Doesn't mean that all the preemie"ness" is gone. Preemie doesn't end at the NICU door, its much deeper then that. Many babies come home on monitors, oxygen, feeding tubes, trachs, medicines and still have plenty of complications; be it reflux, oral aversions, global delays, things much more serious like Hydrocephalus, hearing loss, vision problems including blindness.
Plus let's be realistic...for days, weeks, months a team of highly trained medical professionals have cared for your fragile, precious little one. Now they are trusting you to bring them home and have them thrive! It's terrifying, rewarding and exciting all at once. And lets not forget that sometimes (mom's of multiples) have the challenge of bringing one baby home while one stays behind.
For us we brought Blake home with oxygen (for feeding only) and a monitor (for continuous wear until further notice). While juggling Addison still in the hospital. Then she came home with a G-Tube. It worked out that Blake was coming off of the oxygen and monitor by the time Addison was coming home. I often joked that God knew I could only handle one situation at a time. But in place of Blake's equipment I know had a million and one things for Addison.
Addison is still G-Tube fed now at 20 1/2 months. And she still has some fine motor, and gross motor delays. Blake seems to have overcome most of the obstacles in his way and at 18 months we were blessed to find out that he no longer had any delays and would not longer be needing services and therapies. Some kids face more challenges once they start school or later, will that be Blake or Addison? Only time will tell.
I only know where we stand right now.
Some preemies need a lot more then my two have/or do.
And lets not forget that on top of everything else, a preemie's medical needs are different. Weaker immune systems, higher risk for more infections and hospitalizations. A normal cold, cough or RSV infection can cripple or kill a preemie.
By raising awareness maybe one day we can prevent another preemie being born too soon, and all babies will be born full term.