Some who come early do not get to stay long. Generally being early means a good seat. When it comes to prematurity, an early arrival may mean not staying long, if at all.
Each of the past five Novembers brings us to recall an early arrival. Cohen came early. It is hard to imagine what we did not know in those early days, those first weeks. Maybe it is better not to think about. Just celebrate.
However, that would betray the uneasy experience had by many around the world, not just here in America. Early often means a number of health issues related to delayed development. That is, if the infant survives. From all indications, their appearances, it would seem they will be fine. But, there are those pesky, and required, lungs to consider. Have they developed enough to not require surgery. If they have devloped enough, are they mature enough to withstand a chest cold, much less RSV?
What about their little digestive tracts? Eyesight. These are but a few of the potential areas of need.
Prematurity does not end once that hoped for two years havce passed. I recall my friend Spencer, whose now beautiful little girl, chose not to cut his hair in solidiarity with Grace until she reached the age of 2. If there are no medical issues, and most often there are some, even if slight, parents face the scrutiny as their little ones mature.
There were a number of times I went with Cohen and Kimberly to the doctor to see how he was developing. Often, whether we said it or not, the manner of the one doing the testing left us crushed. You wanted to shout what they most assuredly knew, “But, he was more than 8 weeks early.” Though he is two, he is not yet two. Today he is four, just by a few weeks, though he has been four since August.
That description is not intended to provoke sympathy. There are others who have only what might have been to ponder on a day set aside as World Prematurity Day.
Our collective experience is that about the time you tell us that little one is not measuring up to some statistic, we say, “Just wait! He or she will.” Why? Because it seems those who arrive early possess some of the most determined attitudes. That is, determined to, “I do it!”, when it seems like it may be better if you, the parent or grandparent, do it this time. No, “They do it!”
Maybe you have your own story to tell. We know several. We will keep an eye out as they “Do it!” and prod them on as they are determined to make good use of their time, getting here early.