Preemie: Chapter 1 – Hospital

Chapter One – Hospital

The car stopped in front of the hospital’s main entrance. I stared out the window. The revolving door stood motionless, waiting for a push. When I looked at Lee, his mouth was smiling, but his eyes were not. I leaned into him, and he rested his lips on my forehead. Tucker’s tiny hiking boots swung back and forth, banging against the back of my seat. A uniformed man tapped his pen against the glass and motioned for us to move. As I pushed the car door open, I could barely move my arms. The man held my elbow, and I turned back to gaze at the car. “Wave to Mommy,” Lee said. I watched the station wagon move off in search of a parking space.

The admissions procedure was unusually prompt. I sat in the empty waiting room, knowing that tomorrow all these seats would be bursting with ripe-bellied women waiting for their scheduled Monday morning appointments. My hand stroked my recently-popped middle. A startling pain in my lower back reminded me why I was there. With no one at the desk, I wondered how anyone behind the closed double doors would know I was waiting.

My gaze fell on the coffee table in front of me. A beautiful, bright-eyed baby smiled at me from the glossy cover of a parenting magazine. I imagined her name—something with Rose in the middle, maybe Hannah Rose or Ashley Rose, or perhaps Mackenzie Rose. We stared at each other. She seemed to want to say something. Her pouty lips and arched eyebrows appeared concerned. Still rubbing my belly, I whispered down to her, “Is my baby okay?”

Her brilliant blue eyes continued to stare silently at me, and I suddenly knew my baby was not okay. I let out a quiet sound, somewhere between a gasp and a sob, and then a nurse called my name.

A young Asian doctor held her clipboard close and dutifully recorded my answers about previous pregnancies.

“One,” I answered. “Born on his due date at eight pounds.”

She leaned against the counter and scribbled. Her shiny hair fell like a black cape over her shoulders.

I explained the few instances of bleeding I’d had earlier in the pregnancy. She nodded but didn’t write these down.

“Where is your pain on a scale of 1-10?” she asked.


“Good.” Her pen made a scratching noise across the paper. I had a sudden desire to knock the clipboard out of her hands. “Well your pain doesn’t seem that bad,” she said, dropping the clipboard on the counter and pushing up her sleeves. “I’ll just do an exam before you go.”

She’d just begun the exam when Lee walked in with two-year-old Tucker in his arms. My hospital gown was pulled up to my stomach and the doctor’s head was between my legs. I smiled at them. Lee leaned back against the wall and offered me a wink. I was about to introduce him to the doctor, when she let out a gasp. “Oh my God,” she said, “you’re three centimeters dilated.”

I’m not sure who called them, but a bunch of nurses were suddenly in the room, scrambling around me. “What does this mean?” I asked. The nurse next to me was tearing apart the Velcro of a blood pressure cuff. “It means you’re not going home until this baby is born.”

“But it’s November,” I told her. “My baby isn’t due until March.” It was like I had a lead weight on my chest. I couldn’t get a full breath. “I can’t stay here until March.” The nurse’s hair was in tight curls that looked like rollers. “We’ve just got to stop this labor,” she said patting my shoulder.

They lifted me from the exam table onto a gurney. Two nurses raised my legs into the air and held them there. I saw a large needle coming towards my back end and felt a sting and something cool spreading under my skin.

The nurse put the needle in a red container marked “Contaminated”. Lee shifted Tucker to his other arm. “A steroid,” she said. “To help develop the baby’s lungs.”

The hot prick of an IV went into my right arm. Tucker started screaming. But when I reached for him, the nurse set my arm back on the bed. Her hand was cold. “Dad’s got him,” she said. Lee squeezed Tucker closer. “It’s gonna be alright, babe,” he said, backing out of the room, keeping his eyes on mine. “It’s gonna be alright.”

Still holding my legs in the air, several nurses took hold of the metal bars and wheeled me out the door, past Lee and Tucker, down the tight hallway. I heard Tucker’s shrill voice, “What’s happening, Daddy? What’s happening to Mommy?”

When I tried to sit up, the nurse on my right pushed me down and kept her hand firmly on my chest.

“I can’t stay here.” I lifted my head. “I can’t stay here until March.” I pictured myself lying in a hospital bed for the next four months, stacks of discarded magazines at my side, a wall-mounted television airing nothing but soaps, and Tucker at home, dressed in his Spiderman pajamas, carrying his snuggly blue blanket from room to room, looking for his Mama.

The bed was moving fast. “Who will take care of Tucker?” My question echoed off of the hallway walls.

“He’ll be okay,” a nurse answered.

The hallway grew dark like a cave. Dim overhead lights cast strange shadows across the nurses’ faces.

“Why is this happening?” I asked. “What did I do?” My voice sounded far away.

