While we were on vacation and around family that doesn’t see us everyday, some questions were asked about Ryley and how he’s doing, if we’ve come across anymore issues as a result of his prematurity. Outside of dealing with his asthma, which has been thankfully calm this summer, we’ve settled into a holding pattern. I still wait for that other proverbial shoe to drop. But as the conversations went on with family about Ryley, it got me to thinking, and I realized just how much I wonder and worry about him.
I don’t know how much of this worry is just first-child worry. Ryley was my first baby, so I was bound to be a bit paranoid anyways. Add his prematurity to that, and the worry and fear become overwhelming at times. I wonder…….would he be heavier or taller than he is if he hadn’t come early? Would his head still have that long shape of “preemie-head”? Would his knee still hurt frequently (still following up with the pedi on that one) or is that part of his early birth as well? Would he still have asthma (he could have actually come by this honestly as it’s an issue from both sides of the family)? Would we have so many problems with potty training at this stage in the game? And the worries about what the future might bring smack me upside the head, and only increase as we face the start of kindergarten in a month. What if he has learning disabilities of one type or another? What if his teachers can’t see the talents he does have beyond the challenging child he can be? I know I will always worry that every little problem, every issue will be a direct result of his early birth, and I will wonder if he would have been “that way” – whatever way that may be – even if he had been full-term.
We are nearly six years away from the fateful day of Ryley’s birth. Because he has had such good outcomes, I can sometimes settle into complacency and start to think that I’m “over it” and maybe we are “in the clear”. But it is never with a free heart that I think those things. I feel like I’m always watching him so closely. I feel like I’m probably overprotective in so many ways, and maybe not as protective as I could be in other ways. I wonder if I would be a different type of mom if prematurity hadn’t touched our lives. But I suppose for everything there is a reason, and I can’t change what is, only how I look at it and how I deal with it. For now, I choose to just keep that close eye on him, maybe let that worry creep in a bit, and turn that fear into fight so that maybe some day no other mothers have to wonder what we wonder.