Dear Family and Friends,
I’m super excited to be writing my first blog post now that I’m home! I’ve overcome so much these past several months and I’m getting stronger and stronger every single day. Mom and Dad cannot thank you enough for the out pouring of support, understanding, and love that has been received from everyone. So many of you have done so much for us along the way and we truly appreciate every bit of help, concern, thoughts, and prayers.
Now that I’m home, I ask that you continue to support me as I grow. Please remember that I’m still a preemie. Though I’m not in the hospital anymore, and I’m much bigger and older, being a preemie doesn’t have to do with my size or current age. Being a preemie is about being born early and because of that I still continue to have special needs.
My immune system isn’t completely developed yet. I learned from Doctors in the hospital that babies get their antibodies to work on their immune systems in the last trimester of pregnancy. I have been getting some since I’ve been eating my mom’s breast milk this whole time, but alot of my immune system development I have to do all by myself which will take time. So until I can do that, I’m going to need you to please not visit me if you are feeling sick, were recently sick, or have been caring for other sick people or children. Even if you just have a cold, please stay home. I know you really want to meet me and I really want to meet everyone too, but even a common cold can make me very sick.
My respiratory system is also still vulnerable. This is the hardest for my parent’s to explain because from the outside nobody can tell what my lungs look like. But my lungs are still immature because of being born early and because of all the breathing support I was on in the hospital. Because of this if you come over to my home please don’t wear any strong perfume or cologne. Also, if you smoke I am going to need you to change your clothing and refrain from smoking before you visit me. My lungs are very sensitive and cannot take even the smell of second hand smoke. You’ll also notice I don’t spend alot of time in my baby swing because my parents want to be sure I’m always positioned in a way that my airway is not kinked. They may remind you of this when you hold me.
And, because of this crazy weather, RSV and the flu are still around. RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a respiratory virus that isn’t any worse than a common cold, but for preemies like me, the virus can be quite different and very scary. Babies like me that were born before 36 weeks (I was 10 weeks before even that!) are at highest risk for complications like bronchiolitis, pneumonia, and other serious breathing problems that could but us back in the hospital. Sometimes the side effects are so bad they can be fatal for babies like me. Preventing the spread of RSV can be very difficult. The virus is spread through physical contact or through the air if you sneeze of cough. RSV can live on hands for up to 6 hours and on surfaces for up to 12 hours. It spreads very easily, especially by children. So please understand when my parent’s don’t have visitors or take me to parties during this season both this year AND next year. (October through April in the Northeast)
Regarding visits – I want to meet you as much as you want to meet me and it’s important to please ask my Mom and Dad when a good time to visit would be and also, please be mindful of how long you stay. Because my sensory system is also learning how to cope with my new world, I may get overstimulated easily. In the NICU I was kept in a warm, dark, mostly quiet place and I slept alot. I still need lots of sleep and rest because that’s when I grow. If I’m asleep when you arrive, please allow me to keep sleeping. I need all my energy to eat, grow, and thrive. Too much stimulation or over stimulation may set me back. Please understand and respect my space if I need it.
Please know that this letter is not mean to hurt or offend anyone. It is simply meant to show that even though I may be home, I still have special needs because of how early I arrived. Thank you for understanding and respecting my parents decisions to keep me happy and healthy. They have been through one of the biggest challenges of their lives and we are finally home, safe and sound.
We know that this is different for you. It is different for us, too.
Hugs (but no germy kisses)