Meet Trish, Preemie Parent Mentor
My preemie(s) was born at: 30 weeks 3 days
Days spent in the NICU: 2 months
Current age of preemie(s): 5
Parent of Multiples: Yes
Our NICU Journey included: Preemie Twins, Developmental Delays, Kangaroo Care, Cerebral Palsy, and Raising Preemies with Special Needs.
The premature birth of my twin sons threw me into a whole new world even though I have a nursing background. There I was in a situation I never saw coming. Life blindsided me. Born two months early, my twins were in the NICU for almost two months before coming home and have since been diagnosed with numerous medical and developmental issues that persist to this day. In a way I was lucky – I had spent time with kids with special needs while in nursing school – but nothing can truly prepare you for the experience of raising preemies with physical and intellectual challenges.
I have always been about giving back and advocating – volunteering has always been a passion of mine. My goal as a Parent Mentor is to leave no rock unturned and no one behind. I am still learning new things each and every day. My boys have opened my eyes to so much in this world. Every day is a new learning experience and – for parents of preemies with developmental challenges like us – can be a battle, too.
Developmental Challenges in Preemies
Premature infants and children are more likely to experience developmental challenges than those born at full term. While many preemies do “catch up” a few years after birth, short- and long-term challenges related to premature birth are common. This can be distressing in a parenting culture preoccupied with tracking milestones and what is normal at any given age. Parents of preemies often have to find a new normal that accepts delays and physical, intellectual, and emotional challenges and celebrates the individual instead.