Grace was born 12 weeks before she should have ever seen the light of day, weighing a tiny 1lb 15oz. Smaller than a bag of sugar. She excelled at all the preemie stereotypes, you could fit your wedding ring around her wrist, see her heart flutter through the gaps in her ribs, her eyes couldn't open for three days after birth. She spent nearly four months in hospital before being allowed home, and when she came home she was on oxygen. Yet once that was gone the most common question I was asked was 'but she's alright now isn't she?'
How do you answer that one? You nod and say she's a fighter, tiny but mighty, and smile. You don't let on about the nights of worry, the panic over every cough or sniffle, the extra injections she needs, the six medicines a day, not knowing what her future holds.
Grace has just turned three. Is she still a preemie? Will she always be a preemie? Is it just part of her history, when do you move on from identifying her first by her birth? We still struggle daily with issues resulting from her prematurity, I still have sleepless nights listening to her breathe. I'm ready for her to get off the preemie rollercoaster now.