Strong, yet Fragile
Preemies are amazing. They are so tiny, yet so mighty. So tough, vulnerable.They are so strong, yet so fragile at the same time.
Premature babies must fight to do things that full-term babies do automatically. Their systems aren’t fully developed yet, including their immune system.
So, even though they beat the odds that are stacked against them, they also need their parents, siblings, and everyone around them to fight too. They need to be protected from germs and sickness that may not be as harmful to babies with a fully developed immune system. One of the worst fears a preemie parent has is for their baby to get sick again. To watch them fight in the hospital again after getting released seems like a nightmare.
That is why premature awareness is so important. Once people understand how truly fragile these amazing humans are, they can protect them.
Ana reached out to me to share her amazing preemie and also to spread premature birth awareness. I”m so happy to introduce you to Julieta, as told by her mom, Ana.
1. Tell us about your baby.
Julieta was born at 28 weeks, weighing 1 lb 6 oz. She was 11.2 inches in length.
She was born on September 18, 2018. Julieta was born at 28 weeks. She measured and weighed 5 weeks behind due to intrauterine growth restriction as a consequence of my pre-eclampsia.
2. How long was your NICU stay? What was the hardest part?
Julieta spent 83 days in NICU.
The hardest part was watching my tiny daughter struggle to breath. Even though she respiratory support, she still tried to catch her breath daily.
The overwhelming fear of losing her, it was constant.
3.Do you know what caused your premature birth?
Julieta was my second pregnancy. My first was a miscarriage. I developed HELLP syndrome due to pre-eclampsia and therefore required an emergency C-section.
4.How are you and your baby doing now?
Our precious Julieta is doing very well, currently 7 months actual, at home and very happy. She suffers from chronic lung disease and severe reflux due to prematurity. She is still very tiny, wears size 0-3 and meeting milestones slowly but surely. Julieta is improving in tummy time and head control.
Having a premature baby has affected our family in a sense that you are never at ease. There is that constant fear of her getting sick and ending back in the hospital.
She struggles with eating due to reflux. We know that her immune system is very underdeveloped. We know that her lungs are also underdeveloped and not strong enough to withstand an illness like RSV.
Unfortunately, most people around us do not get it, and it is a constant battle trying explain ourselves to them on why we isolate and why we are so careful with our daughter.
Julieta is currently following up with her pediatrician once a month and is in therapy with early steps.
5. What advice would you give to a new preemie or NICU family?
Take it one day at a time.
If you were given this baby, it is because nobody else could have done a better job. Ask questions during rounds every day. If you do not agree with the medical team, make sure your concerns are heard. Do not be afraid to speak up, you are your baby’s strongest advocate.
Thank you to Ana and her family for sharing beautiful Julieta. Please leave any supportive comments or questions below.