Meet Vonda, Preemie Parent Mentor
My preemie(s) was born at: Both 28 weeks
Days spent in the NICU: 2 1/2 weeks, 2 months for my 18 year old
Current age of preemie(s): 3 and 18
Parent of Multiples: No
Our NICU Journey included: IUGR and Preeclampsia (toxemia), Multiple preemie births.
It was August 31st, 2011 and my husband and I were headed to Akron Children’s Hospital to get a Level 3 ultrasound. Just the day before my doctor noticed that my amniotic fluid was lower than it should have been and suggested we go out of town for the scan: it also appeared I was in the initial stage of both HELLP Syndrome and Pre-Eclampsia. At our appointment we were slightly nervous but confident that everything would be fine – if anything I’d be sent home on bedrest. But the ultrasound showed that there was hardly any amniotic fluid at all. The doctor told us we’d mostly like not be leaving and then she left to contact my doctor. All I could think to myself was “Not again. Not again. This can NOT be happening again.” Fifteen years earlier, I developed Pre-Eclampsia and delivered at 28 weeks, but this time I was confident I’d go full term. I was doing so well and taking blood pressure medication, and I had even gotten a few weeks further along. But my son was born the same day as that scan – and like my daughter, more than a decade before, was born at a far away hospital. As a Graham’s Foundation Parent Resource volunteer, I want to help new preemie parents know that it’s okay to feel cheated, exhausted, anxious and to fear the NICU, even the second time around, but that there is support and encouragement out there. I can also offer insight into the resources available for moms and dad whose babies are in NICUs far from home.
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.
The resources on this page offer parents of preemies who are coping with the affects of premature birth after having had a preemie or preemies in the past a place – or parents anticipating the birth of another preemie – to find support from moms and dads who understand what it’s like to find yourself once again facing an uncertain future for your baby.