“You didn’t do anything.” The nurse on my right held my hand without looking at me. “This isn’t your fault.” Their shoes squeaked as they jogged alongside me.

“I know I did something.” The nurses exchanged a look. My body started shaking. I was so cold. “I never should have played paddle tennis.”

“It’s nothing you did,” several nurses said at once.

If I could figure out why this was happening, I could make it stop. I searched for clues, chronicling the past week’s activities and ingestions. The bath I took Saturday must have been too hot. I ate sushi. Just vegetables, but maybe it was the ginger. “I put ginger on some sushi.” They gripped my ankles tighter. I could see their hands on my legs, but realized I couldn’t feel them.

Finally, I clutched a nurse’s arm. She was walking backwards, facing me, guiding the gurney down the hall. I dug my fingers into her flesh. I needed to know she was real. She looked at me. Her eyes, framed in dark circles, softened. I thought I’d found my sympathetic audience. “You don’t understand,” I said to her in a more coherent, controlled voice. “This sort of thing doesn’t happen to me.”

She held my gaze for a moment, and I waited. A gold cross swung at the base of her neck.

She continued to look at me. And then she said, “It does now.”

To read more – here is another Free Chapter Download Chapter 6, from a bit later in the book. Or if you want to read the entire book, you can Order Here.

It’s truly an honor to have this book out in the world and hear back from so many amazing people that have been touched by this story. If you’re one of them, please let me know at

Much love to you all,


Some of the lovely things readers have said about Preemie…

“My favorite book of 2014”

“This book…was like a preemie Bible for me.”

“It was my induction into motherhood.”

“This book saved my life.”


This is the back cover of the book. I adore this photo, taken by my dear friend Shandy on a visit to Maine. I look like any new, young mom, but secretly on the inside I was falling apart.

In Honor of National Parent’s of Preemies Day…


10 Lessons on Having a Preemie

by Kasey Mathews

1.) You didn’t do anything wrong.  It is completely normal to feel guilty, ashamed and terribly afraid after giving birth to a preemie, but It Is Not Your Fault. You might never know Why your baby arrived early and sometimes you have to let go of the Why in order to move forward.

2.) Not everyone is a “baby person” and nurturing is not automatic for every mother, even mothers of full term babies.  It’s ok if you feel this way; many women do but don’t speak their feelings out loud.

3.) Speak your truth. Don’t let your fears and anxiety breed in the dark.  Bringing your deep felt emotions to light keeps them from growing and festering inside you.

4.) Motherhood can be lonely, even for mothers of full-term babies. Ask for help. When others offer help, accept it.  By receiving with openness and grace, you are in fact giving in return. To show your vulnerability is to be at your greatest strength.

5.) Create a vision of your baby in the future and hold on to that vision.  Write a list of all your “some days” – walking on the beach, eating ice cream cones on a hot summer day, flying a brightly colored kite, lying in the grass looking for shapes in the clouds…

6.) Don’t believe everything the doctors tell you. Create your own expectations for your child and don’t allow your child’s potential to be limited by anyone else.  Use your voice.  Speak up for yourself and your baby.  You are your baby’s voice.

7.) Cover your baby’s isolet with a dark blanket.  If your NICU is too bright or too noisy, speak up.  Your baby will grow and heal best in a dark womb-like environment.  Post-NICU, explore alternative therapies to compliment traditional medical treatments, i.e. Reiki, energy healing, cranial sacral therapy, Brain Gym.

8.) If you can’t shake your deep anxiety, it’s highly likely you’re suffering from PTSD.  Posttraumatic Stress is very common among preemie parents. (Resources to help – EMDR, Support groups, Peer to Peer support through Hand to Hold, therapy, writing)

9.) Take care of YOU.  Like the oxygen mask on an airplane, you have to breathe first before putting the mask on your child. It’s ok to take time for yourself and let someone else care for your baby.

10.) Choose love over fear.  It’s the hardest thing in the world to love when you’re so afraid you might lose, but our babies came here to love and be loved.  And remember, no matter how bad things get, no matter how lonely you feel, You Are Not Alone.  Someone has walked this path before you and someday you’ll be on the other side sharing your story.

© Kasey Mathews, 2012

Happy Parents of Preemies Day. Deepest thanks to Graham’s Foundation for creating such a marvelous annual event!  Events are being held all over the country so be sure to look for one in your area! If not, there are lots of events being held online!

Deepest love and blessings to you all,


Remember, I’ll be speaking at the Newbury New Hampshire Library Event today at 2:00

Author Event: Kasey Mathews
Preemie: Lessons in Love, Life, and Motherhood – NH’s 2014 Reader’s Choice for Literary Non-Fiction!
Sunday, May 4th at 2:00PM in the Vets Hall
Kasey Mathews will read from her award winning memoir Preemie. There will be a discussion and book signing after the reading.



“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde

Exciting News!

Hello Dearest Friends!

I have exciting news to share and deepest thanks to extend!

Preemie won New Hampshire’s 2013/2014 Reader’s Choice Award for Outstanding Work of NonFiction!


Here’s the photo to prove it!

There were many wonderful books up for the nomination, and it felt like a real long shot, but you, dear readers, did it! Your votes and help spreading the word made this award possible!


With ski season over and spring finally in the air, I’m redesigning an entirely new, reenergized website, that I can’t wait to share with all of you!

I hope that where ever you may be, physically, emotionally and spiritually, you’re experiencing the feelings of rebirth, renewal and hope that so often seem to arrive at this time of year.

With love, blessings and much gratitude,


A Daily Reminder

With the return of light, I feel my creative energy awakening, and look forward to spending more time over here with you.


This has been my daily message to myself in this new year and one I hope you’ll consider adopting for yourself…


May your days be full of love and light.

With blessings,


Upcoming Events

Hi All!

November is National Prematurity Awareness Month and already shaping up to be a busy and exciting time. I wanted to be sure and tell you about a few exciting upcoming events.

On Thursday, November 14th, I’ll be participating as a panelist on a live Facebook chat sponsored by the National Premature Infant Coalition (NPIHC). The topic of the chat is  Mental Health for Preemie Parents, a topic near and dear to my heart.  The chat should be lively and informative, and I hope you’re able to join in!

NPIHC Live Facebook Chat

I am also incredibly honored to be speaking at a conference sponsored by Fragile Beginnings and The March of Dimes on Sunday, November, 17th, from 11:30 – 2:00 in Waltham, Massachusetts. The conference is free and everyone who attends will receive a complimentary copy of Preemie! If you’re in the New England area, I hope you can make it!

For more information or to register, click on the following link –

The Journey Through Prematurity: From the NICU to Early Childhood

I’ll also be joining two book groups this November to discuss Preemie.  If you’re in a book group and would like to spend a meeting discussing Preemie, I’d love to join you.  Just send me an email at and if it’s within driving distance, I’ll be there!  We can also Skype or FaceTime if distance is an issue.

Finally, I have to share the latest comment someone posted on Preemie’s Amazon Book Page.  It just made me smile to know this book is making a difference.

“No words can describe the feeling this book gave me…The honesty and depth of this book will stay with me for a long time. It’s also making me evaluate my life and change for the better. Thank you for sharing and making us moms of preemies feel less alone.”

Did Preemie have a positive impact on you? If so, perhaps you’ll feel moved to leave your own comment on the Amazon book page.  Thanks!

I hope things are going well in your world and wish you much joy and peace.

With blessings,


An Interview with My Preemie

Even though I’m taking a break from blogging here, I’m still blogging over on the Preemie Babies 101 site.

You can read the beginning here and then head over there to read the rest of the fun interview I did with Andie!

An Interview with My Preemie

At the end of this past summer, I sat down with my 15-year-old boy and interviewed him about being the sibling of a preemie.  After that interview, it seemed only natural to interview the preemie herself.  So my daughter, Andie and I recently sat down across a table from each other at a Panera Bread.  She slurped her chicken noodle soup, and I pretended to put on my journalist persona.

Nice to meet you, Andie. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to meet me. 

No problem, Mom!

So, tell me, do you think of yourself as a preemie?

Not really.  Well I mean, sometimes, like when I’m not good in math, or something else, like if I drink my water weirdly, like Tucker says I do, I wonder if other preemies do that?  That’s how my mind works…I compare myself to other people and wonder about how other people do things.

Do you ever tell people you were a preemie?

If it comes up.  Sometimes I want people to know.  I mean, like, I don’t say, “Look at these scars on my tummy,” but I want people to know if they’re wondering. Like at the soccer party, when we went in the hot tub, and I was in a bikini and one of the girls asked what happened to my stomach.

What’d you tell her?

Be well,



Dearest Friends,

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, at this point written weeks ago, this fall has been a time of transition for our family.  When we moved to New Hampshire six years ago, we fell in love with a small Waldorf School on top of a hill and knew it was the safe, warm, healing place we’d been seeking for our children.  On top of another nearby hill, we found a 200-year-old house with fireplace hearths and apple trees and stone walls that whispered, “You’re home,” when we walked through the front door.  Others spoke to us of high schools and local school districts, but we loved the Waldorf School and the old house, and besides, high school was forever away.

And then six years passed…

and Tucker was graduating from 8th grade, his last year at Waldorf.  And suddenly the issue of high school and school districts was upon us.  And Tuck fell in love with a school 45 minutes away from our old home on top of the hill.  And I wondered how I’d get him to that new school, and Andie to her 7th grade class in the Waldorf School.

And thus began even more transition.

And we soon discovered that our dear Andie is a child resistant to change, a child who needs an enormous amount of time to process decisions.  Ultimately, she chose to move to the school where her brother had enrolled, but it was a spring and summer full of tears and great angst.  And as much as Lee and I knew that new school was a wonderful fit for her, the frequent nights she cried herself to sleep left us lying in bed, wide-eyed, questioning our decision.

And now here we are, a month into the new school year, with all those questions behind us, knowing that both children are exactly where they’re meant to be, broadening and thriving in their new school.

And I finally let out an enormous exhale, only to find that I’m absolutely wrung dry.

And all I want is for all of this change to be over and behind us.

“I think we’re passed the transition phase,” I said to Lee last week.  “That we’ve got this all figured out.”  Because that’s what I do – jump in with both feet, give it everything I’ve got and aim for the finish line.  Only once again, I’ve come to find out that the finish line doesn’t exist.

That transition is perpetual.

transition – the process or period of changing from one state or condition to another.

And isn’t that just what we’re constantly doing “changing from one state or condition to another” in each and every moment of everyday?

Walking through the woods this past weekend, thinking about transition and where I am in my life right now, the same question kept running through my mind… What’s next?…  What’s next?… What’s next?  I walked in rhythm to that chant until I hardly recognized it was there. I walked on until I emerged from the woods and saw a friend out in her garden.  I sat down on her stonewall and found my chant spilling out into formed words.  “I don’t know what’s next,” I told her, explaining how straight out of college I’d started teaching in Boston.  How just months after Tucker’s birth I’d started after-school creative writing workshops, and how upon moving to New Hampshire, I’d thrown myself into the process of writing, publishing and promoting a book.  And now, I had no idea what was next.

Picking up a few of the hydrangea she’d just cut, my friend paused.  “I guess I’m using this time in my life to refill my well,” she said.  Her words seemed to float in the air, enveloping me in their simplicity.

“You’re allowed to do that?” I asked, both of us laughing and sighing simultaneously.

The rest of my walk home brought a new theme song; the What’s Next song, replaced by the Refilling My Well song.  And that new music washed over me like a joyous symphony.

I’m just discovering what refilling my well looks like, but I’m pretty sure that in between making breakfasts, packing lunches, washing soccer uniforms, gluing letters on poster board projects and driving back and forth to school and soccer games, it involves lots more long walks, yoga classes, hand-written letters to old friends, wandering through garden and vintage shops, meditating on my yoga mat, diving into the stack of books piled on my bedside table and filling the pages of my black and white composition notebooks with new thoughts, stories and observations.  What I also see in that “Refilling My Well Picture” is a more present, centered me, ready to meet and welcome my children back into our home, the place that waits for them as they move further and further out into the world.

This blog has been a place I’ve so loved meeting you every week for the past couple of years, but I feel it’s now time to close my computer for a while and allow those fresh story and writing ideas to emerge as I begin this well-filling process.  I will so miss our connection, but as heavy as my heart feels, I know for now, that this is the right decision.

I’d love to stay in touch and hope we do through my Facebook pages – Kasey Mathews & Preeemie: Love, Life and Motherhood, and there’s also Twitter or you can email me at

Thank you so much for being a part of this journey and allowing me to share in yours.  I am deeply grateful.

With blessings and much love,


“Preemie” Review and Giveaway!

I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many wonderful people through my book and blog!

My latest new friend is Trish, an amazing NICU nurse and creator NICU Central, who recently surprised me with this review of Preemie!  What an honor!  Thank you, Trish!

And if any of you haven’t read Preemie, or would like a copy to give away, make sure you enter the Giveaway!

“Here is one book you will want to read if you have a preemie in your life. Aptly titled Preemie: Love, Life and Motherhood, this story provides a hopeful tale, one of struggling through the pain and fear of delivering a micro preemie  ultimately reaching a place of strength and authenticity, for the mother, the child, and the whole family. It’s a much-needed dose of humor, honesty, and empowerment that I’m sure you will enjoy.

Be prepared to laugh, to cry, and to cheer on this sweet family as they struggle to endure, survive, and thrive…

To read the rest of Trish’s review, please visit NICU Central!

Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway!


I haven’t had much time to write over the past few weeks because this fall the kids have started at a new school.

It’s been a HUGE transition.

When time allows, I want to write more about this change and the process we went through to get to this point, but in the meantime, I watched this Ted Talk during the summer months and showed it to both kids before they began the journey at their new school.

(Click on the photo to watch)

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 2.36.07 PM

Last week, I sat down on the first orientation day at our new school in an auditorium full of visibly nervous students and parents.  When the head of the school stepped to the microphone and began her talk with the words, “You belong here…” a warmth spread across my chest and I relaxed back into my chair, knowing that we were all exactly where we were meant to be.

I hope that your fall is off to a wonderful start and any transitions in your world are going smoothly!

With blessings,