April is now 16 months old. How did that happen? I don’t feel like I’ve got a baby anymore; I’ve got a toddler. She is properly walking now and there is no stopping her. It took her 2 or 3 weeks to become more confident from her initial first steps, but now she’s so speedy and potters around the house no problem. At playgroup, she’s off – not bothered about me. At home, it’s pretty much the same. Trying to get into everything she can – emptying cupboards, opening drawers, sitting on things, climbing up things. Her new trick is climbing up the footstool, on to the sofa and doing a roly poly down off the arm.
She’s always falling over or bumping her head, but she’s quite a robust little thing. We had her measured for her first shoes last week and since they’ve given her great support – it’s like she knows there her walking shoes and she’s determined to show us how to use them!
One of the things the consultant said to us when we went for a check up was that we won’t know if she has learning disabilities until she goes to school. I’ve never been too worried about that and the way she is developing I don’t think we’ll have any cause for concern. She is doing things that I think are quite clever for a baby; stacking cups, reading books, making animal noises, responding to commands. Phil says she’s just being a baby, which yes I guess is so, but I have nothing to compare her with other than other babies and children we meet along the way. Considering she would be 13 and a half months if she was born term I think she’s cracking on pretty well! Time will tell I guess, but I’m not worried about that.
As the time ticks on the journey through having a premature baby gets easier and the worries you have seem to be less and less. They are the same sort of worries that all mums have – not the additional ones when they arrive early.
I sometimes feel like I’m a more confident Mammy now and know what I’m doing, but then other times I feel like I just don’t have a clue. Everybody has different ideas, different ways of doing things, there are a million and one books you could read or web pages to look at, but I’m such a strong believer in that maternal instinct and knowing what is right for your baby.
Every stage of having a baby is totally different and it feels like when you’ve just got one stage to a ‘T’ the next challenge appears. I have loads of questions at the moment – should I start taking her dummy off her? Am I feeding her the right food? When do I stop giving her bottles? How on earth do I get her to use a cup (still refuses!!) What activities can you do to entertain a 16 month old…the list goes on! I’m going to tap into my maternal instinct and just take it as it comes…as we’ve always known she will do things in her own time and when it is right for her. I think Mum’s put too much pressure on themselves and worry what others think. I know my baby girl loves me and she is doing amazing and that is all that matters!
Hubby deserves a big cheer today as well. He is currently training for the London Marathon and running in aid of BLISS (the charity for premature babies) though he is suffering from an injury at the moment. He is so passionate about his training and doing the marathon for April and just hope this setback doesn’t stop him- we are so proud of him! My Mam is also doing a skydive for BLISS to help towards our fundraising efforts – she’s just crazy. There is no way I would throw myself out of a plane…I’ll stick to organising events thank you!
We are raising money for BLISS, Middlesbrough NICU & Carlisle SCBU to say thank you to those people who helped bring April into the world safely and have looked after and supported us. I write this blog to help other Mums who may be going through a similar experience see that there is life beyond NICU and that no matter how early they appear or how little they may be, these teeny miracles can grow up into healthy, thriving little children – hard work like the rest of them!