Family Team News

Register for March for Babies at

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

How do you explain a micro preemie to a 5 year old…

As we approach the holidays, we drag out old ornaments and art projects that the kids completed and reminisce about those times. This always brings a little bit of a struggle for Noelle. She LOVES to put up the tree, help wrap presents and get everything ready. She knows that Santa comes, but she also knows the reason for the season and how important it is to celebrate “Jesus’ birthday!”
However, she had a lot of questions this year about her birthday. Wanting to know why her baby pictures were so “scary” and told me that they make her sad. I’ve heard of other preemie parents keeping the baby pictures away from the child until they are old enough to handle it. However, that’s Noelle’s history, that’s her past. Quite frankly, she still has oxygen and a feeding tube and I always thought her baby pictures were so cute. I was so used to seeing the tubes, lights, wires, IV poles….I didn’t even think about how she might portray these pictures in her curious mind. She has had baby pictures hanging on her wall since she came home…and I don’t intend to take them down. I decided it was time to explain….

Way easier said than done. She had tons of questions. She wanted to know why she didn’t have baby pictures without oxygen and she wanted to know where Andons baby pictures WITH oxygen were. I explained that babies are suppose to grow and cook in a mommys tummy for a long period of time. Andon stayed in for the full cooking time. However, Noelle was just so excited to see us that she came a bit too early. I told her that this was the coolest thing because mommy, daddy and Andon were able to watch her grow on the outside of my tummy instead of inside. I told her we were able to hold her, play with her, sing to her much sooner than most other babies. Her smile and amazement told me I was doing an okay job. I asked her if she wanted to see more and she said yes!

I have boxes of every little paper, every form signed, each and every blood pressure cuff as they got
bigger, the bilirubin “sunglasses”, pictures upon pictures, every diaper size she went through (clean of course), each binky size, sweeties containers, outfits, hats, blankets, anything homemade by volunteers or nurses, surgery pager papers, “Drama Queen” pillows still in the same plastic bags, I even kept her first g-tube! I pulled all this stuff out and showed it to her. Patiently waiting to see if I had made the right choice to share at age 5. I did! She was amazed and astonished at everything. She wanted to look through every little thing and asked for explanations.
The outfits were a hit, the diapers were a hit, everything she looked at was filled with big eyes and “awww’s!” Almost as if something had clicked. She understood. She asked a few more questions…. For instance, why do her lungs need oxygen? My answer of her lungs being so small when she was born finally clicked. I hope a lot of things clicked. I explained the scary pictures. Even though, it looked like she was tiny with a lot of tubes….look at mom’s face!

That picture was the day I got to hold you for the first time.
Oh, look! That was your first bath!

That was the day you got to try out peanut (she knows peanut as her bipap machine…it just looks a little different on a tiny baby).
Look, this was the day we got to say goodbye to your warming bed (isolette) and you got to be in a big girl crib!

Look! This was your first Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year! All in the hospital surrounded by people who love you.
We have pictures with each nurse, doctor and therapist. So, she wanted to know who they were….name by name…picture by picture. So we did. It’s been five years and I still know every name and face. I still know the smells, I still can hear the machines beeping … I’m glad she won’t know that part. Then, I was able to match faces and names to things she knew. For instance, Nurse Megan and Nurse Tonya made a lot of Noelle’s signs. Nurse Emily made her night night CD that she STILL listens to every night. It went on and on….

She just knew that each person holding her was smiling and happy to be with her. I explained that she spent so much time with these doctors and nurses…that they loved her like family.
It was a bittersweet evening with Noelle and I. We went through so much together and I felt like I finally got to share it with her. She needs to know how special she is, how loved she is, and how much people generally enjoy being around her and with her. She needs to understand what a true miracle she is!

As we approach Christmas next week, I’m reminded of all those babies, doctors, nurses, therapist and staff who will be at the hospital on Christmas. All the parents that will visit their sweet babies in the hospital on Christmas Day. Say an extra prayer for those. It’s hard to visit your child in the hospital on Christmas. However, the people that are there make it so special. I’ll never forget that. Say a prayer for the people working in the hospital on Christmas. They are leaving their families to take care of others. I hope they know how appreciated and thankful the parents are…even if they seem sad. It’s been 5 years….and I’m not sure if I’ve ever said thank you to those people. So… THANK YOU! Thank you not only for making Christmas special for those in a cruddy situation….but thanks for making such wonderful memories that I was able to share with my gal 5 years later. I’m so thankful that her baby pictures are no longer scary. The reason being because I was able to express the memories behind those pictures.
Merry Christmas from the Mikels!

Posted on December 16, 2013 by snrmikels

No comments: