Meet Alicia, Preemie Parent Mentor
My preemie(s) was born at: 26 weeks / 36 weeks
Days spent in the NICU: 137
Parent of Multiples: No
Our NICU Journey included:Low birth weight (500 gram & below), IUGR, IVF, pumping, high risk pregnancy, PPD, PTSD, multiple NICU stays, life after NICU, early intervention, Autism Spectrum Disorder, having an older sibling at home.
My micropreemie was born in 2010. I was 26 weeks pregnant, and he was born via emergency c-section. It was a very traumatic birth and NICU stay. He was IUGR and weighed just 13.5 ounces at birth. We spent 137 days in the NICU, and then he had early intervention until he was three. Today at age 7, he is diagnosed on the Autism spectrum and is still receiving therapeutic services through school via an IEP.
My second son was born in 2014 and that pregnancy was very different. I conceived naturally, but I saw a high risk doctor from the start. Was monitored him very closely, and he was born at 36.6 – also IUGR so he was a little over 5 lbs at birth. He needed some breathing and feeding help so he was in the NICU for 10 days. It was a shorter span of time but it was still stressful because I had his brother at home.
I felt very alone during my NICU journey. Because I didn’t feel like I had anyone to reach out to, I isolated myself, and so I am thrilled to become a Graham’s Foundation preemie parent mentor. I want to be that someone people can contact to talk about these experiences. I remember that some days we literally took things minute by minute. We couldn’t even set a long term goal until we overcame so many smaller hurdles. And every step was such a victory and miracle. We cheered every ounce that Sebastian gained every single day. And we still cheer for those milestones!
More Than One Experience with Prematurity
For many parents of preemies early birth is something that simply goes hand-in-hand with having children. Though we don’t understand what causes preterm labor and birth in all cases, we do know that genetics can make some mothers more likely to have preemies than others. Having experienced premature birth one or more times previously means that parents of multiple preemies are already familiar with the ins and outs of the NICU and taking care of a medically fragile baby. However, knowing what can happen is very different than knowing what will happen and so may not be very reassuring. Every preemie’s journey is different.