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Preemie moms.....

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
does it bother you when you hear a mom say her child was a preemie, and they were born at 37+weeks???

I feel irked by it, and tonight was no exception. A lady on another site messaged me from a post of mine on a preemie group. She told me her "Hunter" was also a preemie, being born at 37w5d, and was 7lbs 9oz, and she was saying how she was so thankful he needed no NICU time and went home the next day.

I sent her a polite message telling her, that I am glad to hear she had a "full term" healthy baby, but that being born at almost 38 weeks doesnt make her baby a preemie.

She messaged me back and said "Well my Dr said he was!" :

It just bothers me for some reason.......I never really realized it til now though.
post #2 of 57
Yeah it bothers me. 37w and onward is full term and I have no idea why her doctor would tell her otherwise.
post #3 of 57
It bothers me too. People use the word to liberally which I think feeds into the idea that a preemie is just a "normal" baby who was born a little small and a little early.
post #4 of 57
I have more of the flip side. People tell me that my daughter being born at 34weeks "isn't that bad" and "5lbs is a good weight!" : Yes she might not have been as small and fragile as some of the 1 and 2 and 3lbers but she was very sick and to be honest, any time early is bad. ANY amt. She still could not eat on her own and maintain her temp safely. She had apnea episodes lasting at least until 6 months old. How is that "not that bad?":
post #5 of 57
Isn't anything after 37 weeks considered full term? That's always what I've been told.

Anyway, I would be a little annoyed at a 37w5d big baby with no NICU time or health issues being called a preemie. But, a 37w5d babe who spent time in NICu or had typical preemie issues, then I'd be okay with them being called a preemie (does that make me a total hypocrite?)

FWIW, I've been on the flip side as well and told by another NICu mama that my 34 weeker wasn't *really* a preemie because he only spent a week in the NICU.
post #6 of 57
It bugs me too. On another board I'm on there was a mom asking if there were other preemie moms there. Probably 3/4 of the people that responded had 36.5 plus weekers that spent no time in the NICU. I guess 36 weeks is technically preemie but I think that shows how liberally the term preemie is used. On the flip side I'd consider most any baby that had to spend time in NICU a preemie regardless of gestation. IUGR babies come to mind.
post #7 of 57
Well my twins were 36 weekers but they didn't come out as 36 weekers. They acted more like babies born at 30-32 weeks. I called them preemie and still do sometimes. They spent time in the nicu.

My oldest was born at 38 weeks and came out acting like a 33-34 weeker. So he really isn't a preemie although he acted like one. He spent time in the nicu.

But I'm with you. If the child was born at almost 38 weeks and was healthy I don't get the calling the child preemie.
post #8 of 57
yes- it bothers me, too... and i think it's because w/ the experiences i've had people try to act like they've "been there".. and i think trying to relate a 10 day nicu stay at your local hospital is a little different than two months in another state. or people who talk about the problems their preemie had like eczema & cradle cap.. :

ita w/ pps about gestational age though. i don't think it's an exact science so i think it depends on how the baby fared more than exactly when they were born..
post #9 of 57
Clinically speaking a 37 week baby IS NOT a preemie. Hence all out of hospital birthing facilities still allow mamas to give birth at the birth center once they reach that mark. Sometimes a 37+ weeker will act like a preemie or even have preemie like issues, but its pretty rare. The doctor was probably using that as his excuse for some intervention that was his preference rather than a true need of that baby. Sadly that is all too common. Just like the women who say to me, "I needed a cesarean because my baby had its cord around its neck and it would have DIED." I try not to laugh because I have attended numerous homebirths where the baby had the cord once or even twice around. But, there doctor said" thank goodness we did that cesarean because the cord was around the neck" and then it becomes gospel that their baby was near death from a common variation of birth.

And yes that would annoy me no end because that woman has no idea of the trauma, fear and true medical issues we all have faced with true preemies and NICU stays. But, I tend to be fairly judgemental, I have to admit. I get really annoyed by women comparing their 7 week miscarriage loss to me birthing and holding my youngest child while she took three hours to die in my arms. Yeah, you had a loss, but call me when you feel your baby go white and cold in your arms and you have to pick out her casket, arrange her funeral and pick out her headstone...:
post #10 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by justmama View Post
I have more of the flip side. People tell me that my daughter being born at 34weeks "isn't that bad" and "5lbs is a good weight!" : Yes she might not have been as small and fragile as some of the 1 and 2 and 3lbers but she was very sick and to be honest, any time early is bad. ANY amt. She still could not eat on her own and maintain her temp safely. She had apnea episodes lasting at least until 6 months old. How is that "not that bad?":
I can understand why someone would make a comment like that when in comparison their child had spent months in a life or death situation.
post #11 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by irangel View Post
As one of those mothers who would tell you "34wks is great", I will justify that statement by saying a baby born at 32-36wks is most likely going to be a feeder grower. They are as you said going to be unable to maintain temperature and eat. They may need a whif of oxygen for a brief period but most likely no intubation. It is by far different from having a full term baby but in terms of preemies, "it's great". Despite what you as a mother may feel, the doctors would say your baby is not in a life or death situation. Your baby will live. That's a known fact from day one (obviously there are exceptions to this but I'm speaking in general terms). Your baby will be in the NICU for a couple of weeks, which while torture, is still not bad at all. You will be able to bottle feed/most likely nurse your baby within a matter of hours to days.

