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My Beginnings of Motherhood

preemie, premature birth, prematurity, preemie mom, nicu, preemie dad, preemie parent, nicu baby, nicu life, first family photo, at first sight


I thought for a while about an appropriate (and concise) way to introduce myself for this first blog post, which I am so grateful to have the opportunity to write. "Hi, I'm Kristina, mom to Flynn, who will be two this coming February. I've been married to my husband, DJ, for five years. I work from home as an Administrative/IT Assistant. In my spare time, I love crafting, listening to podcasts, and obsessing over true crime..." As a reader, you may want to know these things but at this point in my life, I feel that you can't truly know me without knowing Flynn's birth story.

After struggling with infertility for almost three years, I lived the majority of my pregnancy thinking that was going to be the biggest hurdle to overcome and that everything was going to be perfect going forward. I began designing the nursery, reading all the books, and, being the greatest perfectionist and planner, I started planning my baby shower. I felt great and life was amazing, until my twenty-seventh week of pregnancy. I was admitted to the hospital with a very severe and sudden onset case of preeclampsia following a routine doctor’s appointment. With all other options exhausted and both of our conditions becoming critical, Flynn was delivered via emergency c-section at twenty-eight weeks.

After a long seven weeks in the NICU, we were finally able to take Flynn home. Though we were overjoyed to have our sweet boy home and to finally be a family, we started a new, unexpected journey when he was not meeting important milestones, like sitting up, rolling over, or eating solids. At nine months old, Flynn started receiving services through Early Intervention. He started with just physical therapy, and we have since added occupational therapy, speech and feeding therapy, and a special instruction teacher. Together, we tackle Flynn’s issues with sensory processing, improving his gross and fine motor skills, and building his vocabulary. As a toddler, Flynn’s schedule is more packed than most adults I know.

In the past 22 months, I have seen my child survive, change statistics, beat the odds, and defy all expectations. I've seen a baby unable to breathe on his own become a toddler with a lust for life, who dances, laughs, and takes steps all on his own. I've felt his arms wrap around my neck and I've heard his sweet voice say "mama." I have been one of the lucky ones able to witness a miracle. It’s because of this that I am the mother that I am, but life with a child that has special needs has many challenges. I want to share our trials, triumphs, and everyday life (including doctor’s visits, therapy sessions, and daily activities) because whatever you’re going through, you’re not alone. We have each other.

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Underestimated Strength is a collection of posts all about our journey through life as we navigate preemie parenting after the NICU. You can read my posts here every Tuesday! Also, feel free to follow me on Instagram, where I speak freely about our story and advocacy.

Do you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions? Contact me via email: kristina.mulligan.blogs@gmail.com


Other posts by this this blogger


A Tale Guilt & Intervention

Jun 25, 2019

I know that this is what he needs, so I have no regrets, but as a mom, I feel lesser than.

Things Preemie Parents Don’t Want You to Know (But You Should)

Jun 18, 2019

Here some things that you should know, being in the support system of a family with a preemie.

Letter to a Preemie Mom

Jun 11, 2019

I see you. I’ve been there. I see you, your patience, gentleness, and strength, and sometimes it helps to know that you are not alone.

Go Love Yourself

Jun 4, 2019

I'm a work in progress, but I know a lot about building self-confidence that I need to share with you.

Learn How to Act FAST This Month

May 28, 2019

In honor of this year’s Stroke Awareness Month coming to an end, I wanted to share my personal story.

Inclusivity is the New Black

May 21, 2019

Ask the questions. Become more knowledgeable. Practice inclusivity. Be compassionate.

The Mom-petition

May 14, 2019

Have you gotten caught up in the competition of motherhood?

The Toll of the IFSP

May 7, 2019

We’ve become pretty good friends here, right? I think we have, so I’m going to be honest with you. Ready? Let's talk about the IFSP...

Milestone Worries

Apr 30, 2019

As a mother of a child with developmental delays, I am often asked the question: “When should I worry that my baby isn’t _______ yet?” and I want to offer my advice.

Celebrations & Sensory Kids

Apr 23, 2019

There are certain things that are important to remember when you have a loved one with sensory needs.

Our Favorite Children’s Books Right Now

Apr 16, 2019

Here is a collection of books that never get old at our house, recommended by a pretty cool two-year-old...

The Opposite-of-Terrible Twos

Apr 9, 2019

With all of the focus on the negative, it’s hard to remember that there is so much more to two! There are many other things that come with two that are unbelievably far from terrible.

Interview With a Preemie Dad

Apr 2, 2019

I sat down with a very special preemie dad to ask some important questions.

"That's Your Dream?"

Mar 26, 2019

So many books tell us that we need to pursue our greatest dreams and be more than just who we are. But wait, what if that’s not my dream?

Prematurity in the Media

Mar 19, 2019

With premature birth being a huge concern in this country, it’s important to spread knowledge and awareness. Can the entertainment industry help with this?

Stepping Into Early Intervention

Mar 12, 2019

As a new mom, I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew this wasn’t “normal.” When you don't know what to do, where can you seek help?

Ways Being a Preemie Mom Has Changed Me

Mar 5, 2019

In what ways can prematurity change your parenting? For me, preemie life has lasted long beyond leaving the NICU.

Small Steps for Self-Care

Feb 26, 2019

How can you include self-care into your life without it feeling like work?

Mom Guilt: What is it and what can we do about it?

Feb 19, 2019

mom•guilt /mahm-gilt/ (noun): the unhappy feelings caused by thinking or feeling like you did something wrong, like missing your child blink, not having time to make teacher gifts, or forgetting that they don’t like scrambled eggs this week.

The Stages of Preemie Parenting

Feb 12, 2019

How can the stages of grief apply to the NICU experience?

How Choosing My Words Changed My Parenting

Feb 5, 2019

The words that we choose are more important to children than we realize. How can vocabulary be changed to create a more positive environment?

Five Toys for Babies and Toddlers That We Would Be Lost Without

Jan 29, 2019

We take our toys very seriously at our house. These are some of our favorites! What are yours?

Life as a Work-From-Home Mom

Jan 22, 2019

I'm sharing my personal experience of what it's like as a mother who does double-duty with work and parenting all day.

How I Created a Sensory Routine for My Toddler

Jan 15, 2019

Did you know that quick additions and modifications to your current routine can create a more regulated sensory environment for your child? Check out these tips to incorporate sensory activities into your every day!

Home with a Preemie During Flu & RSV Season

Jan 8, 2019

Premature babies have immature immune systems and get sick more easily than babies born at term. Learn the precautions that can be taken to minimize risk.

New Year...New Me?

Jan 1, 2019

What makes a New Year's resolution?

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Dec 25, 2018

If you know a family that is in the NICU during the holidays, here are a few ideas to make their days merry and bright.

It's Beginning to Look, Smell, Taste, Sound, and Feel A Lot Like Christmas

Dec 18, 2018

This year, I organized a Twelve Days of Christmas Crafting Extravaganza for Flynn. Each activity is sensory focused but is also so fun and, of course, holiday-themed.