Parker was born at 35 weeks 1 day and Cooper was born at 36 weeks 3 days. Cooper has been relatively easy, but I had a lot of difficulty early on with feeding Parker because of his prematurity. Plus he was so small, that there was a real fear that he wouldn't gain a sufficient amount of weight, or would get sick. With Cooper I haven't had those same fears and I am so thankful for that.
At the same time, I know that our preemie journeys have been easy compared to those who have preemies before 34 weeks. Just like how people who have full term babies don't truly understand what it's like to have a late term preemie, I know that I don't understand what it's like to have a really early preemie. I have had only a glimpse into the preemie world and so I can only begin to imagine what it's like to have your baby in the NICU for months.
These babies overcome so many odds and then you see them at 2 years old and may not even know that they are preemies. It's really amazing. But I also want to give kudos to the parents of preemies. It's not easy. It's scary and stressful and it's a lot of work.
I also wanted to give a few tips in case you know or ever do know somebody who has a preemie. Because I know that a lot of people don't know how to react, wonder why you are so paranoid, and maybe want to help, but don't know how.
- Visit them in the hospital if you can - Other people couldn't come into the nursery with me, but they could come to the hospital and sit in the food court with me between feeds or take me to Tim Hortons. When you spend all day at the hospital every day, little outings or visitors are important for your sanity.
- Help out monetarily - For some people this extended hospital stay can get very expensive. If they have to go to McMaster, there is all the gas associated with going back and forth. They will have to pay for meals every day as well. These things add up, so even a Tim Card can help out.
- Be understanding - I made people use hand sanitizer before they touched Parker. I never thought I would be that crazy mom, but Parker wasn't even supposed to go out in public for fear that he would get a cold. So crazy yes, but necessary. Just go with it and help a mama out. I was also in a total haze after Parker was born. I was a first time mom who was also overwhelmed with having a preemie who didn't eat well. I was sleeping in 1 hour increments and basically couldn't function. So give preemie moms a break when it comes to visits or outings or if they act like a crazy person sometimes it's probably sleep deprivation.
Cooper's story has been very different. I tend to forget he's a preemie because he's big and he eats. And I'm thankful for that! It's hard to believe that a week and a few days meant such a different start for these two.
|Parker - in the nursery, 4lbs 3 oz, tube fed and in an incubator|
|Cooper - roomed with me, 7lbs 1oz, likes to eat!|