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I am now on full bed rest at 31 weeks. I have already had steriods (at 26 weeks) and have been slowly but surely dialating since that time. I have faith that everything will be fine and am really thankfull that I have at least had steriods. I am googling my butt off about preemies and just get so much info that it's overwhelming. Would some of you mind sharing your experiences with your preemies 31-34 weeks? I would greatly appreciate it and want to be as prepared as possible so I can make whatever my experience is, a positive one.<br><br>
TIA<br>
Hollie
 

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My son Zephan was born at 31 weeks after months of bedrest at home in the hospital due to preterm labor and then PPROM at 29 weeks. I had also had steroid shots.<br><br>
He was born at 31 weeks 3 days. My labor was very fast. After months of contractions, when it turned into real labor it was scary fast - I went from 4 cm to baby out in about 45 minutes. He cried and was breathing on his own after birth, although he did need a little help to adjust to life. He was on CPAP for about 24 hours. He weighed 3 pounds 13 ounces and was 17 inches long. He was tiny, but he looked proportional and like a baby. Here are pictures of his <a href="http://cid-0a05d729b0e9fedb.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/.res/a05d729b0e9fedb!1011?ct=photos&sa=139702811" target="_blank">birth</a> and his first few <a href="http://cid-0a05d729b0e9fedb.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/.res/a05d729b0e9fedb!1038?ct=photos&sa=81525573" target="_blank">days.</a><br><br>
We began kangaroo care when he was about 24 hours old. He was not able to eat right away, so I pumped to give him breastmilk through his NG tube. We were able to start practice breastfeeding at 32 weeks. At 33 weeks, we began breastfeeding with a nipple shield. By 34 weeks, he was taking 5-6 out of 8 of his feedings by breast. When he went home at 35 weeks 3 days, he weighed about 5 pounds and was exclusively breastfed.<br><br>
He is now 3 1/2 months - or about 6 weeks adjusted age. He weighs about 9 1/2 pounds and is still doing great with breastfeeding. We're still dealing with reflux and anemia (common issues for preemies). He is developing normally for his adjusted age. We know he's at higher risk for getting sick, so we're very careful about germs/older kids and he is getting synagis shots. <a href="http://gloryrevealed.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/zephan-is-three-months-old/" target="_blank">Here</a> are pictures of him at 3 months.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sbrinton</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/13272106"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My son Zephan was born at 31 weeks after months of bedrest at home in the hospital due to preterm labor and then PPROM at 29 weeks. I had also had steroid shots.<br><br>
He was born at 31 weeks 3 days. My labor was very fast. After months of contractions, when it turned into real labor it was scary fast - I went from 4 cm to baby out in about 45 minutes. He cried and was breathing on his own after birth, although he did need a little help to adjust to life. He was on CPAP for about 24 hours. He weighed 3 pounds 13 ounces and was 17 inches long. He was tiny, but he looked proportional and like a baby. Here are pictures of his <a href="http://cid-0a05d729b0e9fedb.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/.res/a05d729b0e9fedb!1011?ct=photos&sa=139702811" target="_blank">birth</a> and his first few <a href="http://cid-0a05d729b0e9fedb.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/.res/a05d729b0e9fedb!1038?ct=photos&sa=81525573" target="_blank">days.</a><br><br>
We began kangaroo care when he was about 24 hours old. He was not able to eat right away, so I pumped to give him breastmilk through his NG tube. We were able to start practice breastfeeding at 32 weeks. At 33 weeks, we began breastfeeding with a nipple shield. By 34 weeks, he was taking 5-6 out of 8 of his feedings by breast. When he went home at 35 weeks 3 days, he weighed about 5 pounds and was exclusively breastfed.<br><br>
He is now 3 1/2 months - or about 6 weeks adjusted age. He weighs about 9 1/2 pounds and is still doing great with breastfeeding. We're still dealing with reflux and anemia (common issues for preemies). He is developing normally for his adjusted age. We know he's at higher risk for getting sick, so we're very careful about germs/older kids and he is getting synagis shots. <a href="http://gloryrevealed.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/zephan-is-three-months-old/" target="_blank">Here</a> are pictures of him at 3 months.</div>
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Thanks for sharing your story! The pics are beautiful and it is wonderful to hear that he did so well. I have been really worried about successful breastfeeding but your story inspires me. I have taken for granted how easy it was to BF DD1 from the beginning. Were your other ones early as well? DD1 was born at 35weeks +4 after a PROM.
 

