Some background: My DS is now 19 months old, and was born at 29w 3d due to severe pre-e. He was just under 2 pounds at birth, but breathed on his own from the start and had no setbacks in his 53-day NICU stay. He just had to grow and learn to eat, and so he did. He's been happy and healthy ever since, and is almost caught up to his actual age developmentally. After 6 months of hard work we were able to transition to exclusive nursing, and he's still nursing. With the exception of some extra doctor's appts for mild (now resolved) ROP, he has had a very normal infancy, with no marks left by his prematurity at all.
Yet. I know it's not over, but I try not to think that way because I just want to be in the moment and enjoy this wonderful time with him. It took us almost 6 years to have him, and then the pregnancy was cut short, and I am so, so grateful for every moment. 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.
And this is the issue that I've been having with preemie communities I've been in. It seems like every time I get in a conversation with someone about how my son is doing, I get a stern reminder that we're not out of the woods yet; that many preemie problems don't pop up until 2, or 3, or 5 -- it's always some age that's just out of reach. It doesn't matter how many of those "milestone" ages we pass; there's always someone waiting to tell me how everything seemed fine until their child turned 3, and now that child has Asberger's, or just got a feeding tube, or still can't speak. Et cetera.
I really want to hear stories about preemies who didn't struggle, whose infancies and toddlerhoods were uneventful, and whose childhoods continued on in that fashion. I hope it isn't insensitive of me to ask for that here, but I'm starting to wonder if it's possible that we will escape this relatively unscathed, or if I am being hopelessly naive to think that my son's prematurity was just an extra-difficult way to come into the world. I tell myself that the parents whose children aren't still struggling with preemie-related issues are not represented in the preemie parenting forums, have moved on to other things, but I have no idea if that is true.
Wife to an amazing man , mommy to 3 wild dudes: ds1 (5/23/05 @ 30 weeks), ds2 (3/5/09) , and ds3 (9/26/10) . Part time librarian, full time mommy, occasional chef and maid.
We really don't have any ongoing issues here. My 5 year olds will start homeschool K this year. My dd is ready but my ds we might hold off on. He has quite a time concentrating for more than a couple minutes. I worry they might want him on medication in a school setting but he should have been born in August which just barely meets the cut off for K here so if we were sending to school I think I'd hold him back. Dd is ready though so that would be a tough decision to make.
My 2.5 year old talks up a storm. She can say sentences that are up to about 5 words in length and has hundreds of words she says. My 5 year old ds I thought may need speech (still kind of do I may get an eval for him) but I don't know if it is just because of prematurity.
The main thing I worry about at this point is my dds ability to have children of their own. And we won't know about that until they are much older.
His full-term 1-year-old brother, though, is currently in PT for a gross motor delay
Bubba (9) Lukey (5) Fat Baby (2) Me
Zephan is just 9 months old, but he is doing very well too. Breastfeeding, growing, etc. He's catching up quickly on his developmental milestones and I'm not worried that we'll be very far behind by his first birthday. I'm guessing that through the winter, he will have more trouble with colds and things.
I was a 34 weeker and other than having very sensitive feet as a child, I don't think there have been any ongoing issues!
I have a 4 year old who was born at 30 weeks. As far as we go, it is so far so good. Now, we are having issues with his teeth and some minor speech stuff related to his prematurity, but my mantra has been "if that's the worst we get out of 10 weeks early, we'll take it!"
I can imagine which forums you are referring to. My disappointment with other preemie forums is what lead me to MDC, as I wanted a "normal" attached relationship with my DD (born at 28 weeks) and this NICU forum was bent toward that. We have followed up with different services pretty regularly and consistently (we just had our last eye appointment for ROP- she was never treated but everyone wanted to see her "just one more time"). We followed up with the developmental pedi and early intervention in our city until she turned three.
I try to remember than many things can contribute to any difficulty at any time. How will you know something is related to being a preemie? If my DD was "destined" to have a certain IQ, and because she was born nearly an entire trimester early, she takes a hit of 5 points, seriously, is that all there is to worry about? For the record, DD is amazingly physical and coordinated, although she decided not to ever crawl. She didn't really talk until 15 months actual age, and she still struggles with pottying. Are any of these realted to prematurity? Who knows? Am I grateful for her every day? Yep. Do I rail NICU moms for being grateful their kids are healthy? No- people who do have some problems to work out of their own... One of my online NICU mom friends (who incidently left a certain preemie website for the reasons you're unhappy about) has a former 23 weeker who is 5 years. She is a little short and wears glasses. Otherwise normal. Another mom I know of had a "healthy" 32 weeker who died at 15 months because of Reactive airway disease.
In addition, I think htere is a yahoo group for parents of healthy preemies, but no one tends to write on it. Another popular preemie group has hundreds of entries a day, and it's really heavy on the doom and gloom. I got something out of both of them at different times in our journey.
Boy this is long- what was your question?
Hope that helps.
She doesn't get sick any more often than her peers. She mastered her physical milestones within time. She is taller than average. She eats a variety of foods. She can run, climb, ride a tricycle, etc. She has some learning differences especially with focus and distractability but we got help through Early Intervention and now through the school system. She's making steady gains and doing well. She speaks in full sentences. She likes to have books read to her. She likes exploring and going to preschool. On a recent standardized test, she scored academically and cognitively ahead of her actual age.
I think DD will be fine when all is said and done.
The only thing that people (doctors) still comment on is that she is very small for her age. Not off the chart small, but small. Her 8 year old brother is bigger than she is. However, I don't think this has a darn thing to do with being premature, she was just meant to be a small person!
Honestly, I don't think that anyone who didn't know she was a preemie would ever guess she was.
Scored a 1 on her apgar, was blue and listless.
She will be 4 on Sept 12th. She has hypertonia(mild) which she has had since birth and mild ASD ( This has nothing to do with being a preemie, its genetic at our house)
Other then that it has been uneventful. Oh! She does have "weak teeth" so needed some crowns at her appt. I guess this is common with preemies.
I also have a 34 weeker that was 4lbs 6 oz. He will be 16 in Jan. Other then the girls driving me crazy looking for him, he is a "normal" teenager. It did take for him to catch up on his milestones til he was almost 2, but after that nada problems.
Dont let other peoples stories or "predictions" worry you, we are all on our own journey
My cousin had boy/girl twins that were born at 1lb and 1.5 lbs. Her DD is almost 9 and ZERO problems. Her brother wasnt as "lucky" but all his problems were evident at birth or shortly thereafter.
Waldorf Mom to 9 blessings ~6 by birth and 3 by fost/adopt~
Waldorf Mom to 9 blessings ~6 by birth and 3 by fost/adopt~
Leslie, Mommy to DS(8) and DD(almost 6) :
He's now two years old and things are going GREAT! He's a bit small and has preemie teeth, but he's absolutely fine in all the other areas. He has the speech patterns of a much older child and an amazing sense of humor. He rarely gets sick (knock on wood). The whole experience left a lasting impression on us, but it made us the family we are today.
My 33weeker(4lbs 12oz) is 19months and a ginormous 26lbs of chubbiness and walking and talking in 2 and 3 word phrases. She also has been plagued by illness since birth and we struggle with colds going to her lungs constantly and very high fevers whenever she's sick(ie, 104.5 axillary on average) despite breathing on her own from day 1. But developmentally she's right on target and above average in height and weight. We will see what the next few years bring but other than struggling to keep her healthy and free of fevers and breathing treatments, she's perfect. Given her size, you would never know this kid was almost 2 months premature.
She was behind in milestones for her first yr. She couldn't roll over very well or sit up but at about 11 mos she suddenly snapped into motion! She HAD to see what her siblings were doing and nothing was going to stop her At 13 mos she was walking and she hasn't stopped since! She is as bright as a button, happy and always in motion. I haven't taken her to a Dr (touch wood) since she was 2 and she hasn't been sick at all. She is social, eats well and is of a good size....good height but slim. I don't think there's any sign (besides scars on her wrists and arms) to indicate that she came into this world so early or tiny!
I think there are quite a few stories like ours but maybe you don't hear about them as much because those aren't the families who need support/advice w/preemie issues?
He started talking early and hasn't stopped! He is in preschool and loves it. His vision is excellent and he's very observant. He has a crazy good memory that kind of freaks me out sometimes, LOL. At 4 years old, he's at the 25th percentile for height and weight. People can't believe he was a preemie. He's had his share of colds and a couple of stomach viruses, but overall he's extremely healthy.
He wouldn't potty-train until this summer (!), but he's a strong-willed child, so it wasn't surprising.
I don't think even full-term healthy babies are "out of the woods" at any certain age moreso than preemies.
Becky, sahm to 25/04/2000 Chloe 12/04/2002 Cameron 19/02/2004 Caitlin 28/06/2005 24/07/2006 and Caden 14/03/2008
19.05.2012 18.08.2012 24.05.2013 25.6.2013 04.09.2014
My younger daughter was a 33 weeker and spent just over 3 weeks in the NICU, mostly as a feeder/grower. She'll be 5 in December and although small for her age (but my family is mostly small, and I'm 5' tall and around 100 pounds) she is doing great.
