Thursday, April 7, 2011

What it's like to have a preemie

Most people look at my 2.5-year old and don't think anything of the fact that he is running around, jumping and screaming colors at people. I have a cousin who totally laughed at me for calling Squirty a "special needs" child. Those people didn't have a child who was a preemie.

At 33-weeks, my OB called to tell me I had developed HELLP syndrome. The magnesium sulfate I was given prior to my c-section and for 24 hours after, made the birth experience a total blur. Unlike most new moms, I didn't really get to see my child. It was "here he is" and he was whisked off to the NICU in spite of an APGAR of 9. He was in the NICU for 13 days. In the time, he was transferred hospitals twice. We were blessed with a short stay, though.

Then, he came home... If I thought the NICU was scary, I had no idea that all the extra doctors' appointments for having a baby that weighed 4 pounds would be terrifying. Squirty had a heart murmur and brain hemorrhage. Those required several appointment with cardiologist and neurologists. Our insurance company denied him the RSV vaccination because he was born at 33-weeks, not 32-weeks. I was scared to go anywhere. I barely left the house that winter.

Of course, there is the reflux... Yes, I know full-term babies get it, too. When your 6-lb 2 month old is throwing up on you after every feeding, you panic... This required constant doctors' appointments to get the dosage of medicine right and my baby to sleep in a car seat. Unfortunately, I think it cause some of his gross motor delays.

At 9-months, he wasn't crawling or sitting up on his own, so we we had a physical therapist come to our house. He did walk basically on-time at 14-months. He was classified as normal at 15-months as he was doing everything he should and was on all 3 growth charts.

He is 2.5, now. We are dealing with the terrible twos just like any other mom of a 2-year old. I will always see him as that tiny baby in the NICU attached to monitors with tubes everywhere. He may not currently have any special needs, but the ones we had in the beginning were very draining on me.


  1. I totally understand where u are coming from here! I too did not get to hold my first baby immediately after birth. I too spent 2 weeks visiting my first baby at the NICU for 2 weeks, and obsessively worried about that 5lb baby with reflux that wouldnt nurse from me, and spit up half his bottles of formula....

    Kal did not have any problems like aheart murmur or brain hemmorage or anything, but I still had someone coming to the house on occasion checkin up on his development. It got to the point though where he was meeting all of the expectations and they left me alone.... lol.

    Even the pediatrician treated him like a regular full term infant tho... At his 15 month he wasnt saying a whole lot but he WAS talking. Because he was not saying the 15 or more words that he SHOULD have been at 15 months, my pedi made me feel about the size of an ant in my parenting skills (as if I never talked to him or read to him and THAT was why he wasnt talking much, not that he was born almost 2 months early). His GROSS motor skills were never really delayed by that much, just the language took closer to 18-24 months to start kicking in.

    NOW though, he speaks in FULL sentences, recognizes colors, most of his letters and even some numbers, and can count to 20. No one would even suspect that he was born 6 weeks too soon.

  2. thank you for sharing, Alyssa! Archer's stay was much more brief than either Squirty's or Kal's but still terrifying for me. I tend to worry much more about him because of it, even though he was full term.