Compare that to a baby born below 28wks. There are no guarantees that a baby of that gestation will live. They are not only unable to control their temperature and eat but also unable to breathe without significant life support. They face death's door on many occasions and end up spending months in the NICU. They have multiple blood transfusions, normally at least one surgery if not more just to help keep them alive or prevent them from going blind. They face life long struggles. Eating is not something that comes natural for them. It's not uncommon for one of them to go home with a feeding tube.

All that is to say, that I take offense when someone with a feeder grower tells me they know what it's like to have a baby in the NICU. I literally want to laugh out loud at the thought that their 4lb baby was anything like my 1lb baby. It's insulting to even compare the two. They're both horrible circumstances in their own right but completely different and so yes, having a 34wkr who's 5lbs is "great". I can only hope to carry to 30wks + with any future pregnancies. Apnea is a drop in the bucket compared to what parents of micros go through for years after their baby comes home.
Well Said Mama!
post #12 of 57
DD was born at 36 weeks, so I guess technically she was a preemie. But I don't consider her one as she didn't have to be in the NICU. Well, she did have jaundice issues for a few days, but nothing major.

And you know, we all have our own experiences. So, for the mama with the 34 weeker/ 5 pounder with apnea issues it was bad and hard. She hasn't experienced having a 1 or 2 pounder. That's your experience. It doesn't sound like she is trying to say all preemies are equally as sick when born. Just that she doesn't want her experience discounted because her child was 34 weeks. Does that make sense?

My DD was not as sick as some other babies have been. But it was still difficult for me to be in labor at 32 weeks, and be on strict bed rest for a month. And difficult for me to have to be readmitted with DD at 5 days old for jaundice. To have my milk come in with DD in an incubator. For me, that experience was very hard.

But not as hard as some others have experienced. That doesn't discount each of our experiences though.
post #13 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by dani76 View Post
DD was born at 36 weeks, so I guess technically she was a preemie. But I don't consider her one as she didn't have to be in the NICU. Well, she did have jaundice issues for a few days, but nothing major.

And you know, we all have our own experiences. So, for the mama with the 34 weeker/ 5 pounder with apnea issues it was bad and hard. She hasn't experienced having a 1 or 2 pounder. That's your experience. It doesn't sound like she is trying to say all preemies are equally as sick when born. Just that she doesn't want her experience discounted because her child was 34 weeks. Does that make sense?

My DD was not as sick as some other babies have been. But it was still difficult for me to be in labor at 32 weeks, and be on strict bed rest for a month. And difficult for me to have to be readmitted with DD at 5 days old for jaundice. To have my milk come in with DD in an incubator. For me, that experience was very hard.

But not as hard as some others have experienced. That doesn't discount each of our experiences though.
It definitely doesn't discredit anyone's experience simply because someone else has had a harder time. I think it's important though to keep every experience in perspective.
post #14 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by irangel View Post
I think it's important though to keep every experience in perspective and not to whine to someone who had a baby in the NICU for months about your baby who was there for a few weeks.
I agree with this.
post #15 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by irangel View Post
It definitely doesn't discredit anyone's experience simply because someone else has had a harder time. I think it's important though to keep every experience in perspective and not to whine to someone who had a baby in the NICU for months about your baby who was there for a few weeks.

wow, that's harsh. I'll be sure not to whine her about my two sons' NICU stays, even though they were the two most difficult, painful and heartbreaking experiences of my life. But thanks for pointing out that I need to keep that in perspective and not grieve for the rough starts they both had since it could have been so much worse.
post #16 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knittin' in the Shade View Post
wow, that's harsh. I'll be sure not to whine her about my two sons' NICU stays, even though they were the two most difficult, painful and heartbreaking experiences of my life. But thanks for pointing out that I need to keep that in perspective and not grieve for the rough starts they both had since it could have been so much worse.
It's not meant to sound harsh at all. In a forum I expect to here all kinds of stories and in here it is mainly feeder growers. Those are tough experiences for sure. I can definitely relate to the feeling of heartbreak any mother experiences when they're leaving the hospital without their baby whether it's a 37wkr who needs NICU time or a 24wkr. I think grieving for what you lost is definitely a normal process.
post #17 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by irangel View Post
They're both horrible circumstances in their own right but completely different and so yes, having a 34wkr who's 5lbs is "great". I can only hope to carry to 30wks + with any future pregnancies. Apnea is a drop in the bucket compared to what parents of micros go through for years after their baby comes home.
Yep. They are both horrible circumstances. But right now, man, 30-35 weeks sounds GREAT to me! I really think it's all perspective. Just like how someone whose kid is born with diaphragmic hernia (to pick a random condition out of the blue) could (and I know some who have) had an even harder course than, say, my 24 weeker. All perspective.
post #18 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by irangel View Post
It's not meant to sound harsh at all. In a forum I expect to here all kinds of stories and in here it is mainly feeder growers. Those are tough experiences for sure. I can definitely relate to the feeling of heartbreak any mother experiences when they're leaving the hospital without their baby whether it's a 37wkr who needs NICU time or a 24wkr. I think grieving for what you lost is definitely a normal process. But yet I do think it's insensitive of mothers with feeder growers to complain directly to a mother of a micro. Like I said, I don't think the fact that you had a later gestational preemie discredits your experience at all. I think you're reading into my comment a bit. Any time spent in the NICU is absolutely horrible but I still think keeping things in perspective is absolutely crucial.
I had an interesting experience in our NICU. There were a handful of babies there with the same approximate due date- August 21st, or thereabouts. All had been born at different gestational ages, for different reasons. The tiniest was born at 420 grams- her parents had documented evidence that she was 27 weeks, but NICU staff insisted on calling her a 23 weeker because of her size.

