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Monday, May 21, 2012

Separation Anxiety or Preemie Parenting

I left the twins for 5 hours on Saturday. That's the longest I've ever been without them since they came home from the hospital. I leave them pretty frequently for an hour at the gym or 30 minutes to run to the store, but I can count on 1 hand the number of times I've left them for more than an hour. No seriously, because Saturday made it 3 times. That's it.

Some people have mentioned that I have attachment issues. Some said I might have separation anxiety and that's why I won't leave them. Honestly, I don't think that's really the case.

When they were in the hospital, I had extreme separation issues. I was convinced every time I left them, they were going to die and I wasn't going to be there. I called the NICU all the time and tried to spend 24/7 there, but realistically, and being an hour away from the hospital, it just couldn't happen.

When the time came to bring them home, they were still barely 4lbs a piece and required a LOT of attention. Jackson needed oxygen frequently throughout the day. They still didn't eat easily. It would take an hour to feed each one, and you couldn't feed them together because they required a lot of attention to get them to eat. After they finally ate, they would spit up so we had to keep them sitting up. I was also trying to still teach them to nurse. So it was nurse, bottles, pump, and very soon after that, repeat. They needed medicines and a lot of attention. On top of that, I was so glad I didn't have to say goodbye to them, I couldn't have even imagined leaving them for more than a quick trip to the store or sometimes for a jog around the block.

Now things have gotten much better. They eat quickly and know what they're doing. They have a good routine and it's easy to figure out what they need. Not just for me, but I think they're pretty predictable as far as eating, sleeping, and diapers go. They're interactive and playful and just all around, a ton more fun and easier to handle. They require very little medicine and except for the nighttime, they're pretty simple.

So why don't I leave them?

I honestly, seriously, truthfully, don't have a problem leaving them and would trust them with a good chunk of people in my neighborhood and family. But I don't want to leave them. I have fun taking them out to eat. They're so funny and hardly ever cry for no reason. They only really get fussy when they're hungry so if we keep them fed, they're happy as can be. I take them to parks, the store, on walks, and all kinds of places. Sure it's nice to get a little walk or jog in without the double stroller, but I can do that when my husband is home. He doesn't get to spend a lot of time with them since they go to bed soon after he gets home from work so I know he enjoys time with them and I like a few breaks to get away.

 The first 2 months of their lives, I didn't feel like a mother. I went from having these sweet little babies kicking me and rolling around in my tummy to having nothing. I went to sleep at night hoping and praying that my babies would be ok in the morning. I felt very disconnected from them and in the beginning, like I couldn't take care of them.

Now, I can take care of them. And I LOVE it. I know how lucky I am to have my babies and I love spending every second of it. I love our little family and love doing things together. I like making the babies a part of our lives in every way. I like breaks. I need breaks. But I don't need them all the time and don't want them all the time.

I wonder how many other preemie parents feel the same way. It's definitely a different kind of parenting to take care of preemies. Hopefully, someday, I'll be lucky enough to experience what it's like to care for a full term baby! It'd be very interesting to compare.

It was hard to leave them all day on Saturday but I wasn't crying over it, stressing or calling my husband every 5 minutes. They were fine without me too. I'm happy that they're not overly clingy. They like to play with me and will crawl up in my lap to cuddle a lot but they're also fine playing by themselves or with other kids.

Extra bonus, I got to bring them home a TON of freebies! The Military Children's Charity held a "Salute to Our Smallest" event at Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base. They had organizations like the Red Cross, Operation Homefront, Big Brother, Big Sister and the March of Dimes to give information to the military families that stopped by so I got to hang out at the March of Dimes table and give out info on prenatal and newborn care :) It was a lot of fun, but being a military family with 2 small babies, I also got to partake in the goodies! They handed out diaper bags, diapers, clothes, toys, books and a TON of goodies! So my kids were spoiled rotten by my afternoon away :)

They're growing up so fast! I don't want to miss a second! :)

1 comment:

  1. Maybe its a preemie parent thing. My twins were born at 26 weeks 5 days and spent 108 days in the NICU. I went probably close to a year before I left them for more then an hour here or there. I still don't like to be away from them for that long, and they just turned 4 the first of May. It does get easier to leave them, but I still don't like to do it!