Meet Sophia and her mommy, Rachel...
Who is your preemie? Tell me a little bit about him/her...
My preemie is my amazing daughter. I was put on strict hospital bed rest at 27 weeks. She was born at 28 weeks, 6 days weighing 3 pounds, 3 ounces and 15 1/8 inches long. She was on a ventilator for 24 hours and nasal cannula for 1 week. She was born with a deadly bacterial infection, PDA heart condition, grade 1 brain bleed, and jaundice. She stayed in the NICU for 6 weeks. She is currently a healthy 18 month old, weighing 22 pounds and 30 3/4'' tall.
How would you say your experience has effected you?
Becoming a Preemie mom forever changed my life. I cherish and celebrate each and every little milestone. I feel much more educated on areas of development. I have a passion for educating others about the risks and effects of premature births. The experience has made me question her development more. I have been more cautious about the exposure to germs and other children.
How were you able to handle the NICU experience?
The NICU was a roller coaster. There were days of pure terror and days of amazing joy. There were so many questions and concerns. I relied heavily on the love and support of my family to get through the many weeks of bedside care. Many days I simply say by her beside and prayed. I am grateful for the nurses who were encouraging and helped me care for my tiny little one.
Before this experience what did you know about preemies?
I had worked in and around the children's hospital for many years. I had always seen the stories on the Children's Miracle Network and had met the parents of preemies, but it doesn't even come close comparing what it was really like to become one of the those parents. To see my baby so tiny and so fragile.
What have you learned from all of this?
I have learned so many things after becoming a Preemie Mommy. I have learned that BIG Miracles come in Small Packages. I have learned to celebrate even the smallest of milestones. I have learned that not everyone understands what it's like to be a Preemie Parent.
What advice would you give another person in your situation?
Take lost of photos, you will cherish them, even the ones with the tubes and wires. Ask lots of questions (you can never ask too many questions). Write down your thoughts and feelings. Keep a journal of your child's weight each day. Write down each new accomplishment and change. Write down what you would want your child to know about their time in the NICU. Get to know your child's nursing staff, they will be the ones that will be encouraging you and teaching you. If something doesn't feel right, say something, you are still your baby's parent. You are your child's biggest advocate!