I wonder how long it will take for all the preemie-mom vigilance to subside.
To be fair, a lot of my lingering watchfulness isn’t entirely unique to families with premature infants. I see many families with other extensive medical experiences caring about the same things.
But I still wonder. How much time will I need to allow between myself and way back when before I let it go?
Right now, Eleanor and Callista have a nasty cough. The virus itself isn’t terrible. Runny/stuffy noses, decreased appetite, interrupted sleep. The fact that all that is No Big Deal anymore is a Big Deal itself.
But while I say No Big Deal, I’m partially lying. Overall, it’s no big deal. We don’t go on lockdown anymore. I don’t break out my intake/outtake charts. Sanitizer bottles and cloths don’t appear on every table. But I’m watching their fluid intake like a hawk. I’m giving them random foods for meals, hoping they will eat something substantial enough to keep up with their desire to play as well as their need to get well.
Again, all fairly normal. No Big Deal.
Except I feel panicky when they pick at food and eat no more than a quarter of an apple for a full meal. I tally what I need to do for the next meal to help them make up the deficit in calories, fat, protein, fiber, vitamins, etc. And above it all, I’m watching their nearly forgotten water bottles and counting the number of times they use the bathroom, hoping that doesn’t start to drop.
And then I feel defeat when they cough so hard they vomit the little food and liquids for which I battled.
I know it’s a temporary struggle, these easy illnesses. My logical brain knows this, at least. My emotional brain has trained itself to do All Things Possible to avoid hospital time and is a totally different animal. No logic can convince that part of my brain that this is fine, that things will be fine.
And I wonder when the two parts of my brain will get along, if ever.