In Honor of National Parent’s of Preemies Day…

 

10 Lessons on Having a Preemie by Kasey Mathews

1.) You didn’t do anything wrong.  It is completely normal to feel guilty, ashamed and terribly afraid after giving birth to a preemie, but It Is Not Your Fault. You might never know Why your baby arrived early and sometimes you have to let go of the Why in order to move forward.

2.) Not everyone is a “baby person” and nurturing is not automatic for every mother, even mothers of full term babies.  It’s ok if you feel this way; many women do but don’t speak their feelings out loud.

3.) Speak your truth. Don’t let your fears and anxiety breed in the dark.  Bringing your deep felt emotions to light keeps them from growing and festering inside you.

4.) Motherhood can be lonely, even for mothers of full-term babies. Ask for help.  When others offer help, accept it.  By receiving with openness and grace, you are in fact giving in return. To show your vulnerability is to be at your greatest strength.

5.) Create a vision of your baby in the future and hold on to that vision.  Write a list of all your “some days” – walking on the beach, eating ice cream cones on a hot summer day, flying a brightly colored kite, lying in the grass looking for shapes in the clouds…

6.) Don’t believe everything the doctors tell you. Create your own expectations for your child and don’t allow your child’s potential to be limited by anyone else.  Use your voice.  Speak up for yourself and your baby.  You are your baby’s voice.

7.) Cover your baby’s isolet with a dark blanket.  If your NICU is too bright or too noisy, speak up.  Your baby will grow and heal best in a dark womb-like environment.  Post-NICU, explore alternative therapies to compliment traditional medical treatments, i.e. Reiki, energy healing, cranial sacral therapy, Brain Gym.

8.) If you can’t shake your deep anxiety, it’s highly likely you’re suffering from PTSD.  Posttraumatic Stress is very common among preemie parents. (Resources to help – EMDR, Support groups, Peer to Peer support through Hand to Hold, therapy, writing)

9.) Take care of YOU.  Like the oxygen mask on an airplane, you have to breathe first before putting the mask on your child. It’s ok to take time for yourself and let someone else care for your baby.

10.) Choose love over fear.  It’s the hardest thing in the world to love when you’re so afraid you might lose, but our babies came here to love and be loved.  And remember, no matter how bad things get, no matter how lonely you feel, You Are Not Alone.  Someone has walked this path before you and someday you’ll be on the other side sharing your story.

(Copyright – Kasey Mathews, 2012)

Happy Parents of Preemies Day. Deepest thanks to Graham’s Foundation for creating such a marvelous annual event!  Events are being held all over the country so be sure to look for one in your area! If not, there are lots of events being held online!

Deepest love and blessings to you all,

Kasey

Remember, I’ll be speaking at the Newbury New Hampshire Library Event today at 2:00 –

Author Event: Kasey Mathews
Preemie: Lessons in Love, Life, and Motherhood – NH’s 2014 Reader’s Choice for Literary Non-Fiction!
Sunday, May 4th at 2:00PM in the Vets Hall
Kasey Mathews will read from her award winning memoir Preemie. There will be a discussion and book signing after the reading.

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New Knee

Do you know anyone who has an upcoming surgery?  Perhaps my husband’s story will help…

Three days ago I was sitting in the hospital waiting room while my husband, Lee was having the ACL and meniscus in his knee repaired.

As you may know from my book or blog, I believe illness and injury, though an unwelcome guest, can be opportunities for personal growth.  It’s been amazing to follow Lee on his journey, as he’s gone from seeming incredibly vulnerable, to information gathering and eventually empowered and certain.  As much as I wanted to insert myself in his process, I had to repeatedly remind myself that this is his journey and for him to learn all his lessons, I could support him, but not do the work for him.  (If you have a child undergoing surgery, as a parent, you can do the following recommended exercises on your child’s behalf, as we did for our daughter.)

That being said, when we first learned he needed surgery, I left Peggy Huddleston’s book, Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster on his bedside table.  It was a few nights later when I found him already in bed half-way through Chapter One.  “You’re so subtle,” was all he said. I hid my smile behind my hand.