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Sara, those are truly beautiful photos; so artistic.<br><br>
Jeliphish, even thought my boy was born at 29w 6d I wish to add to this thread. I feel like some doctors questioned his gestation since he weighed 4 lbs and was 18.5 inches long but I knew that my dates were right. I also feel like his journey through the NICU was not as difficult as some babies at his gestation but it was still very difficult for us.<br><br>
I received the steriod shots before he was born. He scored 8 and 9 on his apgars. He was on CPAP and nasal cannula for a couple of days. He receieved IV nutrition until he was up to maximum ng tube feeds of my milk in less than 2 weeks. He graduated from the incubator after a little over 2 weeks. He tanned twice for jaundice. He had a umbilical hernia for a long time.<br><br>
We did kangaroo care almost from day one. We started to breastfeed, without success, at 32 weeks gestation. We continued the bf for 4 months and it was not what I was hoping it would be. I did see a lactation consultant 4 times and at one time I thought that we could proclaim "success" but it plateaued when I got sick and decided that it was more important to maintain my supply by pumping instead of struggling with bfeeding. Six months later and I am still pumping.<br><br>
Henrik was discharged at 38 weeks gestation weighing 8 lb 6 oz. Now he is 6 months old and weighs 16 lb 10 oz. He caught up to 3 month old full term babies when he was over 1 month corrected.<br><br>
He did not qualify (in Canada you need to since it is covered by the gov't) for the synagis so we have been house bound for so long. It has been a very emotional journey for me. He is my only child (right now) and the light of my life but it has not been easy. He has had reflux and feeds have lasted uo to 2 and a half hours. He has had terrible gas and pooped ever diaper up to 21 times a day. He had terrible bum rash. I have been over protective of him to the point where I was developing a social phobia. We were not allowed out so when we did go I was starting to get paranoid of him getting sick by someone touching or sneezing on him.<br><br>
I wish you luck and hope you get to cook that baby longer. It is much safer in there.
 

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Jeliphish, did you have pPROM with this pregnancy too? I am just interested since I would like to have another baby but am too scared to even think about it. I ruptured at 28w 2d. Did you rupture before your 26w steroid shots?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>henriksmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/13272760"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Jeliphish, did you have pPROM with this pregnancy too? I am just interested since I would like to have another baby but am too scared to even think about it. I ruptured at 28w 2d. Did you rupture before your 26w steroid shots?</div>
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my membranes haven't ruptured with this one thankfully. Just my first. One of my good friends gave birth at 27+1 to her son 5 years ago. He was 2lbs 11oz so fairly big for that gestational age. She had almost the exact same experience as you have had with the breastfeeding, reflux, and gas. Today is is completely healthy with a hint of asthma and some allergies. He is advanced for his age but they were certain things were going to turn out much worse when he was born and even when he started early intervention. I know 29 weeks is early a certainly the first year will be an uphill climb but it will all smooth out I'm sure.
 

