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Grandparents of Preemies

Meet Gay, Preemie Parent Mentor

My preemie(s) was born at: 26 weeks
Days spent in the NICU: 90
Current age of preemie(s): Almost 5
Parent of Multiples: No
Our NICU Journey included: Supporting other grandparents of preemies, how best to support parents of preemies, pregnancy loss and complications.

I am a parent of two living children plus four children who are in heaven, and grandmother to two little rays of sunshine. My first grandchild, Wilson, was born at 26 weeks, 1 day and 2 lbs, 3 oz., and it was a blow so much like I’d experienced with my own difficult pregnancies and the losses I suffered. To support my son and his wife during my grandson’s 90-day NICU stay, I had to reach very deep. However, without my previous experience dealing with the stress, fear, and grief of complicated birth, pregnancy loss, and the death of an infant it would have been much more difficult for me to really understand what they were experiencing.

Grandparents of preemies need support, too. The moment I saw my first grandchild I was so relieved to see his chest moving that I didn’t register the tubes and wires. I knew then that no matter what, he was coming home. The ups and downs, the scares when he stopped breathing and had to be bagged, all of it was just part of the journey. Everyone said preemies typically come home around their due dates, so I put Wilson’s on my calendar to get me through.

But even with hope, the whole experience is so overwhelming that sometimes you just need someone to listen. As a Graham’s Foundation mentor, I want to be a resource for other grandparents who may feel totally clueless as to how they can help their own children and also be there for their preemie grandchildren. My goal is to give back some of the kindness and care that was given to me when I most needed it.