Thursday, June 28, 2012

What I Didn't Know.

Some of the most ignorant attitudes best opportunities for self development I have encountered since coming out of the NICU  have arisen from the conversations I've had around premature birth and people's understanding of how it works.

I cant get too uppity about it though. After all, I was one of those people. I was one of those people who thought that babies born too early were just smaller, cuter versions of their full term peers.

'How sweet they must be' I thought, envisaging a real life tiny tears doll. 'It must be just a little bit special for those parents to have a tiny little miniature baby' - Oh yes, it was a little bit special all right.

And when I thought about  those 'special  babies' in incubators, I imagined  them being popped inside to be kept warm until they grow big and cuddly and their Mum's can take them home.

I assumed the taking them home bit was a 'given' once they'd survived the birth.

I had no idea that these babies had to fight for their tiny lives, sometimes for months on end, every day another hill to climb, another infection, another setback, another threat to their survival...

Monitors, heart rates and saturation levels, That was  stuff to be seen on casualty. It was high tech medical equipment- to be used only in the height of drama!

I didn't realise that in the NICU the 'height of drama' goes on and on, that its neverendingly-horrid and that no doctor or nurse will ever dare to even suggest you  might actually get to take a baby home.  (until you are actually expected take a baby home).

And finally didn't know why, a year or two after it happened, parents of premature babies still talked about premature birth like it was yesterday, even when they clearly had a thriving child before them, who seemed fit,healthy and well.

I didn't know a lot of things back then.

I do now.

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