My 32-weeker will turn one year old this weekend, and she is amazing! So far, it appears that we have been unbelievably lucky (*still knocking on wood*)--no real issues yet. She was born at 4.2 pounds and is now almost 30 pounds; she is crawling and cruising and even standing alone for seconds at a time now; she calls "MAAAMA" when she wants me; and she has six beautiful teeth. We never were able to get back to exclusively feeding breastmilk after I stupidly stopped pumping at 5 weeks, but she does still nurse frequently. She also loves solid foods and is lately very bored staying home with me all day -- she loves when she gets to go out and play with other kids!
I'm a bit sad, though...re-living a bit of this time last year -- sudden PPROM, steroid shots, NSTs, a fast & beautiful natural birth (!), and then 16 long, frustrating, angry days (including Christmas and New Year's) in the NICU. I'm so grateful we got through it and that she's home with me now. Home, home, home. All I want is my babies home with me!
(4/01, 6/07, & 12/09)
Thank you for asking this. Just today I was talking to a friend of mine, who I actually met on a preemie support group, about how I needed to stay off of said group because I'm finding myself stuck in a lot of fear. While I don't believe it's wise to bury my head in the sand, I believe my daughters are going to be just fine. They are 28 weekers who are now 17 months. The have gross motor delays and they both deal with strabismus (one just had the surgery and her eyes look very aligned now. the other wears cute purple glasses). I like to hear positive stories about preemies. I think you are correct in asserting that parents of preemies who do well don't really tend to post much.
I have three preemies and I dare you to tell me if you could pick them out of a line up! Our biggest concern was our 32 wk who was born at 4lbs 6oz. He had bleeding on his brain, which I know is common in preemies, but it still scared us! He only stayed in the NICU for 14 days and was doing really well until he started having stomach problems. He wasn't able to eat solid food of any kind until almost 14mo. and we were sure we would have all kinds of problems, but they just went away one day. Now he eats EVERYTHING he can get his hands on, has no developmental delays and is a giant. People keep telling us the same thing, like they think it's wrong for us to "forget" that he was preemie.
Our daughter was born at 34wks and spent only 10 days in the NICU and now is 20mo but looks like a 12 month old. We think her issues with her metabolism and gaining weight are more hereditary than having anything to do with prematurity. I have the same problem. I CANNOT put on weight. Our 35wk son came out just fine and we took him home the next day. He's gigantic even though he was small at birth and he never had any preemie issues.
I easily tend to "forget" that I have preemies and get a lot of crap for that, but I look at it as a blessing. There could be so many problems, and I know some moms do have problems, but we've been blessed and DON'T... so I don't want to be made to feel guilty or scared, just waiting for problems to come along...
I'm so glad you asked this! I've loved reading about everyone else's happy preemies!
"I don't want to think that some major issue could be lurking around the corner, but if it happens, it happens. I just don't want to waste precious time worrying about it now." (from original post)
Love this! Live day to day. Enjoy what is now. No time to worry or think negatively.
My first was a preemie. She will be 7 in a week. Aside from being a picky eater, (however, isn't every child picky in some way?!), no one would know she was ever born early. Sure, we had our share of ups and downs, illnesses, sensitivities, in her early childhood, BUT...... she grew out of it!!! There is a light at the end of the tunnel, for sure! Besides, rough times only makes you stronger!
Peace to you all~
My thirty-two week twins are seven years old and have never had a single problem since they came home from the hospital.
I have a 30 week preemie. She was delivered by c section due to pre eclampsia.
She was in a terrible way when she was born, she did not breathe alone for 10 days, she had sleep apnea, lots of steroids, nasal cpap, a terrible hernia, and appalling millia on her face.
She is now eight. The millia DID scar her face, but not so badly that you can really see unless you really look closely, the hernia did need mending and she does have mild athma.
She is however, far from disabled. She is healthy now, tall, very bright and very clever. She has no nerve damage on her left side, which was feared when she was young. The minor issues have resolved. So, even if you do have problems, they can be overcome.
DD was born at 34 weeks and is now 6 1/2. I doubt anyone would be able to tell she was early now. She's always been on the skinny side, bearly 15lb at a year old but then so were my younger brothers so I think that's mostly a family thing.
Probably the biggest long term impact is that she ended up being born before the cut off date for starting school, and so is the youngest in her year when we were expecting her to be among the oldest. I'm sure it will even out in time but at this age a years age difference still seems like quite a lot.
my former 33+6 is turning 4 in april. he took a long time to learn to walk and talk - 19.5mths for walking (18mths adjusted) and didn't have a language explosion until close to 3. but just shy of 4 he can read and say his letters and numbers (to 20) in english/french/spanish, spell several words, and can figure out some words with phonetics. so he definitely caught up and then some. he is very loving and empathetic. he is of average height and has a pretty robust immune system.
i am so grateful that his birth didn't dictate how things are now. i worried for a while but learned many lessons in patience and gratitude along the way.
mama to callum (april 8,07) and everett (sept 24,09) - blessed to be married to my life's love since '98.
