When I think of the word preemie, I definitely think of the word fighter. I think preemies are some of the strongest, bravest people I know. Although, their parents are pretty brave too. Today’s preemie is certainly a fighter, and so is his mom.
Allison is sharing her story, and beautiful boy, Elijah, with us today.
1. Tell us about your baby
My sons’ name is Elijah Matthew, he was born at 28 weeks, weighing 2 lbs and 9.6 oz measuring 15.25 inches long. He is our miracle and we should have guessed he would totally change everything we ever thought we knew. At our 10 week ultrasound, he bounced around so much the tech could only get one picture of him. Then at 13 weeks, when everything I’d read and everyone I spoke to said it wasn’t possible, I felt him start kicking. We had an ultrasound at 15 weeks to determine sex and Elijah was upside down with his legs stretched out napping and when the tech tried to wake him he kicked and fought so hard she could feel it. At 20 weeks, he was ‘beautiful and perfect’ and then at 22 weeks we almost lost him. Every week after I got another ultrasound and he was always so strong and full of life I just knew whatever happened he would fight as hard as he could to overcome it.
2. How long was your NICU stay? What was the hardest part?
We spent 53 days in the NICU. There were no real complications, thankfully. Elijah was just a handful, and when he was very small and uncomfortable, he would destat until the nurse did what he wanted.
The hardest part was living over an hour away and trying to keep our home running and spending time with him. We are 3000 miles from our family so it was my husband and I and some friends we had just made.
3. Do you know what caused your premature birth?
My premature birth was caused by an incompetent cervix that I didn’t know I had until it was dilating at 22 weeks. I was just placed on bed rest, but I was too dilated and no doctor would attempt a cerclage. The doctors actually thought he would be born before we even made it to the next week.
I was stuck in the hospital and transferred to one farther away with a better NICU at 23 weeks (Christmas day). My water broke at 27 +2, but then out of nowhere, I got contractions 2 minutes apart and in 5 hours he was born. They don’t know why I went into labor.
There are many things we can do to try to avoid another premature birth but it is always a possibility now. It really hurts to think about, as my husband and I had always dreamed of a big family and now we are unsure if we will get to have that the way we had originally thought.
4. How are you and your baby doing now?
Elijah is doing so well. he is trying to walk and talk and has completely caught up with his actual age. His doctor’s always tell us, “this doesn’t happen!” he has defied the odds since he came into this world with a cry and I believe he will continue to do so for the rest of his life.
5. Do you have any advice for new preemie parents?
My advice would be to trust your instincts and remember you are still the parent. We had an amazing social worker and nicu team that really believed in empowering us to make decisions and to speak up if we didn’t understand or weren’t comfortable with something. But it took reminding to believe it myself, that I can made decisions for my baby and i do know him best even if he is not with all the time, I am his mom and that will never change.
Thank you so much to Allison for sharing her story and beautiful, strong Elijah with us. I also want to send some birthday wishes out to him, as Elijah just celebrated his first birthday. Here’s a little sneak peek his mom sent us from Savvy Photo. He’s holding his picture from the NICU.