Last year as part of my post on prematurity month I wrote a post called Our journey in medical terms. It was my attempt to convey the foreign language that prematurity is and how quickly parents and care givers must acclimate to the new language and unfamiliar world of prematurity.
What I didn't talk about in that post is the lasting impacts of prematurity, especially the less obvious ones. I will try to highlight some of these impacts below because prematurity does not end when you leave the NICU.
We have hit our very expensive medical insurance deductible for the past 3 years and expect to do the same for the next year or two at least, yet we are thankful to have insurance. Additionally early intervention services in our state are not free.
Doctors and therapists come and go from our schedule. It seems as soon as we drop one we pick up another. This weeks new patient appointment - a developmental opthamologist. I never knew there was such a specialty.
We buy shoes that fit SMOs, hand sanitizer in bulk, sensory "toys" and hepa filters galore.
The only way I was able to return to work was because I am fortunate enough to have a flexible schedule and found a wonderful Nanny.
Thinking about another child is not a matter of considering how far apart we would like our kids to be in age. For us and many others it is starts with the contemplation of the risks. Then it is surgeries, high risk status, medications, and alot of worry.
Superficially it may appear that prematurity is behind us but every day there are not only reminders but real impacts. However, everyday I am reminded of the quote below through the magic of watching my 2 year old.