I'm not a parent of a preemie but I was a preemie. I was born 5 weeks early due to complications and was 3lbs 1/2oz. I spent 3 1/2 weeks in the NICU.
The only problems I've had (I'm 22 now) is that I have glasses but that's genetics, my mother had eye problems too. I had to have my tonsils out when I was 8 but that's about it. Actually I was a very healthy kid. I rarely got sick and I never even got the chicken pox, even when my mother made me play with a few of my friends who had it.
I just wanted to let you know that some of us preemies may have gotten a bad start but end up healthy adults.
I have 13 month old 31-weekers. They had typical preemie issues at birth (lung prematurity, enlarged ventricles, brain bleeds). They have gross motor delays and are between 60-70% of their corrected age. Language development is at 90-100% of chronological age....so technically they are ahead. Yeah, they may have some delays, but they're doing great! They are growing so well and know several words and signs and can use them in perfect context. They connect me singing the birthday song from Sprout with that clucking chicken and whenever we sing it, they look towards their board (we have a bulletin board with pictures of things we do for the day...we're incorporating that into learning signs) and usually look towards the TV where they watch Sprout while I get showered. They even understand the meaning of a few basic things like "No" and "dance". They even can do the sign for diaper when they need to be changed. They've both started recently commando crawling. It was scary, but I think the thing that prolly got to me was when people started saying my kids were "special". I mean I know we have special considerations with them, but I treat them just like they were term babies. They're awesome to go out and do things with, and I love seeing them experience new things. The petting zoo was a riot. They thought everything was "doggy". I delight in the joys and blow off the silly people. I'm sorry people were/are so ignorant to you. Not every kid is going to have issue when they're older.
My 31 weeker turned 3 last week. You'd never know now that he was a preemie! He is the healthiest kid I know, and hasn't had so much as a cold for well over a year. During his first two years he had a handful of colds, one bout of croup, and a couple viral things that caused him to get a fever a few times. Nothing out of the ordinary. He qualified for Synagis his first fall, and we did do the shots. He has always been on the smaller side, but that likely has just as much to do with genetics as it does his prematurity. He received Early Intervention services until his third birthday, but there were no huge issues they were ever worried about. One year ago, we had a speech consult done, as he wasn't usually putting two words together, but it was determined that he didn't need more therapy. Now he is a super chatterbox, working on articulation so that everyone can understand the millions of things he has to say!
In the NICU he struggled with typical things: jaundice (also due to ABO incompatibility), O2 supplementation, difficulty with feeding, etc. It was a challenge to get breastfeeding going smoothly, and we relied on a nipple shield and bottles of fortified pumped milk for a while. But, we eventually got it, and my son nursed for almost 3 years (we stopped a few months ago, since it was too painful for me to continue during my pregnancy).
He is right on, if not ahead of the curve, with cognitive development. He knows lots of colors, all the letters, numbers through 30, and is a puzzle fiend. I think he will enjoy preschool when it begins next fall. He is a busy dude, and has great fine and gross motor skills.
It was so easy to worry about the what-if's when he was younger. But my sweet guy is proof that being born prematurely doesn't always guarantee that long term problems will arise. I was grateful to have the services we did (Early Intervention, speech therapists, lactation help, etc), so that I always had someone to turn to when I had questions or concerns. I would always recommend that any preemie parent take advantage of all the services available to them, if not for more than reassurance that all is well.
OB RN, partner to and mama to (2008, 31 weeker) and (2011)
Our 6.5-year old DD was a 29.5-weeker who weighed 2lbs 2oz. Other than the mild flare-ups with colds and needing a few nebulizer treatments here and there, we've been really lucky since infancy. Around preschool age, we noticed she would be out of breath after a lot of active play, so she was on Singulair for a while. Now, she's off of it and seems to be fine. The ped said he felt confident that she had outgrown or is outgrowing any asthma-like issues from preemie lungs. She's only returned to physical therapy when she was 4 turning 5, because of heel-cord tightness, general coordination, and balance, but that only lasted a few months. Now she can Irish dance with the best of them!
Wendy - aspiring Waldorf handwork teacher, computer geek's wife ,
mom to former 2lb preemie (now 9) & 3x
Celebrate all those milestones that you pass. If something happens in the future handle it. Its better, at least in my opinion, to just let things happen. Yes, try to prevent them, but dont worry too much about it. Worrying takes too much energy, specially if its about something that you cant change.
My two year old was born at 25wks prematurity due to my being in a car accident then. Jacob was barely one pound when he was born and had to have three surgeries to repair heart and lung problems, he spent 125days in the nicu, had five different infections and his lungs collapsed twice. He was sent home on a heart monitor and meds.
He is now two, almost three years old, and happy healthy and VERY active. he does have a speech delay but im worrking with him on that. I am thankful for every milestone he has passed, and for the many more he will.
