Friday, November 16, 2012

34 WEEKS My Preemie Story 11/17 World Prematurity Day

It is hard to believe that my energetic almost four year old was once a tiny guy in NICU.  I often think of him as my tough guy for the many struggles he went through those first days of life.  Each day being a new test, and one he would eventually pass.

MY Preemie Story:  I have three beautiful children.  My first child was born at 39 weeks and my 2nd  on his due date at 40 weeks.  So, when we were pregnant with baby #3 I thought it would probably go the same.  Every pregnancy is different they say.  Well I couldn't agree more.  Every appointment went smoothly with baby #3 no blips in the road,  and l I expected us to go full term.  Then at 34 weeks boy did I get a surprise my water broke.  As we drove to the hospital I kept saying no way is this labor it is not time.  My Doctor was on call which immediately eased my worries.  Right up until he said your having a baby tonight not going home.  Well from here let me just say had baby #3 my smallest baby came first there probably would not have been a baby 2 and 3.  Labor did not run smoothly. My water broke my cervix did not dilate and that was only one of the mishaps.  After many hours of labor our sweet boy finally arrived only to be whisked away to NICU .  It was several hours before I could get up and walk to the NICU and that was just agony. I sent my husband to watch over him and  he kept me updated.  You  Mamas know word of mouth just isn't the same as holding this sweet little love bug you've waited so long to meet. 
We were lucky at 34 weeks C. weighed 5 lbs and 8 ounces.  He spent his first eleven days in NICU and they were some of the hardest of my existence.  First, I had never been away from my older two children and I missed them dearly.  My hormones were out of control and everything day there was progress there also seemed like one more milestone we would have to meet before we could go home.

I shed many tears before I got to bring my little boy home. I was really lucky the hospital had room and I was able to stay there the entire time of his stay.  My sweet husband ran back and forth bringing me news of the older kids and food. I had so much support and yet I never felt so alone.  I think J. thought I would suffer a nervous breakdown before we went home. I was on an emotional roller coaster .

NICU nurses are truly angels I think. One night one of my babies sweet nurses totally sat by my side as I tried to feed him and cried.  He did not know how to suck yet and feeding him truly was a challenge.  I was so heartbroken and distraught I could not do the most basic thing feed my child.  That  nurse touched my soul that night as she showed me ways to teach my child to learn how to suck and different positions to try feeding.  She was strong for both of us when all I could do was cry.   There were babies far worse off than mine , moms that had been there many months and for each of them I cried right along with tears of being a failure, overwhelming tiredness, sadness and every emotion you can imagine.  This had happened to me and I was not alone I had help.   Finally, our day came to take that sweet baby boy home. It was a day filled with such joy and also scary.  What if he didn't keep his temperature, what if he quit breathing, what if he got sick he is so small.  What if?

Needless to say after our experience with prematurity it is a cause close to my heart.  Our story ended happily. But there are truly so many stories out there and many end sadly.  We are not alone in what we experienced.  Did you know that worldwide, 13 million babies are born early every year, including more than half a million in the United States? Despite these staggering numbers, many parents still aren’t aware of prematurity—the leading cause of neonatal death.

In fact, a recent survey on prematurity awareness found that 3 in 10 mothers of preemies weren’t aware of the possibility of prematurity until they had their first child. And 75% of parents don’t know the definition of prematurity-- being born at or before 37 weeks gestation age. Given this low awareness, it is clear many parents don’t fully understand the increased risks that come with premature birth – and the specialized health care that preemies often require.

Prematurity disrupts a baby’s development in the womb, often stunting the growth of some of the body’s most critical organs. These babies are at an increased risk of serious medical complications and regularly face weeks or even months in the NICU. This often contributes to mothers feeling powerless, anxious and isolated.

This week On November 17th it is World Prematurity Day.  I'm happy to be one of the bloggers chosen to tell you about the possibility and risks of preterm birth .

Because their immune systems and lungs aren’t fully developed, preemies are more likely to develop infections and are more susceptible to respiratory problems. In fact, 79 percent of preemie moms have a baby who was hospitalized due to a severe respiratory infection. One virus in particular that parents of preemies should know about is respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV. RSV is contracted by nearly all children by the age of two, often causing relatively minor symptoms that mimic the common cold. However, preemies are most at risk for developing much more serious symptoms, including a serious respiratory infection (severe RSV disease) from the virus, because their lungs are underdeveloped and they don’t have the antibodies needed to fight off infection. Below are a few quick facts that all parents should know about RSV:

Below are a few quick facts for all parents about RSV.

RSV Quick Facts
·         RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, and severe RSV disease causes up to 10 times as many infant deaths each year as the flu.
·         RSV is most prevalent during the winter months. The CDC has defined the “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
·         In addition to prematurity, common risk factors include low birth weight, certain lung or heart diseases, a family history of asthma and frequent contact with other children.

Prevention is Key
RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Since there’s no treatment for RSV, parents should take the following preventive steps to help protect their child:
·         Wash hands, toys, bedding, and play areas frequently
·         Ensure you, your family, and any visitors in your home wash their hands or use hand sanitizer
·         Avoid large crowds and people who are or have been sick
·         Never let anyone smoke near your baby
·         Speak with your child’s doctor if he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy may be available

Know the Symptoms
Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
·         Severe coughing,  wheezing or rapid gasping breaths
·         Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
·         High fever and extreme fatigue


To learn more about RSV, visit and for more about the specialized health needs of preterm infants, visit

If you are  a mom of a preemie don't panic. Just take every precaution. It won't be long and you'll have a big boy or girl full of energy and mischief.


I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation."