Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) was not something I knew about prior to becoming pregnant. That changed at 23 weeks gestation.
I was diagnosed with Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) with intermittent/absent end-diastolic flow in my cord. My sweet baby boy was not growing as he should. I was immediately put on bed rest and given every possible negative outcome of how my pregnancy would end and all the struggles that my son might endure in his life with this diagnosis. To say I was devastated is an understatement.
Over the course of the next couple of days, I started steroid shots to help mature my son’s lungs. Neonatologist, Dr. Chi, gave my husband and me an idea of what NICU life would be like. She talked about what the biggest hurdles and concerns were for a preemie. I wrote down words like NEC, brain bleeds, and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).
A few short weeks later, my son Nolan was born at 27 weeks gestation. He weighed a tiny, but MIGHTY 1 lb. 4 oz.
It was love at first sight.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
We’ve all heard the classic fable, The Tortoise and the Hare. The Tortoise is the unassuming, humble, and methodical creature that takes his time and “speeds” ahead in the race at his own steady pace. By contrast, the hare is boastful, proud and loses focus in his race by assuming it was won from the get-go.
I have my own tortoise and in his short 5 years of life, he has taught me more than this old fable. Slow and steady wins the race! Since he was born Nolan has done everything at his own pace. He arrived 13 weeks earlier than I wanted him to and took his own sweet time to walk, finally taking his first step at 21 months. While he was always moving steadily ahead, he took longer than I would have liked for him to reach the next destination.
Lessons from My Son
Often in the NICU, you will hear more than once that the baby is running the show. This precious little one scares everyone with their early entry into the world. They also become the biggest beacons of hope that you could ever lay your eyes on! My son was and is still a reminder of hope every single day of my life.
My son taught me a lot about patience and what it means to run the “race of life” at your own pace. I drowned myself in knowledge, trying to hurry him to the next milestone, often before he was ready for them. I desperately wanted him to “catch up”. Looking back, I don’t think there is any catching up. Each baby has unique challenges and strengths. They don’t “catch up”. Instead, much like the tortoise, they grow stronger while continuing at a pace all their own. That has been true of my son.
I learned that when I finally stopped being obsessed with the pounds, the milestones, and the comparison trap I truly began to enjoy and embrace the journey that was all his own. I was able to meet him where he was and celebrate all that he had overcome.
So, today my sweet Noly, I celebrate NOT that you were growth restricted but that you were Growth Abundant! You show the world what you can do and how strong you are! You continue to bless everyone you are around, especially me and daddy!
Slow and steady wins the race my love, and instead of jumping ahead waiting for you to “catch up”, I will stand right beside you and cheer you on every step of the way!
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