The preemie gap

Cameron is eight weeks today and getting cuter by the minute. He’s almost completely over his recent bout of bronchiolitis and is once again a predominately contented little chap. He is getting really chubby now, with little fat rolls everywhere (there is definitely a resemblance to a shar-pei developing). He has got the most beautiful blue eyes and is becoming increasingly alert. I am starting to see more and more of Col in him, especially in the way he stretches when he’s waking up. All in all, our boy is making wonderful progress.

However, having said all that, for the first time we are noticing the preemie gap. Until now there hasn’t seemed to be much different between Cameron and a full term baby. But while full-term babies have now reached that magic six week mark, Cameron is still very much in the two to six week phase. His smile reflex is very evident but we have yet to see our first social smile. He is still on a three-hour feeding schedule, occasionally pushing it to four hours at night. If he is awake for more than an hour he starts to get really cranky and he still gets over stimulated incredibly quickly. That initial gruelling ‘new born’ period is turning out to be slightly longer for us and we are starting to take a wee bit of strain.

The thing that is getting to me the most is the lack of sleep. At six weeks most babies start to skip one of the night feeds, giving moms a blissful six-hour stretch. I’m still on a two-hour sleep schedule and it’s starting to show. My short-term memory is completely shot. I am heavily dependent on my lists as I can’t remember what medication I gave Cam at his last feed, never mind what happened yesterday. I read a page of my book and can’t process what it was about. It’s a bit of a miracle actually that I’m managing to string these sentences together at all (please ignore the typos – I am sure there are many).

But the worst part about it, and the real irony, is that I’m not sleeping all that well when I do sleep. I am so aware of Cameron’s every little noise that often I leap out of bed ready for the next feed but he still sleeps for another hour while I doze fitfully in the nursery. I dream that I’m feeding him in our room and then wake with a jolt and frantically start searching for him in our bed. And invariably when I lie down for a nap during the day he stirs 20 minutes later, waking me with a rush of adrenaline which leaves me wide-eyed while he drifts back to dreamland. Suffice to say I am starting to understand why sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture.

Taking the preemie gap into account, Cameron should start moving into his next developmental phase in about two weeks. It seems an eternity right now, but we’ll continue to take it one day at a time and try to take the advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.’


4 thoughts on “The preemie gap

  1. Pingback: Two months old – take two | The Sparkle and the Speckle

  2. Hi! I found your blog from looking for other parents of preemies to connect with! My son is 12 weeks old and woke twice last night..ugh. He was on a roll with one night waking after 10 weeks and for some reason, it stopped! 😦 lol

    • Hey Mia. Oh no – how frustrating! Maybe he’s going through a growth spurt. A few nights ago Cameron fed every hour but got back to longer breaks a few days later. I also know that many babies change their routines every six weeks so maybe he’s just figuring out a new one. How many weeks prem was he?

  3. I’m certainly hoping it’s a growth spurt lol. He was 5 weeks early. He started smiling socially a little delayed and yesterday he was all smiles. I cried the first time he did a social smile 🙂 It still chokes me up!

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