I didn’t mention a lot of details from yesterday’s appointment, but one seems important enough today to not only mention it but elaborate on it as well.
The nurse who gave me the progesterone shot was the same one from the last appointment. She, like all the other nurses we’ve had before, remembered PJ. I guess there’s something about him that’s memorable. Or maybe it’s just unusual for pregnant moms to bring their kids with them every single appointment. Either way, the nurse was very interested in talking with PJ and laughing at his antics.
She was also chit-chatting with me while she was getting the medicine in the syringe. She was curious about whether I’d put up with all the shots during PJ’s pregnancy too. I told her that his premature birth was the reason for the shots this time around. She gave me a funny look and said, “He was premature?”
“Yup. He was born at 31 weeks.”
She glanced over at him again, where he was chattering happily in his stroller and making googly eyes at her. “I never would have guessed he was a preemie,” she said in amazement.
It wasn’t until we got home that I realized that was the first time someone had said that to me. Usually they give a knowing nod as though that explains it all when I bring up his prematurity.
I’m quite aware that the nurse has a different perspective than most people I encounter. She has met both me and my husband, and our tiny sizes easily explain PJ’s tiny body. But at the same time, PJ has also made a lot of progress in catching up in the last few months. He is pretty normal for a 21-month-old now–maybe on the low end of the normal range, but definitely in that range. It’s only his size that suggests something is different about him, and like I said, that’s easily explained by genetics; he probably wouldn’t be much, if any, bigger if he had been full-term.
And what’s most astounding about this milestone is that it speaks a lot of my own feelings about this subject. A year ago, I was writing posts regularly (on my other blog) about my feelings about his prematurity and how I was trying to come to terms with it. I finally gave up, deciding it would always be something that weighed heavily on my mind, that I would always look at PJ and see my premature kid, not just my little boy. I don’t know when it changed, but yesterday’s encounter proved to me that sometime over the recent months, it has. PJ is my little boy, and only that. I’ve stopped even thinking about his prematurity except how it affects this pregnancy. The circumstances of his birth feel completely separate from the little boy dropping toys all over the house. All of a sudden my identity has changed; I’m no longer the mother of a preemie, but just a toddler. And suddenly I’m in love with the normalcy of my life.