happy healthy HUGE very smart person, with a very kind loving heart, who thinks I grew up in the ancient times, since his Ipad works faster than my PC. They will throw you curves, but the love you will feel cannot compare to anything!!! Can’t wait to meet them. So whenever you are ready, call me 905-939-2887. I have printed off all your messages to give to Mom, who I will see later today. With All of my Love Great Aunt Chris!!!


  2. Pingback: Rockstar preemies | NICU Central

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s