And my smile continued to grow as I watched and witnessed Lee accept and embrace the suggestions in Huddleston’s book as his surgery date approached.

He reached out to the people he works with, the guys he mountain bikes with, and all his ski racing buddies to create the suggested “support group.”  “Hey if you think of it,” he would say, “send some positive energy my way Monday morning at 7:30.”  Later, on our drive to the hospital he confessed that wasn’t easy for him.  “To put myself out there like that, to ask them to think of me, was really hard,” but after a moment he added, “But I’m so glad I did because it was very well received and they felt included in my process.”

The other big take-away from Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster was the healing statements.  These are intentions written out by the patient and read by someone in the operating room as the patient goes under and comes out of anesthesia.  Huddleston talks in her book about the research that has proven that even when a patient is anesthetized, he/she is still hearing what is said during surgery.  She sites examples from hospitals in Boston, New York, Atlanta and London who’ve all shown that “patients who had positive statements spoken to them during general anesthesia recovered more quickly with less pain and complications than the patients in the control group, who were not given the statements.”

In the pre-op room, Lee mustered up his courage to hand the sheet of loose leaf paper on which he’d written his statements to the anesthesiologist and ask that they be read during surgery.  I watched Lee relax into the bed when the anesthesiologist said, “Yeah, I’ve seen this several times now. Must be somethin’ going around.”

Prior to surgery, we learned that Lee had the choice to use one of his own tendons to replace his, or one from a donor.  Based on his age (46) it was repeatedly recommended he use the donor option.  It was about a week before surgery that it really hit home for Lee that his new tendon would be coming from someone whose life had been cut short.  The last of his healing statements reflects that.  With his permission, these are the statements he wrote:

* I look forward to this procedure and wish for it to go smoothly, efficiently and as simply as possible in a safe and clean environment.

* My immediate post-op recovery will be pain-free, and set the stage for a pain-free rehabilitation.

* All medications from surgery will transfer easily out of my body.

* My body’s response will be swift, thorough and strong.

* I express deep gratitude to the donor of this tissue and intend that this tissue will be welcomed and accepted as a part of my body.

I can happily report that three days post-surgery, Lee is doing wonderfully well.  He’s off all pain meds, making good progress on his physical therapy and already making plans for next ski season!

Pre-surgery with amazing surgeon, Dr. Chen of The Alpine Clinic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just out of surgery with repaired knee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready to head home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picking up kids at school – 4 hours post surgery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reiki Master, Libby Barnett treating Lee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the porch soaking up some nice Vitamin D.

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Being Prepared (Giveaway)

My mom had a procedure yesterday to remove a small, but suspicious looking spot on her foot.

“What should I do?” she asked me.

I knew what she was asking.  She meant, What should I do to prepare?  She knew that before anyone had any kind of “procedure” be it minor, major or somewhere in between, if it involved asking the body to heal, she knew there was work that could be done beforehand to expedite healing and mitigate fear.

Her timing could not have been more perfect.  I was writing a blog post on that very subject for Hand to Hold’s blog, PreemieBabies101.

Click on over to their site and register to win the free copy of the book I’m giving away.

Surviving Preemie Surgery and a {Giveaway}“Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster” Book

“Before my daughter’s final surgery, the surgery where the doctors would reconnect the piece of intestine they had originally looped through the outside of her abdomen, I was hanging on by a thread. A very thin thread that snapped long before that surgery date even came close to arriving.

At three in the morning I found myself in the emergency room with severe chest pain and numbness running all the way down my left arm. Tests were run, blood was drawn, oxygen levels were taken, but ultimately it was determined that I’d had a panic attack. Not a heart attack, not a stroke, but a panic attack.  I had hit rock bottom and didn’t know if I could pull myself up again.

But my daughter still needed surgery, so pull myself up I did.” 

I go on to write about the book that saved me and my daughter…

I always keep multiple copies on my bookshelf, ready to give a copy away to anyone I think might benefit from it.

Want one on your shelf?

Click on over to read the rest and log in to register to win!

Surviving Preemie Surgery and a {Giveaway} “Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster” Book

By the way, my mom got the all clear!

 

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