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As a first time mom, I was definitely not expecting to deliver the day I turned 29 weeks to a gorgeous little 2lb 5oz baby. I was a Major in the Army and quickly realized that this was going to be one of the hardest battles of my life. While in the NICU, my husband and I had to maintain our senses of humor in order to survive the in and outs of life in the NICU.
After 64 days, we took our then 6lb 9oz baby boy home and I had to return to work. The other parents and I had discussed not being able to find anything on the lighter side to celebrate our little ones.
One of the babies who was 1lb even at birth, and only 11" long was going home on oxygen, apnea monitors, feeding tube and many other monitors and we were chatting with the parents and I mentioned Natalie needed a shirt that says "O2...it's not just for old people." We all laughed, but the idea for It's a Preemie Thing was born!
When my son Spencer was 9 months old, I launched It's a Preemie Thing on Labor Day, 2010. With a mission to bring some humor to otherwise tough situations as well as support and a resource for other new Preemie Parents to learn from my mistakes and victories.
At 10 months my son was diagnosed with a rare brain malformation and I decided after 16 years in the Army, he needed me more than anyone else did. I resigned my commission and decided to run It's a Preemie Thing full time from home.
I like to call attention to the big pink elephants in the room to lighten the atmosphere. We have onesies and t-shirts with sayings such as "I'm older than I look", "Do I look fat in this yet?", "I earned these rolls", "fun sized" and for sweet babies that are always smaller than their fellow full term friends (we call them termies) "I'm only fed on Tuesdays" along with many more humorous sayings.
We now carry onesies from preemies up to 18 months, and t-shirts for little ones, toddlers, youth and adults. We even have scrubs for NICU staff with fun sayings like "Little things matter in the NICU."
With our Facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/itsapreemiething), blog (http://blog.itsapreemiething.com) and e-commerce website (http://www.itsapreemiething.com), my goal is to enable people to see "the glass is half full, not half empty" side of life.