Preemies are miracles. On average, for every 10 babies born, 1 is born prematurely. I was blessed enough to have 3 preemies. The first was a complete shock. “When is the last time you ate? You’re having a baby ASAP.” After her, we were a bit more prepared for preemie #2. “Your baby doesn’t seem to be growing well, he may have to come early.” Ok. Let’s do this. By #3? We were pros. “She isn’t growing! She’s too small! She’ll have to come out soon!” Yeah, ok. “You seem really calm about this.” Well, this ain’t our first rodeo.
Preemie #1 came into the world at 3 lbs 14 oz. She was born at 35 weeks 3 days, and was severely growth restricted in utero (IUGR). She was a tiny little thing, and thrust us into the world of prematurity and NICUs. We were also in a foreign country, which added an extra challenge to the whole ordeal. Now, she’s 9 years old. She loves to read, craft, and show her creative side to the world.
Preemie #2 was our huge baby. He was born at 35 weeks 5 days and was a whole 4 lbs 3 oz! He didn’t even have to go into the NICU. He did lose weight after birth, as you do, and was not big enough for a car seat when he was released. As a result of that, we had to borrow a car bed, which is what he used for the first 2 or 3 months of his life. Now he’s a rambunctious 7 year old. He loves to move, dance, play, run!
Our 3rd preemie was spunky from the start. She had me admitted to the hospital at 25 weeks because we thought she was coming soon. However, she held on…and on…and on. Like her brother and sister, she was growth restricted and demonstrated a terrible flow through her umbilical cord. After 6 weeks in the hospital, I was allowed to go home, still pregnant! She was born at 35 weeks 1 day and weighed 3 lbs 15 oz. She was known as Feisty before birth, and her NICU nurses completely agreed with the nickname. She was full of life, and wanted things her way. She’s now 3 years old, and still feisty. She’s rough, tough, and opinionated!
Prematurity Awareness Month is in November, every year. For some of us, it is every single day, every single week, every single month. I am reminded often of the effects of prematurity in children. Some were seen immediately after birth, and some took years to appear. Some challenges were outgrown. Some will stick with them for life. The one thing all preemies have in common is the fight, the will, and the fierceness they display. Preemies are miracles, and mine show me that every day of the year.