Who is "your" preemie? (daughter, niece, grandchild, friend) & Tell me a little bit about him/her...
"My" preemie is my son, Zach. He was born at 26w3d gestational age for unknown reasons. I was having a picture-perfect pregnancy right up until the point where I walked into the hospital and had a baby. He was born 300 miles from home while I was on a business trip, which made things extra complicated. He spent 70 days in the hospital and turns two in January.
How would you say YOUR experience with this preemie(s) has effected you?
I will never be the same person I was before having my son. I'm a completely different person. I divide my life into my naive pre-Zach life and my more aware post-Zach self. I appreciate him so much more than I would have if he had been born at term, I think. And I have so much more empathy than I did before my son was born.
How were you able to handle the NICU experience?
"You never know how strong you are until you have no other choice." People commented frequently that we (my husband and I) were such strong people for dealing with the NICU experience, but, at the time, it felt like it was the only option. We had to just survive day-to-day.
Before this experience what did you know about preemies?
I had a fair amount of preemie knowledge before Zach was born. I have a friend whose daughter was born at 24 weeks. After struggling through 8 days of life, she passed away. I also have another friend who had a 28-weeker. While the baby was in the hospital for many weeks, he was generally fine in the long run. When Zach was born at 26 weeks (right in the middle of these two preemies), I was very aware that it could really go either way with him. Luckily, he was one of the lucky ones.
What have you learned from all of this?
I've learned how to be a health advocate for my child (and myself). I've learned to have faith in myself. I know that, no matter what happens in the future, I'll be able to get through it.
What advice would you give another person in your situation?
Just take it an hour at a time at first. Then, take it a day at a time. Try not to look too far ahead, and try not to be disappointed by any setbacks. Those things are almost impossible, though. You will look ahead, and you will be disappointed by setbacks. That's okay, too.