The parents were basically the welcome wagon for the NICU. With the incredible issues they were having with their daughter- who had already been there for 2 months when my son was born, due within a day or two of their daughter- they took the time to show the rest of us the ropes, and they took an active interest in all the other kids.

I was so blown away that they were dealing with emergency ROP surgery, but asking us about our son's issues, which were so minor in comparison. The mother told me once that, while it was hard for her to see all the other babies come in, get better, and go home while they waited and waited to be able to even hold their daughter, she continued to see progress, so she was optimistic. I felt stupid even talking about my baby's problems, but they always asked. That couple validated my feelings of fear and sadness about leaving my son in the NICU (even though it was only for 15 days) more than the staff ever did (who, while attentive to a point, clearly weren't worried about my baby).

So yeah, those of us with 32-36 weekers are in a weird spot on the preemie continuum, I think. My babe is huge and looks like a term baby, but has had several non-life-threatening preemie issues, and probably will continue to do so. At 33 weeks, he was gigantic (5 lbs), but- as evidenced by his continual infections- is not in any way as healthy as a full term baby. Is it *as* stressful for me to have to take him to the doctor twice a week and have him crying in pain all the time as it would be for him to be dealing with major heart surgery? Obviously not. But I still can't take him anywhere, and we still can't see our families for the holidays, and I still might lose my job because I have to stay home with him so much. So it's more stressful than having a healthy full-termer, that's for sure.
post #19 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by preemiemamarach View Post
So yeah, those of us with 32-36 weekers are in a weird spot on the preemie continuum, I think. My babe is huge and looks like a term baby, but has had several non-life-threatening preemie issues, and probably will continue to do so. At 33 weeks, he was gigantic (5 lbs), but- as evidenced by his continual infections- is not in any way as healthy as a full term baby. Is it *as* stressful for me to have to take him to the doctor twice a week and have him crying in pain all the time as it would be for him to be dealing with major heart surgery? Obviously not. But I still can't take him anywhere, and we still can't see our families for the holidays, and I still might lose my job because I have to stay home with him so much. So it's more stressful than having a healthy full-termer, that's for sure.
Very well said. They're called preemies for a reason even at 32-36wks. We got to know many people in the NICU over our 8mos stay. Even those born at later gestations are not like a FT baby, especially in terms of immune system. It is hard and I hope no one thinks I'm downplaying the difficulty because that's not my intention at all.
post #20 of 57

Ouch!

Wow, I can't imagine being mad at 32-26 weekers because they are "just feeder/growers". I also think this is so false. Many babies born in those weeks are coming early because they have chromosomal and or structural abnormalities that are life threatening, their mother's body is failing to support them and they have fallen way behind in growth or their brains are at risk, and often they can need risky surgery. Babies in this gestational range are STILL at risk for the dreaded and deadly NEC and other infections. Breastfeeding is NOT as simple as you make it out to be either. I don't even know from your post if I am allowed to think I had it truly rough because according to you only pre-28 weekers do. Since I fell in the 29-31 weeks category you don't mention whether or not I get to think I had it easy or hard:. I could just as easily say you had it easy cause you only had one baby in the NICU and I had two or your baby lived and one of mine died. Very harsh! I don't get 37+ week mamas calling their kids preemie because it is clinically wrong according to all medical definitions but any preemie can have issues and real serious ones at that. As for comparing weeks in the NICU, I found that the first two or three weeks were the worst. You are in an alien and scary place you don't understand with a sick child and feeling trauma and poor health recovering from birth. None of my months in the NICU were fun, but any parent who has been in there long or short gets the sheer terror of those confusing early days. I have found this list to be very helpful to women of all gestational preemie ages and found the parents of babies born before mine at 31 weeks to be as sensitive to the pain of our experience as we were to theirs.
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