Eliza Grace was born on March 15, 2006, at 26 weeks, 4 days, weighing 1 pound 4 ounces and measuring just 11.5 inches long. She is the light of my soul and this is the story of our life in the big city.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Support Groups vs. Support Hose

Honestly folks I swear that I never thought I was the kind of person who would need a support group. I really figured I would need support hose long before a support group. But then the fates decided to mess with my grand plan and not only did I need xanax and crocheting, but darn if I didn't find myself looking up ever preemei support group in the tri-state area and on the internet. Much like Goldilocks, the first few support groups I tried just didn't fit me. People were either too pie-in-the-sky or too doom-and-gloom or just downright dopey.

How did I decide which support groups to stick with? Well I found that following the criteria below really helped me decide which groups were right for me:

1. No one in the group cringed or looked away when they saw a picture of Eliza just after she was born. (Unlike quite a few family members and friends...you know who you are and no I haven't quite forgetten yet).

2. Each new member of the group is congratulated on the birth of their babies no matter how serious their condition or how early their birth. (I had people ignore the fact that Eliza had been born and one person actually sent me a sympathy card).

3. I never have to decipher things like ROP, AOP, RDS, BPD, NEC, IVH, CP, PVL, CPAP, BiPAP, etc. to the group.

4. No one in the group will ever tell me that Eliza should "catch up by 2."

5. We can have an intelligent discussion on the pharmaceutical mechanisms and side effects of most respiratory and gastro-intestinal medications, a discussion that is probably as informed as any discussion between pharmaceutical reps.

6. Everyone in the group knows what Early Intervention is and no one will ever ask if it is a 12 step program for preemies.

7. For those of us who tried and failed to breast feed we are never made to feel like pariahs for giving our babies formula.

8. No one in the group will ever tell me that Eliza is just a picky eater or suggest that giving her Cheerios will cure her feeding problems.

9. We can communally celebrate our children's victories, which would otherwise go unnoticed in the rest of the world, like rolling over for the first time well after their first birthday or learning to hold a crayon or eating one lonely french fry or not vomiting for 10 whole days.

10. Being able to sometimes laugh along with the only people who understand at the otherwise dire situations we often find ourselves in.

So for those of you who think support groups are only for overly needy members of society, just remember that a bottle of xanax and pair of support hose can only get you so far.


Jenny G said...

I'm glad you found a good group. You are a wealth of knowledge (I've learned a lot from your blog) and that group will be so happy to have you.

Judith and Jason said...


alison said...

I need one of your groups up here in Massachusetts. It's hard to talk Sensory Processing Disorder to my friends with full term kids---they say, "that's what toddlers do, toddle."
Oh it must be nice to have such an outlook- one so far from my reality.
Keep writing, I'm still reading. For now, you're my support group.
mom to KK born 4/12/06 at 24 weeks.

Anne, Eliza Grace's mom said...

One of the best online support groups I have found is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PreemieBlogMoms/

Not the kind of "club" I would want to have willingly joined, but boy am I glad that it's a "club" that will have me.

abby said...

Ten whole days vomit free...heck, we'd be doing the hora (israeli circle dance) with lampshades on our heads while reciting the Iliad or something!

But, yeah, if you find a live version of this group, let me know. I'll start selling support hose or something to finance a move back to NY.

EdinNJ said...

Wow, darn good criteria - well written! I would like to share that with other groups. Their just reading it might help them recognize what they need to doing to improve their group.

Best to you, your family, and the groups that have the good fortunate of having you.

Anne, Eliza Grace's mom said...

I'm very flattered that you would like to share my thoughts (sometimes rambling!) with others. You are more than welcome to share my top ten list.

Anne, Eliza Grace's mom said...


Oh what the heck, let's dance the hora anyway next time we meet. We more than deserve to celebrate Hallie and Eliza... we can even let Hallie the Haberdasher select our hats. :)

abby said...

Can she also pick out our shoes? Hallie has an even bigger thing for footwear than usual these days. She learned how to put on Adam (her three year old cousin's) flip flops this weekend and then proceeded to try on all of the flip flops in the huge shoe basket by the door to Aunt Laura's house (there are many pairs in there) and then picked up all the flip flops discarded by us older folks and tried them on, too. I checked Payless and a couple of other places in the mall for a pair for our kiddo but the only shoe styles available are back-to-school (ARGGGG) right now. I'll check out local offerings tomorrow. But shoewear is the new headwear, apparently. And Hal does have Hannah's old Disney princess high heels (and accompanying princess dress) to tool around in tomorrow, and I betcha she can manage a hora in those!

Sarah said...

As always Ann, I read your posts and laugh out loud and then I have to go back and re-read them because, you see, I've been wearing support hose since my 20s.

Also, about holding the crayon.. yeah, I misread that one, too. I'd like Emery to hold a crayon WITHOUT eating it and then NOT throwing it up 5 seconds later haha!

Great post!! You always coin it well.

MamáChanga said...

Just wanted to say hello. I found your blog yesterday and spent some time reading through it. I love the honesty and humor you write with. I too am the mom of 23 weekers, 2 girls now 2.

I'm so happy that you've found a group that fits, I'm a big homebody so I gave up finding one.

Abby, did you try the local dollar store or discount mart? I just walked into one today and saw they had a ton of flip flops. Just a thought.

Hugs & Blessings!

Xanax Prescription Information said...

My name is Wendy Angus and i would like to show you my personal experience with Xanax.

I am 45 years old. Have been on Xanax for 2 years now. In working with a wonderful doctor and therapist, I have learned Meniere's Disease is an anxiety=provoked condition, and is the worst thing I have ever suffered in my life. To manage this, I take a low dose of Wellbutrin everyday and have a 1mg Rx for Xanax, which I am supposed to take 3x-a-day, but to be honest, I usually only take about 3-1mg a week, so only taking it when I honestly feel "too anxious". I also take Meclizine for the Meniere's attacks and those are only as needed as well. I feel the Xanax is better to have around than not, for my personal conditions. It took me a long time to balance out my meds, and taking too much xanax feels as horrible as the withdrawl can be, as I've experienced both. Now, after much time in getting to know what my body needs and how I am feeling (like with anxiety), and removing the 'stigma' of having to take a drug to manage my conditions is now over, taking just a few pills a week seems to work beautifully.

I have experienced some of these side effects -
It makes me very thirsty (dry mouth) but seems to work well in combination with other drugs for my conditions with no ill effects.

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Wendy Angus