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Hi Hollie,<br><br>
Hang in there! You are doing great! I am currently on bedrest - 30 weeks - with #3. It's good to be prepared, but try not to worry too much! You just can't know what is going to happen until it happens. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Anyway, for me, #1 was 32 weeks, 4 days. She was 4 lbs 7 oz which was big for that gestation. She was on CPAP (nasal prongs) for three days. We didn't get to hold her until she was off of that. She had IV nutrition during that time as well. Then she had a nose tube which she stayed on for a couple of weeks. All this time I was pumping (which in my opinion is one of the least pleasant parts of having a baby in the NICU!) and she gradually took more of my milk through her tube. That particular hospital wouldn't let me try to breastfeed though; she went from tube to bottle feeding right before she came home after exactly three weeks. She also was under jaundice lights twice and had a grade I (translation = no big deal) brain bleed. After she came home it took me about three long weeks to get her transitioned to the breast. She had reflux too which took a while to diagnose.<br><br>
#2 was 34 weeks, and a few hours. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> He was 5 lbs, 8 oz, also big for his gestation! (But yes, I am sure about both of their gestational ages!) He didn't need any help breathing or maintaining his body temperature but was slow to feed and eventually they put in a nasal tube for several days. That hospital encouraged me to breastfeed and after exactly one week he came home breastfeeding like a champ (but I still had to wean myself off the pumping so as not to drop my supply too quickly). He also had jaundice lights for a couple days.<br><br>
Oh, I forgot to mention, they both came home on apnea monitors which is also a major pain. But, they are now 4 and 2 and absolutely delightful with no preemie-related issues!<br><br>
Good luck!!! I will check back again to see how you are doing!<br><br>
Sarah
 

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Hello Hollie, I hope you get to hang in there and bake for a few more weeks yet.<br><br>
My last was born at 31 weeks and 5 days due to preeclampsia. He weighed 3lbs 11oz and he did have a rough start though it is my understanding that most babies around that gestation are mostly feeders and growers and do super well. Randall had pnuenmothoroxes(collapsed lungs) that require chest tubes to be inserted and the air drained out. He was on a vent for about 3 or 4 days but after that he only needed oxygen for a weeks or so. It did take a long time to get the chest tube out about 3 weeks for 1 but the one on the other side come out after a few days. He also had a bout of NEC and had to do 10 days of bowel rest. Even with all those setbacks he only stayed in the NICU for 25 days and left fully breastfeeding.<br><br>
Raleigh my 34 weeker only had to stay 7 days. The main things getting him to come home were temperature and feeding. He also had a mild case of jaudice but that is very common. He also left fully breastfeeding though they did make me spend 1 night in a peds room with him to make sure he did not lose any wieght over night while he was fully nursing.<br><br>
Brooks my 35 weeker got to leave the hospital with me after 3 days and only had to spend 1 night in the step down unit.<br><br>
Best of luck to you and keep us updated.
 

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Hello!<br>
My son was born at 33 weeks 1 day. My water broke at 33 weeks and i went into full labour the following morning.<br><br>
He was born 4 lbs 15 oz's, which was big for his gestational age so the thought he would e breathing on his own in a day or two. He was on CPAPP for 4 days and oxygen for an ebtire week. At 3.5 days old they began giving him breastmilk and he turned around dramatically. He left the NICU on his 16th day which was quite early but he did very well.<br><br>
The ICU experience is an emotional rollercoaster - just know that. between the tubes and wires and just the general seperation from your child is heartbreaking and the toughest thing. The nurses will love your baby and i pray that he/she will get the best possible treatment!<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">:
 

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My triplets were born at 32 weeks, 6 days. Two were over 4 lbs and had easy times in the NICU, without any need for oxygen. They breastfed well when we started and were doing really well on discharge. I expect that either of them as a single baby would have successfully breastfed for the long term, but the logisitics of life when I took three home meant that we had little success with breastfeeding at home.<br><br>
My other son was IUGR and 2.5 lbs at birth. He had a much rougher time with tolerating food through his stomach and needed to be fed through an IV for a few days, and he needed lots of phototherapy for jaundice and oxygen for a couple of hours. He was so small and weak that he couldn't latch on and was too exhausted by the time he latched on to suck efficiently. I chose to give up on trying to get him bfing in the hospital and took him home bottle-fed because I would not have been able to spend much time with him after the other two were taken home. He never latched on for a full meal at the breast. At almost 2, nobody would know which of my kids was the micropreemie.<br><br>
I ended up exclusively pumping for 5 months after bfing fell apart and then transitioned to formula because I believed they needed my arms and my presence more than the breastmilk.
 

