Most hospitals consider 24 weeks the age of viability. Luckily, as medicine advances, other hospitals are willing to help babies that are born even earlier. I’m so happy to be able to introduce you to a 23 weeker today that has beaten all the odds.
I remember being on bed rest, and having a calendar out in front of me. I marked off the days until I would be 24 weeks. At that point, I would be able to go into the hospital for constant monitoring. Before that point, I was only allowed outpatient ultrasounds to check on my boys.
I am so thankful that my health wasn’t at risk, and that they were able to hang on until 25 weeks, 5 days.
Today’s mother, Brittany, had a completely different situation. She had a normal pregnancy, until all of a sudden she didn’t. Luckily, she was in a place that was able to help her and her beautiful son.
Please meet Jaxson, as told by his mother, Brittany.
1. Tell us about your baby.
August 1, 2015 was supposed to be my wedding day, but instead it was the day my 23 weeker was born. Jaxson was 360 g (13 oz) at birth.
2. How long was your NICU stay? What was the hardest part?
We were in the nicu for 149 days. He came home exactly one month after his due date.
One of the hardest parts of being a NICU mom is not being able to answer “when is he/she coming home”. We would love to be able to give a set date, age, or weight but it just doesn’t work that way. Complications come up and the scheduled day can constantly change.
3.Do you know what caused your premature birth?
I wasn’t feeling well on a Wednesday, but just thought my morning sickness was coming back, and I was getting swollen from the heat.
On Friday morning, I was still super sick, so I decided to go to the hospital. At first, they thought it was my gallbladder, but after more test it was actually my liver. I was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome and rushed to a different hospital with an amazing NICU.
After lots of testing, they decided to induce me on Saturday. Jaxson was born at 9:48 pm. The beginning of my pregnancy was completely normal and I had no previous signs of HELLP or other medical conditions.
4.How are you and Jaxson doing now?
Jaxson is 20 months and doing great! He is slowly catching up on all of his milestones. We work with a physical therapist every week, mostly on walking. We see a feeding team once a month because he is having some trouble with weight gain. They monitor his eating habits and suggest high calorie foods/diet for him. He has a follow up on his eyes for ROP every three months (when we first came home it was every month).
Since the NICU, he has had surgery twice on hernias as I mentioned, but no others are needed.
I’m also doing great today. After I had him, my liver and kidneys from HELLP were back to normal in 48 hours, and I was sent home. I have not had any other complications since. I will have to see a MFM (maternal fetal medicine) doctor before and during my next pregnancy. He was my first.
5. What advice would you give to a new preemie family?
Ask every question you have and stay involved in your preemies care. The more you know and the more comfortable you are, the easier transition when you get home. While they’re in the nicu read to them, sing to them, talk to them! They can hear you and it’s a great way to bond.
Thank you so much, Brittany, for sharing your sweet 23 weeker Jaxson with us. He is such a miracle.