I always expected motherhood to be a great challenge. I never expected it to be quite this challenging, especially in the beginning. I have, for a change, a quiet Saturday morning, the sun is shining, the birds are quite literally singing (alright sort of squawking) and baby is sleeping peacefully.
Joseph has taught me a great many things. He has taught me that good things really do come in small packages. For so long I felt so jealous of people with bouncy 8lb new borns. But I now realise I got to witness something amazing. I got to witness my foetus turn into a baby, visually, from the outside. And whilst I am not wishing premature birth on anyone, this is a pretty unique opportunity to see just how much happens in that third trimester. And to marvel how science and medicine can intervene when it all goes wrong.
Joseph has taught me to really laugh, to really enjoy every moment, and to live in the present. Every thing he does is so amazing to me, commando crawling to reach a ball, when he tries to say our cat's name, Atticus, when he reaches out and picks up a blueberry gently and pops it in his mouth. All these tiny things are a miracle to me.
Joseph has really taught me to smile in the face of adversity. He has overcome every obstacle with grace and quiet determination. And he's taught me to do the same.
Joseph has taught me just how powerful touch is. I never really thought about it, until he was placed into a box away from me for so long. Just being able to hold him to feel him against me, made me feel whole again. I never ever take for granted the ability to choose when I hold my baby. I will never forget the pain of being separated from him for all those weeks.
Joseph has taught me the restorative power of sleep. If you are grumpy, fed up and had enough, just go to bed, and the world will be brighter when you wake up!
And having Joseph has taught me to follow my instincts. There were some scary times when I did not know what to do, and I just had to follow my gut feeling. It's worked so far!
I hope, in the future, to be able to share more of what I have learnt with others, to improve how the families of premature babies are supported on discharge, and to provide good sources of information for things like weaning.
It has really worried me just how alone you are when you have a premature baby, especially in some areas of the country. Some areas seem brilliant, but up here, I have been astounded at how we've just had to muddle through.
But with Joseph as my guide, I could never go wrong.