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As far as breastfeeding, my oldest son (born at 38 weeks) was probably the hardest, but that is because I was a first-time mommy! The first 6 weeks with him were miserable, but we persevered and he breastfed for almost 2 years. My second, born at 35 weeks, was easy. Latched on and took full feeds as soon as they let him eat (maybe 24 hours after his birth). It obviously took a lot longer with Zephan, but it was not harder. Just different. I had to be very patient with him! It was easy to get frustrated when he would do so well one day and then be too tired the next. I think patience and perseverance are very important with these little ones!! Not every preemie will be able to breastfeed, but most are able to do at least a little and all of them benefit from breastmilk. Speaking of that, Zeph's hungry...
 

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I know this must be a scary time for you. I had a 31 weeker last May. I went in for decreased movement, and found that he was in distress. He was severely tangled in his cord (4x around his neck!), and after several days of monitoring, praying, and steroid shots, he was delivered via CS. He had the most beautiful, strong cry at birth. They put him on CPAP initially, but at a few hours old he pulled it off himself and did perfectly on room air. He was 3# 10 oz with Apgars of 8 and 8.<br><br>
Today he is a gorgeous, curious, cuddly, happy, 18-pound little boy. Yes, it was a tough road, even though I believe we had a fairly "easy" time compared to some NICU parents. Soren spent 6 weeks in the NICU. Like many full-term (and most pre-term) babes, he developed jaundice at 2-3 days old and spent some time under bili lights. At 2 weeks he started looking sick to me. Just not "right." The docs wouldn't listen, but I begged our loving nurses to ask them to do something, and we found out he was becoming more and more jaundiced and anemic. It was terrifying having them run all the tests for NEC, blood diseases, infection, etc. But, it was determined to be a rare blood incompatability issue. He eventually became anemic enough to need a blood transfusion. While it certainly sounds scary, blood transfusions aren't terribly uncommon for preterm babes.<br><br>
Because of the anemia, Soren needed extra oxygen support for a while. It was tough feeling like he took a giant step backwards, from breathing room air on his birthday to needing oxygen again. He had a nasal canula around the clock for a week, and then during feeds for another week or so. Then, one morning we came to the hospital, and he no longer needed the canula or the oxygen monitor! It was a huge milestone for us! Time in the NICU can often feel like 2 steps forward 1 step back. It's very emotional. Celebrating the small steps of progress your baby makes helps.<br><br>
I was determined to breastfeed. It is a lot of work to breastfeed a preemie. But, remember that sometimes it's a lot of work to breastfeed a full-term babe, too! During those lonely, middle-of-the-night pumping sessions, it helped me to remember that my body was making antibodies to all the germs surrounding Soren in the NICU, and that my breastmilk was passing on those antibodies to him, helping him stay free of infection. I pumped every 3 hours around the clock and brought the milk to the NICU for them to feed to him through his NG tube. When he was ready for his first nursing attempts, I found it comforting to remember that it was just "practice." Just being near my nipple was helping him learn. Or just licking. Or just latching for 1 second. In time, he learned to nurse well with a nipple shield. I used this until he was about 2.5 months old. Now he's a champion nurser (no shield!).<br><br>
What got us through.... Forming relationships with the NICU families around us. Letting the wonderful nurses know we wanted to be involved in every aspect of his care possible. By caring for Soren alongside the nurses we learned to trust them, and they went out of their way for us. Remembering that we knew our baby much better than any doctor or nurse, and insisting that someone listen when we had concerns, even when they didn't notice the same problems yet. Journaling. Bringing a good book to read as we cuddled for hours skin to skin (one of my favorite memories!).<br><br>
As a PP said, the nurses will love your babe. We had some very special nurses caring for ours. I recently was at the hospital for an appointment, and I brought Soren up to the NICU to say hi. Everyone remembered him, and they were so excited to see him again.<br><br>
Soren has not had so much as a runny nose since coming home. He did get Synagis shots this winter, and is still on iron supplements to help his mild anemia. He is our greatest joy, and I would go through those difficult 6 weeks again a million times over for him.<br><br>
Best of luck to you and your sweet babe.
 
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