Tuesday, June 21, 2011

RemembeRED: Premature Parent

RemembeRED Writing Prompt: The first time I ________-ed after _________-ing.

The first time I parented alone after bringing my son home from the hospital was initially a terrifying experience for me. My husband was at work, and it was just me and this little five pound boy.

Zane was born two months early. He had been in the NICU for the first month or so of his life. Fortunately, my child was relatively healthy at birth, even if he was premature. He may have started out as the closest baby to the nurses, but he didn't stay there. Once he hit the five pound mark and all his tests came back normal, he was discharged.

The only really cool thing about the NICU, at least from a parent's perspective, is that there is a specially trained person within 20 feet of your child 24 hours of every day. Now here I was, just one untrained person, all by myself, with this tiny, fragile, responsibility.

I had planned to be a parent my entire life.

I had suffered, almost died twice, just to be a parent.

But no matter how much one prepares, when reality sets in, when you finally have that child in your hands, you freak out a little, worried that you'll do something wrong.

I freaked out a lot that first day by myself. Every anxiety I have ever had seemed to boil up out of the crevices of my heart and soul.

Something bad was going to happen.

A plane was going to fall out of the sky and land on my house. A tornado was going to blow us to bits. Lightning was going to strike us. Our dog Sandy was going to knock the crib over. The house was going to catch on fire.

For a long time I just sat there and stared at Zane, in his crib next to the bed. He slept, oblivious, not moving very much--then I had to make sure that he was breathing, because I was anxious about that, as well.

If I didn't touch him, maybe nothing bad would happen. That was it--if I didn't touch him, I couldn't hurt him! Okay. I took a deep breath, relieved.

Then Zane started crying. Like all babies do. He was hungry; it had been two hours since his last feeding. I had been paralyzed with fear for two freakin' hours.

All at once, I became angry.

At myself.

This was stupid, I thought.

All this energy wasted on 'what ifs'!

Babies have survived for centuries, in SPITE of their parents!

Why should I be any different? Pick up your son and get on with it

So I did.


  1. Babies have survived for centuries, in SPITE of their parents!

    Why should I be any different? Pick up your son and get on with it!

    Love those lines! The NICU does sound a little like baby boot camp, but I can imagine upon discharge it can be overwhelming!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. This brings me back to the day I was crying into my cheerios at the realization that my husband was going to leave me alone with the baby for the day!

  3. I was that way too and I would wake up my son when I thought he was not breathing, then he'd cry and we'd do that song and dance several more times.

  4. Oh yes, it's a daunting task but luckily parents have managed for thousands of years despite of it. ;)

  5. Oh it is scary, isn't it? They're so little and everyone assumes that we know what to do. Which really- how could we?!

    I love the way you wove action and reflection and closed the post peacefully.


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