My five year old twins- Mike and Peter- were also born prematurely, at 30wks. Mike weighed 3.5lbs and Peter weighed 3lbs exactly.....they spent five weeks in the nicu. Mike had to have one surgery to repair a heart murmur and Peter was found to be blind. They are now five years old, and wonderful and active. Peter gets around ok and while i do have to be very watchful with him and with toys on the floor it is wonderfful. Mike has asthma but doesnt let that slow him down.
I wouldnt worry too much about the trials that may or may not lay ahead, enjoy today. Enjoying watching your lil boy grow and become a man.
HI - My preemie was born @ 26 weeks - almost 8 1/2 years ago. So 13 weeks early and weighed 1lb 15 oz..
She was on room air from day one - fed breast milk from day one. Kangaroo holding. etc..
NO vaccinations. After 4 months or so struggling to breastfeed - while pumping - she finally caught on and nursed then until 26 months.
She moved "up the ranks" at the hospital and was released after only 9 weeks in the NICU. She is 100% normal.
She's a bit more outgoing and outspoken than my first - but that's her personality - not preemie related.
We had a relatively smooth uneventful babyhood. toddler hood and now child hood.. :)
The only thing that we've come across learning wise - is that she's having a harder time learning how to read than her older sister.
Now- that may or may not have anything to do with her being premature - I really think that just who she is and we would've had a hard time even if she'd been full term.
She's taller at age 8 than her sister was (sister is 13)... No physical or other problems. Hearing and eyesight are just fine.
No food allergies. She does seem to get more chest colds than her older sister but she seems to be even growing out of that - but that's about it. -
I too, was on preemie lists when she was much, much smaller and always felt bad that J didn't have any of the health issues that other babies had. No rsv, muscle issues etc.
And she was born a lot earlier than a lot of them also.. So I did leave them.
Hope that helps a bit :)
My best friend's daughter was born 10 weeks premature. She was just over 2 pounds, it took them more than half an hour to stabilize her, she needed a blood transfusion at a day old, she had jaundice, she contracted a massive infection in the NICU from her pic line and had issues breathing for 5 of the 8 weeks that she was in the hospital.
She is now 15 months old and the worst thing that has happened was a sudden onset chest cold last winter, which the hospital treated within ten minutes of them arriving in emergency with her, and she hasn't been sick since. She's even starting to eat textured foods! And her occupational therapist is floored with how much stuff she is doing by herself that they don't expect her to do until she's at least two. They expect that she will likely end up with asthma, since her lungs are badly scarred from the six intubation attempts, but both her parents have asthma, so she likely wasn't going to avoid that anyhow.
It makes me mad that people can be so incredibly negative at a time when it is so important that you stay positive. You can overcome any issues that crop up, because that's what has to be done. But to sit and worry and fret constantly about all the things that COULD happen means you miss out on all the positive, and I feel bad for preemie parents that look at life like that :(
My DD1 was a micro-preemie, 26 weeks...she was in the NICU for a month and a half, and now you'd never guess she had such a rough start! She's quite small, but so am I, and so's my DD2, so that's a genetic thing. She has pretty bad preemie teeth, though. She also has a balanced translocation, but that runs in our family, though DD2 doesn't have it...I theorize the translocation might be why she was born early-my brother with an unbalanced translocation who died at 5 years old was born at 32 weeks...hm.
mother to micro-preemie DD1 and 2E PG DD2. Stepmother to trans DSD. Owned by a! Pregnant and due 6th June '12.
We were heaped with negativity at every turn. My daughter was born about 33 weeks, PPROM, likely due to lead exposure.
I was told by the NICU staff to give up breastfeeding, because it was stressing me out, causing me pain, and EBF preemies don't exist. I proved them wrong! Still nursing my 3yo!
I was told by her first ped that she would likely have neurological problems. She had an abnormally large, exponentially growing head. At 3, she wears a bigger hat than the average kid her age.
Oh, and her eyes looked cross-eyed and we had several appointments with an eye doctor. Nope, just the way her face is shaped. Her eyes corrected themselves. If she ends up legally blind without corrective lenses before age 7, we have her dad's genetics to blame, not her prematurity.
Several medical professionals told us she may never walk. About the only thing she can't do yet that most three year olds can, is pedal a tricycle. She needs a bit of extra supervision on a playground, but nothing otherwise would even hint at preemie.
She was at very high risk for autism or MR, given the lead exposure, prematurity, some labor complications, etc. She is a social butterfly who is already reading very simple easy reader books.
About the only way you can tell she was a preemie? The little chicken legs! She is about the size of the average kid half her age.
I feel very blessed that my daughter did not have any lifelong complications from her early birth.
I'm not a parent of an older preemie ... but a child of one. My dad, back, in 1946, was born at about 31 weeks at just over 4lbs. He was in the hospital for several weeks, was formula fed, and eventually came home close to his original due date. He grew up to be valedictorian of his private high school, and a doctor who went to med school on a scholarship. And a parent of 5 children. My grandmother actually had a total of 4 preemies, only 1 full-term baby, but my dad was the "preemiest".
I know this isn't the first-hand experience you were asking for, but I thought it might be helpful. Best to you and your child!