Developmentally I think she is amazing. She's learning to read right now and is extremely verbal. She doesn't have any physical or other delays that we can see, although it took her a really long time to learn to walk and her handwriting is really messy so I sometimes wonder about her fine motor skills. She's very cheerful and social, and a really fun kid to be around.
When she was discharged, we were told she had a 75% chance of eventually (by school age) developing developmental delays, learning disabilities, or low IQ, owing to her intrauterine environment. I admit I spent several years hyperanalyzing everything she did, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
By the time she was about 4, I relaxed.
She is now almost 8 years old. She is the tallest child in her 2nd-grade class. She is in the gifted program at school. She is almost enever sick. She is healthy, happy, outgoing, and wonderful. I almost never think about her being a preemie anymore, rather than it being constantly in the back of my mind. I wish every day that I could have seen how she would turn out back when I was on hospital bedrest. I would have saved myself a great deal of anguish .
Anyway, DS had a moderate expressive speech delay which with the help of speech therapy was resolved just before age 5. He is still in speech therapy for articulation issues, but my full term neice is in speech therapy for the same reasons. So is his articulation related to his prematurity?? No so sure when I see the same thing with my neice.
DD has had a few more on going issues. She had low muscle tone for awhile, therapy took care of that. She was "late" to walk, but could climb mountains (I swear if given a chance) at 13 months. She has feeding issues and was in feeding therapy for a year (undiagnosed reflux, and swallow issues that were related to having the og/ng tube for 11 weeks) Therapy was a great sucess and she is now eating whatever you give her. Her favorites now include sashimi, squid salad, mussels, mushrooms, shrimp, and cavier. She supposedly was speech delayed.. wow she caught up 6+ months of being behind in less then a month... Don't think she was as delayed as they said she was.
She is small (around 10% for height and weight).. well guess what she was small when I was pregnant with her and she is small now. I think had she been full term she would have been small.
The worse thing that we are dealing with is awful preemie teeth. She has had 7 baby root canals, 7 silver caps, 1 with a procelin crown, and about a dozen fillings.
We are still dealing (and most likely always will be dealing) with reflux. But if these are the only issues that we are dealing with I am so lucky compared to what could have happened to them.
Yes I still worry about them, and I am worried about learning disabilities, but I no longer let things like that control my life with them.
Hope that makes sense. I'm sure there are TONS of preemies that do just fine. You just may not necessarily see them in the support groups.
My best friend had a 32 week daughter who spent 4 weeks in the NICU. She is sooooo healthy and bright. Unlike her full term brother who has tubes in his ears, rsv and pneumona already by 12 months old.
You just never know.
She had some slight gross motor delays growing up (walked at 18 mos.) and had some vision therapy for a while but they did not affect her life much and she had a very normal, happy childhood, did well in school and just got married this summer.
Erin , Happy wife of Honey Bear , mom of Curly Miss (11/04), Little Mister (10/06), Princess Abi (3/08), and The Bean (9/09) <>< oh, and I blog.
Maggie is 3 1/2 and is one of the taller girls in her class. She also is taller than some 4 yr olds. The only help she has needed was speech for about a year. But the Speech people to credit it not to being early, they say it could be anything from being a 2nd child to just needing a boost. Now she talks nonstop. Really.
I stopped writing on sign up forms etc that her medical needs include premature birth because most people do not know she was early so we stopped putting it or talking about it.
Another thing, we kept up with a lot of nicu parents and MAggie started doing great right after her due date hit. She reached most of her actual milestones by 18 mos and was pretty corrected with exception to speech.
We found it extremely stressful to see other nicu graduates not doing as well and pretty much kept the preemie thing on the DL. We knew families where their preemie was not as early not as small etc and this child would have all sorts of issues. One time picking up dd1 at camp, another Mom I didnt know remarked that her son was behind and he was a preemie. I just nodded politely but it was obvious the boy had a struggle. Another mom remarks- "WOW Maggie was a preemie too!!" so the mom asked how early she was and I had to say "15 1/2 weeks". Her son was only 10 weeks so I felt like a real jerk. Thus the reason we dont talk about it anymore!
We bring her back every year on her birthday to the nicu and the nurse always remark they love when the grads come back because they get to see the finished product.
They're six now, both absolutely fine, no issues whatsoever. I keep a sharp eye out for learning disabilities, but so far, they are both doing fantastic in school, love to read, love math (must get that from dad!)