November is Premature Awareness Month

Nov 14, 2007

#Life#The Flinger Family#Baby O#{W}rite-of-passage

It feels so long ago now, the beeping of the monitors, the worry, the stress. So long since I sent updates from my phone from his NICU bedside. Eons since I spontaneously went in to labor. So long since that first time I held him, two days later.

Vdog’s recount of her son’s birth sounded so much like our own. At the time, you’re alone. You’re guilty. You’re scared. You sit in a room of silence knowing it’s not right. Something is wrong.

In reality, everything is wrong.

We grew to know each beep, each nurse, each procedure. We were there one week and we grew comfortable in an often scary and life altering environment. Some people are not as lucky.

I’ve stopped proceeding Baby O’s actual age with his adjusted age. I usually never mention his prematurity. Often because I almost feel guilty that he’s done so well. At first I was worried, sad, and scared. Now I have a thriving little man. I have a smiley baby. I have my complete family. If I share our NICU experience, I sometimes hear stories so much harder and worse than ours. I only relate on the fringe of their emotions. I can not comprehend the real struggle their baby had to fight for his or her life. Baby O was just always going to make it. He just needed time.

That’s hard to say to someone whose baby needed so much more.

I know there are people with struggles and stories I’d never wish on anyone. They both shine with strength and love in light of loss. It amazes me. 

So this month, I’m supporting the families who sit in the NICU and hold hands with baited breath. Families who hear the beeps and do not find them as comforting as we did. Families who’s baby stays far from home for far too long. For us, six days was an eternity. I can’t imaging 6 weeks. OR worse.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

If God gives you as much as you can bear, then he knows I’m a huge pussy.


And I am. And I know I am. I am because I cry when I read their stories and I cry when I think of what could be.

But I cry big, fat, wet sloppy tears of joy when I watch this video I made the day Baby O was due: Five months ago today.

We never looked back. That baby keeping us up at night is a blessing. Even at 4:30 AM.



  1. I didn’t know that November was premature awareness month. I never even thought about it happening to me until it happened. I had my son when I was 32 weeks 5 days. He spent 16 long days in the NICU. 9 months later I never think about him being premature. We were blessed.

    By Lauren on 2007 11 14

  2. This is absolutely beautiful.  Thank you so much for sharing this, and for sharing your beautiful video.  I am more than a little glad that your precious baby boy is alright.

    By YSP on 2007 11 14

  3. I can’t believe how much he’s grown and how adorable he is.  I know that the beginning had to be hard—so, so hard—but wow.  He’s here and he’s thriving.

    Thank God.

    By Nicole on 2007 11 14

  4. I started reading you right after Baby O was born.  Found you through Plain Jane Mom.

    Your video made me cry, in a good way.  So glad your boy is fine and is growing.  Even if he’s not the best sleeper, he’s quite a blessing.

    By Jennifer on 2007 11 14

  5. he is an amazing little boy!

    By zoe on 2007 11 14

  6. Just what I needed. Been having a nice little wallow tonight, decided to come read your PPD stuff and got myself a dandy kick in the ass. Just what I needed. Thanks smile

    And yes, yes, Baby O is cute too - careful with the throwing up in your mouth though smile

    By Dawn S. on 2007 11 14

  7. I’m a huge pussy too. Cry away sista—it’s your right. Just as it’s your right to get frustrated and tired. It’s not a competition of who had more to worry over or who can handle more.

    But it’s good to have the gratitude too.

    By Sleeping Mommy on 2007 11 14

  8. I gave birth to my son when I was 23 weeks pregnant. IT was the most difficult thing I ever been through. He weighed in at 2lb 5 oz. Small and fragile, scared to hold him. I remember not feeling as if he was real, reconnecting and connecting him from machines.

    But it was worth it. he is amazing and will always be.

    He’s a fighter.


    By jillian on 2007 11 14

  9. God, I don’t know how you do it. Three hours under the 02 hood for Sophia and I was a complete mess. it was so horrifying just to see her like that. How you can survive with that feeling for days, weeks…I am clearly a total pussy, thank the Lord.

