Every preemie parent has a story. Here at Graham’s Foundation, we’re all about parents supporting parents. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be sharing some of our own team members and volunteers personal prematurity journeys. These are stories of frightening beginnings and incredible triumph. We find so much beauty in each story.
Jessica is one of our preemie parent mentors. Here is her story:
I always say that my pregnancy was super easy, until one day, it wasn’t. At 24 weeks, our diagnosis was IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) from placental insufficiency, which meant my placenta wasn’t giving my baby what was needed in order for him to thrive and grow.
At 29 weeks, the doctors made the call to admit me, and I vividly remember asking the doctor if he still thought we could make it to 37 weeks. His words sent chills down my spine. He said “I’m trying to buy you one week.” I kept thinking that this couldn’t be the way my pregnancy was going to go. Honestly, I felt ashamed. I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong. I blamed myself for it, and I still sometimes wonder if there was anything I could have done differently.
My doctor did buy me exactly one week. My son was delivered via emergency c-section at 30 weeks and weighed in at 2lbs. He would spend the next 130 days in the NICU, which I can only describe as a roller coaster filled with highs and very deep lows. I found my emotions would flip flop day to day depending on the report from the doctor, which caused me to feel like an emotional wreck.
While we rejoiced the day he was discharged, bringing him home had its own challenges as we had oxygen and a feeding tube. There were many tough days. However, as hard as this whole experience was, I have been able to reflect on all of the good that we experienced during and after our stay. The top one being my son who is a fighter and shows more resilience than I can accurately put into words.
While our friends and family were a wonderful support, I found that sometimes I didn’t feel comfortable truly telling them about the storm we were in.
At Graham’s Foundation, our sole purpose is to provide parents with that lifeline. To be the kind and gentle voice that offers support and encouragement in a parent’s most terrifying days. Please help us ensure that parents get the support and resources they need. The NICU is a lonely, frightening place. But it doesn’t always have to be that way.
If you’d like to hear more of Jessica’s story, or connect with her directly, please email Meegan at firstname.lastname@example.org.