I read a blog written by another preemie mom recently and something she wrote really struck me, along the lines of who her son might be if he hadn’t been born so early. You see, all those brain synapses are developed later in pregnancy. In preemies, that development is disrupted and maybe changed by the stimuli preemies are forced to face – bright lights, loud noises, touch, and so on. I knew this fabulous little fact before. That interruption is a factor in the high risk of preemies being ADD/ADHD and on the autism spectrum. Their brains are changed from what they might have been had they been able to stay in the womb. Great, as if I didn’t have enough to feel guilty about.
Who would he be, if he hadn’t been born too soon? How would he be different? I’m past the point of being sad over it. I adore my biggest little. I love his personality, his quirkiness, his humor, his amazing hugs. But that mom’s post made me wonder, however briefly, who he might have been, how he might have been.
I watched him graduate from eighth grade just four days ago. He had a 4.0 two semesters out of three this school year. He received recognition in Physical Education (take that preemie lungs!). He was surrounded by good friends, and teachers who adore him. I was so proud. And yes, I was tearful. There isn’t a milestone he reaches I don’t think back to where and how he started. I have to believe we were put on this path with a purpose, not that I would wish that suffering on anyone, much less my own child. He is who he is because of his start, and I think he’s pretty amazing.
Would he be the feisty fighter he is if not for his early birth and the months he spent surmounting challenge after challenge? Would he be the affectionate guy he is if not having to get used to so many hands touching him from his first minutes on? Yes, his brain works differently, but he’s learned how to turn even that into an asset. Would he love to read so much if I hadn’t spent hours reading to him once he could tolerate the stimulation? Would he have his love of music if not for the hours and hours of classical music and lullabies he listened to in the NICU?
I don’t have any clue who he might have been, but I do know who he is, and he’s pretty freakin awesome.