Preemie Babies 101 is a site where preemie parents can find information, comfort and support about the ginormous twist and turns their lives are about to embark upon. I wish I’d found it sooner.
Afton Mower runs the site – her son became an angel at 21w2d gestation; he weighed only 12 ounces and was 10 inches long. Two years later, her daughter was born at 27w3d gestation and spent 94 days in the NICU. (For comparison by muppet enthusiasts, Search and Destroy were born at 27w4d gestation.)
Throughout her experience from the NICU and watching her daughter grow up, she decided to provide a social hub where preemie parents could band together and help each other through the ups and downs of the NICU and raising preemie babies.
Stressed, confused and exhausted parents are invited to read the experiences, opinions, and stories of other preemie parents, and share fears, thoughts, hopes about the strength of all our little miracles.
This story may seem familiar to regular readers of the blog. It is updated from its initial iteration in support of the March of Dimes Prematurity Awareness Day.
Tricia’s Story (Parent Stories)
This story was thoughtfully submitted by one of our readers, Tricia.
I never thought I’d end up a mommy blogger. A world-famous Newbery Medal recipient, sure, but it instead appears my writing talents have headed down the road less traveled. One of my girlfriends started blogging about the random stories of mommyhood shortly after I found out I was pregnant.
My first trimester was rough – not just morning sickness, all day arfing sickness. I had just started a new job in December 2009, so being green on the job took on a whole new meaning. In January, we found out our family was growing a bit faster than expected. Our twins were due in August. In March, we learned our little muppets were two boys. I was finally feeling good.
“I think I’ll start a blog,” I decided one afternoon. I signed myself up on WordPress and there my page template sat for several weeks. No magical article-writing elves appeared to tell my story, so I sat myself down and announced to the global online community that Double Trouble was coming to town. I figured this blog would be a single source location for family and friends. I could sporadically post clever little anecdotes and event photos.
On April 13, I posted an article shouting from the rooftops that I was officialy having a normal pregnancy. Two weeks later, my world turned upside down. I started writing more and more – detailing and journaling my experience on bedrest and ultimately as an ante-partum patient in the hospital as I prayed for healthy twins.
Jon and I became parents on May 28, 2010. Our precious muppets were born weighing 2 pounds 3 ounces and 2 pounds 2 ounces. I held Search in my arms for no more than 10 seconds after his birth. I watched Destroy get wheeled out of the OR wrought with tubes and encased in a plastic incubator.
They were born 12 weeks too soon. And then I passed out.
I didn’t get to meet my muppets the day they were born. I spent hours shivering uncontrollably in a recovery room – demanding water from a nurse who tried my patience to its last nerve by insisting on following medical protocol instead of catering to my thirsty whims. Five hours after they were born, Jon was indoctrinated into life as a NICU parent. He was crying when he came back, but he reported they were doing amazingly well. There were so many wires…
The next day, I learned why people believe in love at first sight. Our nurses and doctors were cautiously optimistic. The muppets were all I could think about. So throughout the next 10 weeks, I took to the Web – sharing my thoughts, feelings and fears to anyone who may happen upon here. As I talked to people and shared our story, it seemed everyone knew someone who was premature. Suddenly, my new normal was “preemie parenthood.” Term babies seemed jumbo and odd.
I found the March of Dimes website accidentally as I scoured the Internet looking for any and all information on the hospital jargon being thrown at me. I became a mother on a mission. My boys were coming home healthy if I had to get a medical degree to do it.
The NICU staff laughed. “When you leave here, we’ll be sending you home part parent, part nurse.”
I never thought prematurity would be the cause I’d get behind. I did everything I was supposed to, but fate/humanity had other ideas and life isn’t fair. My body was broken but my boys are fighters.
The muppets are now more than seven months old. They’re laughing now (and having a grand old time spitting rice cereal raspberries) and it’s hard to remember how tiny they truly were when we first started our journey home.
I’m proud to be a preemie-parent. And I’m proud to be the mom to such nifty NICU grads. Next week our family will return to the hospital for a well-check with our pediatrician, and I expect at least one of the boys to tip the scales at 17 pounds – a far cry from tiny two pounders.
Thanks for getting the word out.