It’s probably fair to say that every mother worries about her children.
Are they meeting their developmental milestones? Am I doing everything I can for them? What more can I do to ensure they fully cultivate their little inner geniuses (because clearly my children are brilliant).
Throw prematurity into that mix, and this already paranoid mommy goes into hyperdrive. Parents of those born earlier than 28 weeks (such as say, 27 weeks and 4 days) are warned from the very beginning that a long road of potential issues awaits them. Premature babies are at risk for brain bleeds – the muppets had three head ultrasounds in the NICU, all were clear!
Eyesight issues may develop from the air provided by a ventilator – our impressive little dudes never needed intubation (seriously impressing the entire NICU with their self-breathing abilities at a tiny 2 pounds). Although the muppets did have stage 1 ROP, they have since been declared ROP free (now we just need to get Destroy’s clogged tear duct, aka the goopy eye, taken care of).
Developmental delays are also often common in these tiny miracles, so they are closely followed by physical, occupational and speech therapists, ophthalmologists and audiologists, as well as a slew of other nurses, doctors and specialists though age two. The muppets passed their first high-risk pediatric visit with flying colors – they are exactly where they should be “with no lasting effects of prematurity.” So is that the last we hear of their exceptionally advanced gestational period?
There are plenty of famous preemies. What is not as well known is their rough beginnings in this world, and the challenges they overcame as infants. (Disclaimer: the tiny superstars mentioned below are even more amazing because they were born to a time with far less medicinal miracles. And none of them had Nurses June, Susan, Anne or Margaret flirting day and night while plumping them up before NICU graduation.)
Science keeps getting better, and parental hopes continue to grow stronger as those born smallest to the world often go on to thrive and achieve great things! (Source: Love to Know Baby)
Albert Einstein, famous for his great contributions to math and science, was born premature in Germany in March of 1879. He was once quoted as saying, “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.” This rang true for Einstein, who experienced small beginnings in a time where neonatology was virtually non-existent, and went on to make outstanding achievements.
Accomplished American writer Mark Twain is also on the roster of famous preemies. He went on to also experience a premature death, when his obituary was accidentally published in a newspaper long before his actual passing.
Perhaps his premature birth was responsible for his infamously small stature. Either way, Napoleon went on to achieve great military success and is regarded today as a genius leader by many.
Famous American singer Stevie Wonder became blind as an infant due to a condition known as retinopathy of prematurity. This is a common condition of preemies and takes place when the blood vessels in the back of the eyes are not fully developed and detach from the retinas. While it would be a challenge for anyone to be blind from birth, Wonder has thrived and his dark sunglasses have become a signature part of his look as a professional musician.
Sir Winston Churchill
The celebrated former prime minister of England was born two months premature. However even with his difficult start, he was born into great accommodations – a bedroom inside of an Oxfordshire palace.
The great French novelist, most famous for creating the wildly successful Les Miserables, was a preemie of 1802, again beating the odds in a time where medical technology was not in favor of early infants.
Premature children make history in all aspects of our world – even if we don’t know how it all began. Perhaps it’s the determination and drive they’ve displayed literally since birth. Not only will we survive, we’ll thrive! The muppets join this distinguished list, and with the embodiment of our hospital’s motto (Kaiser: Thrive!) they’re on their way to great things.
Look out world – Double Trouble is here to stay.