Micro Preemie Monday
Welcome to another Micro Preemie Monday. Each Monday, I have the honor of introducing you to a family who has been impacted by premature birth. Most of these babies are some of the smallest (only weighing up to 2 lbs) and earliest born (born up until 28 weeks.) Their journeys are extremely difficult, but also exceptionally inspiring. While it may be tough to read, it’s even tougher for the families to share their stories.
I think it’s so important for everyone to learn about premature birth, and what a family has to go through. While you may not fully understand unless you’ve experienced it yourself, it still gives a better idea of the incredible fight these babies have from birth. These stories also show how amazingly strong these tiny babies are, and that no one, not even doctors, can predict what they are capable of.
Premature birth will always be a cause close to my heart because my own boys were born at 25 weeks, 5 days, weighing 1 lb 7 oz and 2 lbs 2 oz. They beat every odd, and are my heroes.
But, until their birth, I had no idea what having a premature baby was like. I had never even heard of the NICU or the staggering odds these babies are against. I also didn’t know anyone who had a premature baby, so my journey was very frightening and lonely at times.
I don’t want anyone to feel alone in their journey or hopeless. I hope these Micro Preemie Monday stories can help other families find hope and support.
Today, you will meet Josephine, as told by her mom Cari Beth. She is truly a miracle, and I’m so happy to be sharing her family’s journey with you.
1. Tell us about your baby.
Josephine was born on 2/14/17 at 23+5 weeks. She weighed 1 lbs 8 oz and was 12.25in long. She’s our Valentine miracle.
2. How long was your NICU stay? What was the hardest part?
Jo was in the NICU for 120 days. Other than the obvious fears with having a micro preemie, the hardest part for me was balancing my time at the NICU and with my 2 and 4-year-old sons. I lived at a Ronald McDonald House, while my husband had to go back home to work, and my boys were passed around through our families. It was so hard not being with all my kids daily. Because of flu restrictions, my boys didn’t get to meet their sister for 100 days. Thankfully, Jo is home with us now and it’s wonderful having all the kids together.
3.Do you know what caused your premature birth?
I started heavily bleeding at 12 weeks due to a massive subchorionic hemorrhage. The constant bleeding started to irritate my uterus, causing me to start having contractions at 17 weeks. I was home on bedrest from 17-22 weeks. Then I was admitted to my town hospital’s Labor and Delivery at 22 weeks because I was starting to dilate and getting contractions every 4 minute, that wouldn’t stop with any of the meds. As soon as I hit 23 weeks, I was life lined to a level 3 NICU. While in the hospital I had an issue with my heart (had to have heart surgery shortly after delivering), and had to be given a drug to momentarily stop my heart. Moments later, my water broke and Jo pushed her own way out. It was all terrifying. My husband told me later that he was almost positive he had lost us both.
My previous two pregnancies were completely healthy, resulting in two big boys.
4.How are you and your baby/babies doing now?
We are doing pretty great, all things considered. Jo is 6 months old, 2 months adjusted. She is still on a 1/4 L oxygen, but getting stronger daily. She was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma on an adrenal gland right before being discharged, but (praise the Lord) it seems to be resolving on its own, and we are very hopeful that she won’t need chemo (I’m told this is completely unrelated to her prematurity).
Jo is such a happy baby. She is exclusively nursing, which I think is one of your greatest accomplishments.
5. What advice would you give to a new preemie family?
Thank you so much to Cari Beth and her family for sharing Josephine’s journey here on Micro Preemie Monday. Please leave any supportive comments or questions below.