Every year 1 in 10 babies are born preterm. This November we recognize National Prematurity Awareness Month and consider the nearly 400,000 babies born preterm each year in the United States.
Babies who survive premature birth often have long-term health problems, including cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, chronic lung disease, blindness and hearing loss.
The Mayo Clinic offers tips to understand your preemie's special needs:
Taking care of your preemie
- Find out about your preemie's condition
- Share your observations and concerns
- Establish your milk supply
- Spend time with your baby
Taking care of yourself
- Allow time to heal
- Acknowledge your emotions
- Take a break
- Be honest with your baby's siblings about condition
- Accept help
- Seek support
Bringing baby home
- Understand your baby's needs
- Ask about your baby's car seat
- Find out about available resources
Hear from Jasmine, a mom of a premature baby, in her own words about the challenges she faced:
Hello, my name is Jasmine Garcia and I wanted to share my story with my 25 week preemie.
One random night around one in the morning, I had woke up to use the restroom because I honestly thought I had to poop. Once I sat on the toilet I instantly felt like pressure just fall down and instantly cramps in my stomach. I looked down and there was blood everywhere so I yelled for my husband and my mom. They ran into the restroom and called the paramedics.
I kept having the urge to push, I really felt like I needed to push, so my mom put me on the couch while we’re waiting for the paramedics. I live kind a deep in the desert so it took them a good 20 minutes to get to me. My little boy was already coming out, in fact my mom could see his little leg already.
When the ambulance arrived they took me to the nearest hospital right away. It was hectic with nurses running everywhere and I was screaming and crying in pain. And yet I was all alone as well. They didn’t let my husband back there and in the process of all this, the doctor wanted me to get bloodwork and x-ray done, and also put the catheter in. By his time it had already beeh like two hours.
My little boy was stuck in my birth canal with no oxygen to his brain and they took me to the OR two hours later I remember laying there and crying and asking them to please let my husband come in and they said no there’s no time for him to scrub in. I was in pain crying scared, and felt the doctor was very mean to me during this whole process. They ended up putting me to sleep because I was crying too much.
I woke up and my son had already been taken away. He was in the NICU two hours away from me with my husband and I had issues with preeclampsia, placental abruption and placenta previa. They went to my brain. I also got an infection due to the OR and not getting cleaned properly. My son and I also got E. coli and Mersa.
My son had four blood transfusions and I had three blood transfusions. The doctor also pulled my son out of my stomach very hard that he ripped his ear in the back of his head so my son had to get his ear reattached back to his head. I was in a coma for a week because the infection went to my brain. I felt like I was going crazy.
I spent a month in the hospital but I didn’t get to meet my baby boy until a month later. We spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day in the hospital. We were also there for four months and we were living in the Ronald McDonald house due to us living two hours away from the hospital. I really don’t remember the time I was there only the last week when I was coherent and ready to get out to meet my baby boy.
Jorge was born at 25 weeks weighing 1 pound and 18 lounces ounces now my son is two years old he has cerebral palsy, PVL brain damage chronic lung disease microcephaly my son also has a trach, a G-tube and a pulse ox. He goes to occupational therapy physical therapy, speech therapy, and feeding therapy and right now he is just trying to kick butt and get through all of this.
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