Since having my son at 24 weeks gestation, almost 4 years ago, I have tried to create more awareness about these tiny fighters. When someone hears that you have had a baby 16 weeks early the first thing they ask you is if the baby is okay. If you start to explain that lots of therapy is needed and that problems could come up at a later date that is where the understanding ends.
Some of the many difficulties that a micro-preemie (defined as a baby that is under 1 ¾ pounds (between 700-800 grams) and is generally born before 26 weeks gestation) experiences are immature lungs, an underdeveloped digestive system, cerebral hemorrhaging, high risk of infection, incomplete feeding reflexes, severe anemia, neurological delays, physical handicaps, and long term health issues.
While some of these issue will heal and mature with time, they sometimes have a long term effect that carries on long after the baby has been released from the hospital.
Not all babies that arrive early will grow and thrive into normal children. Some will go on to have Cerebral Palsy , Hydrocephalus, ADHD, digestive issues, reflux, seizures, vision and hearing problems.
Last November during the March of Dime’s “Preemie Awareness Month”, I profiled some micro-preemies who beat the odds and survived prematurity. Each one of these babies is special in SO many ways. Some may not be perfect to all, but they are to their parents and family.
The parents we met while in the hospital with our son renewed my hope in parenthood. That’s where I found the saying “special parents get special babies”.
Here are some articles I have covered on Micro-preemies to date:
If you have a micro-preemie that has beat the odds and you would like me to profile their journey please contact me a firstname.lastname@example.org