    By Laura on 2007 11 14

  10. Jillian made me cry. Clearly (as Laura said,) thank the Lord, I’m a pussy.

    Amazing little man you have there, Jillian.

    By Mrs. Flinger on 2007 11 14

  11. I can’t watch the video. Hormones are already so far out of whack that I teared up watching a happy story on Oprah today. Ok, I can’t watch the video because NICUs give me nightmares.

    I can’t even finish this comment without tearing up and since I don’t want my husband asking me why I am crying on the computer again, I’ll just leave it at that.

    O is an amazing little boy and it’s awesome to see how far he’s come.

    Here’s to all of those NICU nurses who don’t look at you like you’re a crazy lady when you haven’t had the time to shower in days. Here’s to the neonatologists who will fight as if it was their own child.

    By moxygen on 2007 11 14

  12. I had no idea it was Premature Awareness month!  That video though, ooof - so, so beautiful.  He was so tiny!

    By Carrie on 2007 11 14

  13. I enjoyed watching your video, although had to watch it with the sound off…Hope is sleeping (so why, oh why am I here on the computer?!?!?!)so need to be somewhat quiet.
    Also wanted to share that I appreciate Sleeping Mommy’s comment:
    “It?s not a competition of who had more to worry over or who can handle more.”
    Because that is so true.
    It is nice to hear someone else say it, and not just think it! smile thanks. I guess I didn’t hear it (I read it), but you know what I mean!
    and to let you know, I am so dang tired too. ugh. So, on that note, i am going to bed. Jack’s lunch can make itself in the morning. Not gonna make it right now. Goodnight~

    By hilary on 2007 11 15

  14. He’s beautiful

    By Jen Rizzo on 2007 11 15

  15. Flinger, girl, I hear ya! 

    Our first was born via c-section at 32 weeks and only 2lbs 13ounces!  She spent 24 days in the NICU and your post has got me shivering and reliving the whole thing.  I’ll bet you can pick out her pics in my flickr gallery with ease.

    I still cry when I think about it or even when I hear Maroon 5’s “She will be loved” which was my current obession when she was born. And I am still freaked out by what could have been, even three years later.  It is the kind of experience you carry around with you for your entire life. 

    Must go bawl my eyes out now.  You are sooo lucky that I haven’t done my makeup yet!

    By themommykelly on 2007 11 15

  16. I hear you too. My older son was born at 33 weeks, 5lb 9oz, in 2001 and spent 13 days in the NICU.

    It’s been 6 years so I don’t think about it much anymore, but I will never forget the sound and smell of the NICU, or the sound of the hospital pump…my husband still has flashbacks to that stupid whoosh-whoosh-ing.

    The best part was when they sent me to see the hospital social worker because they were afraid I was “upset.” Why? Just because yesterday I was still pregnant and my baby shower is still a week away and his due date isn’t even in this MONTH? WHY would I be upset??

    Ahem. Guess those feelings aren’t as buried as I thought…
    I feel for people who have multiples and/or have long NICU stays. I cannot imagine the strength it takes.

    Thank you, Sleeping Mommy, for your comment that ?It?s not a competition” - so many people minimize what we went through because it was “only” two weeks. It was still scary. And I thank God every day that my former preemie is a tall, healthy, smart, happy kindergartener now.

    By Dawn on 2007 11 15

  17. Makes me feel so blessed to have had a healthy baby even at 3+ weeks early.

    Baby O is handsome as ever!

    By andrea on 2007 11 15

  18. He is so precious!  I can’t see the video at work (I know, I should be working, right?), but your words say enough.  I’m happy that all is well now (minus the sleepless nights and such).  I don’t know what I would have done in your shoes.

    By Andrea on 2007 11 15

  19. I am crying big, fat, wet sloppy tears of joy right along with you.  He is so perfect…maybe just a little impatient is all.  He was too excited to meet you guys!

    I often complain about the fact that all three of my children had to be evicted because they would not budge.  It’s hard to remember how lucky I am.  I know I am.  God must think I’m a pussy too.  That makes me feel even luckier.

    By LeannIAm on 2007 11 15

  20. Thank you very much for sharing that video.  I’m crying along with you.

    By mdvelazquez on 2007 11 16