When I woke up from surgery my nurse said to me “you have one strong little boy”! All I could do was cry. He was 2lbs 8oz. She then went on to tell me that he struggled a bit with no breathing initially but that he did begin breathing and was intubated and was now in the NICU. She showed me his first photos in which he had his arms in the air as if saying “hallelujah”. He was a miracle! He did have some respiratory issues and I won’t inundate you with all of the medical jargon but it was rough.
He and I spent the next 3 months in the NICU! I practically moved in and when I was not there, either my mom or my husband were there. This was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life BUT it was/is well worth it. I often get asked how I made it and what advice I can offer other preemie moms. Well this is what I can tell you.
The first thing is to never compare your child to another. Even when a baby is born term, they are quite different from the baby next door. Just because your child may have been born at the same week gestation as the next, the outcomes will never be the same. While it is good to educate yourself and to see what may be going on, never expect or not expect it to happen to your baby.
Secondly, educate yourself, but do not take it to heart. I remember that every time I read something, I automatically thought that this was what was going on with Sammi. Let the doctors do their jobs but at the same time ask questions! You know your child and if you are like me then you will spend a lot of time in the NICU. While the doctors and nurses are there to make sure that he/she comes out as well as possible, you as the parent see the daily changes that may be so subtle that most may not notice. Bring these instances to the attention of the medical staff. You are your child’s voice and one of his or her only advocates.
Third, keep a log. I kept a log of everything from weight to height to diagnosis to medications! I mean everything. Be consistent and be vigilant. You want something to refer to.
The most important piece of advice that I can give is to have a support system. I do not know what I would have done without my mom, my husband, friends, my colleagues at work, my church family and even some of the nurses in the NICU and Labor and Delivery. They definitely helped me to keep my sanity. I also met other preemie moms that had gone through or were going through the same thing. It helped to talk to someone that actually understood.
Sammi is now 2 and a half years old and is such a joy! He definitely keeps me busy and is a true 2 year old!!! While it was not the most pleasant experience, I have always said that everything happens for a reason and I know that life is very precious and that pregnancy is a gift and a blessing that should not be taken lightly.by