As a mother of two preterm babies I can honestly say having a preemie child you really don’t know exactly what you are in for. Austin was my very first blessing that I was able to successfully carry. We had great difficulty, aided by lots of hormones and steroids and at 33 weeks it hit me, quite literally.
Welcome To The World
My story is very long, I was actually in labor 6 1/2 days before he was born. (yes you did read that right!) Although I will soon share my story in its entirety, he finally arrived on a very stormy night in February. Tornados ripped through the state that evening but for him there was no more waiting, for which I was very thankful.
Austin was born at 34 weeks weighing in at 5lbs 13oz. The staff couldn’t believe how large he was for his gestation. With an apagar score of only a 3 and 5, he was quickly taken away after one brief kiss. After six days in the NICU he was released to us weighing only 4lbs 1 oz. By month four you would have never guessed he was a preemie; he was above the 50% percentile in size. At the age of one, he was in the 90th percentile.
My second sweet blessing was quite a surprise and although her pregnancy had its struggles, we were seeing a specialist that dealt with women with my disorder so it went smoother. I was able to carry Adalynne to right at 36 weeks until my placenta started deteriorating and I was induced. A little over 4 hours later she was delivered. She seemed like such a giant compared to Austin when he came home but she only weighed 6lbs 1oz.
Having dealt with so many initial complications with Austin I thought I was prepared. Thought being the key word! Little did I know that we were in for a very different ride with my Addie. By six months, Addie had a cough that we just couldn’t seem to shake. After a second opinion and x-rays we realized she had pneumonia. This was the first of many visits to the hospital over the next year, 10 visits actually! I would have never guessed my “wimpy white boy” who was termed that in the NICU, would be so resilient but my dear daughter would struggle just to breathe.
The Sad Truth
It is so staggering to know that over a half of a million babies are born each year in the USA premature. Seventy-five percent of all parents can’t even define what the term premature actually means. Let’s face it, no one thinks that it will happen to them. As a result of the lack of knowledge of what exactly prematurity is, very few are prepared with what may be involved in caring for a preemie baby.
When babies are delivered preterm, they have lost that critical time for vital organs and systems to develop. Immune systems and the lungs growth are usually impacted severely. I had the assistance of taking developmental steroids to assist my babies lungs to develop but if you do not realize you may deliver prematurely, you do not have that chance. The sad reality is 79% of all premature babies are hospitalized with a respiratory infection.
RSV is a sad disease with no treatments that plagues infants, especially premature infants. RSV is serious and cause 10 times more death annually than the flu. Knowing what to look for and how to help prevent it are the key. For us, RSV was hard to distinguish from pneumonia. The symptoms include: severe coughing, wheezing or rapid gasping breaths, blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails along with high fever and extreme fatigue.
Since there’s no treatment for RSV, parents should take the following preventive steps to help protect their child:
- Always wash hands, toys, bedding, and play areas frequently.
- Why do adults not use common sense? At this age, the babies always have their hands in their mouths. Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends NOT to touch your babies hands.
- Ensure you, your family, and any visitors in your home wash their hands or use hand sanitizer, even if they are not handling your baby.
- While your babies are young it is always best to avoid large crowds and people who are or have been sick.
- Never let anyone smoke near your baby, INCLUDING MOM and DAD!
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.