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Support for Parents of Multiple Preemies

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.

Supporting Preemie Parents in Difficult Times

As we work together through these challenging times, you may have questions about how Graham’s Foundation is supporting our preemie parent community. Fortunately, because our support programs have always been delivered virtually, we are equipped to deliver all of our programs today, tomorrow, and into the future to continue to meet the psychosocial needs of parents.

Our Care Packages offer helpful tips for self-care and navigating the NICU and going home (our supplies have been in stock since before the COVID-19 outbreak), our MyPreemie app provides critical preemie-related information and helps parents journal their NICU experience, and our three dozen trained mentors are available to lend an ear and offer words of advice and encouragement.

In such a difficult time, it is more important than ever that we are here for the most vulnerable members of our community and Graham’s Foundation is ready. We are grateful to our volunteers and the individuals and industry partners who make generous donations that enable us to develop and deliver our support programs.

In Gratitude,

Nicholas Hall, Founder

Graham’s Foundation