Originally Posted by irangel
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.