Twice a Preemie Mom
Having a premature birth and being a preemie mom is a life-changing experience. There are so many emotions during the journey, and I think fear might be the strongest. You are afraid of what will happen next, you are afraid of any little thing that goes wrong, and you are mostly afraid you will lose your precious baby.
Now, imagine having to experience all those fears twice.
Today’s preemie mom had not one, but two premature births. You will meet two sweet babies that fought and continue to fight. Their mom, Jen, had complicated pregnancies that also affected her health. The strength that she and her husband showed will bring hope to anyone that is experiencing a premature birth for the first time or the second time.
Please meet Anthony and Chloe, as told by their mom, Jen.
Anthony and Chloe
1. Tell us about your babies.
Anthony was born at 31 weeks 2 days on August 22,2012. He weighed 2 lbs 9 oz.
Chloe was born at 28 weeks 0 days on June 3, 2016. She weighed 1 lb 15.5 oz.
2. How long was your NICU stay? What was the hardest part?
Anthony’s stay was 6 weeks. He did amazing. He was on CPAP for 1 week, but then got a blood infection and was intubated and on antibiotics for 3 days. Anthony went back to CPAP for 1 week, and then off all breathing help. He stayed in the NICU the rest of the time to gain weight and to learn to feed.
Chloe was in the NICU for 14 weeks and 4 days. That was 2 weeks and 4 days over due date.
She had a very rough feeding and breathing journey. During feeding, we found she was allergic to every type, and my breastmilk, that’s the one they normally use. Even with the one that was the easiest for her, they still had to feed over a pump set first at 2.5 hours. Over 14 weeks, it would go up and down in the time to see what she could handle.
4 days before coming home, she started talking from a bottle and was doing good. The ng tube came out 1.5 days before coming home.
Breathing was terrifying. For the first 24 hours, Chloe was on CPAP pressure 7 and 30% oxygen. After the first 24 hours, she had a lot of trouble. They intubated her for 2 weeks, and then she went back to CPAP. After about 3 weeks of CPAP, she (as soon as we had one week left in the NICU) had 3 times where they had to bag her and start her breathing. They decided to intubate again for a while, and she was on for 2 weeks again. Chloe then went back to CPAP for 3 weeks. She then had 3 days of oxygen.
That was the most terrifying call. They called at midnight saying your child almost died and we brought her back by intubating again.
3.Do you know what caused your premature birth?
Anthony’s premature birth was due to HELLP syndrome and Preeclampsia. He was also IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Restricted).
Chloe’s premature birth was due to a combination of things. There was a small pocket of amniotic fluid, fatty placenta, and poor blood flow. She was also IUGR.
4.How are you and your baby/babies doing now?
Anthony is 4 years old now and great. Most people would never know that he’s a preemie. Other than other mothers who have had preemies, and say there is something in their face they can see.
It was hard on my husband. With HELLP and Pre-e, he almost lost us both. It was very touch and ago.
Anthony hit milestones great. We did have lots of physical therapy with him because he had torticollis (stiff muscle on one side of the neck) and plagiocephaly (flattening of head). We were able to get his head better, but had met with someone twice about possibly getting a helmet made. Anthony is now is 36.5 lbs and 43 inches.
Chloe has a lot of appointments. Once a week, we see a feeding clinic about weight again and if her feeding is going ok. It’s up and down everyday with her. She is on reflux meds right now, but drinks very little.
Chloe is only hitting some milestones, like hands grabbing things. She cannot roll, but that is because she has bilateral hip dysplasia (both hips are not in sockets.) She has to have a surgery to put her legs into hip joints. They do one leg at a time,so that’s roughly 16-24 weeks of a cast if surgery works. Sometimes they need multiple surgeries.
She also has club feet, but they are just going to do shoes for her when she starts walking. We are on a waiting list for genetics to be tested.
Chloe is now 7 months on January 3rd (4 months adjusted) and weighs close to 9 lbs.
When I had my c-section again for Chloe, they had nicked my bowel. It had adhered to the previous incision. One of my fallopian tubes was attached to the incision too, but they didn’t nick it. If they had I wouldn’t have cared. We’re done having children. It is very emotionally draining knowing from 18 weeks onward that things are wrong, and to be prepared that the next appointment I go in for (even though I had an ultrasound every week) that baby might die in between the visits.
They never thought Chloe would make it. I was on bed rest from 18 weeks until 28 weeks.
5. What advice would you give to a new preemie family?
The only thing I would recommend from my experience, is if you are someone who loves research, then do it. I feel so much better learning about both things with my children.
I also do recommend if you ever feel sad or feel like you’re afraid to do anything, talk to someone. One day after Chloe was born, I was terrified to hold her. I went 2 weeks without. My husband held her, though. Every time she was in my arms, she would have a breathing episode. I cried to one of the nurses, and she sat with me and calmed me down. She was absolutely amazing.
Always let your concerns out and ask questions. They will answer you. I joked a lot when my daughter came home that I have no idea what I would do if I had a full-term baby.
Thank you so much to our preemie mom Jen for sharing both of her beautiful children with us. The strength she had to go through two premature births is amazing.
As a fellow preemie mom, I also love her advice about talking to someone if you’re ever afraid. I was also afraid to touch and hold my twins when they were first born. Talking to someone really helped me too.
If you have any questions or supportive comments for Jen, please leave them below.
Tessa Lynn says
Sweet little ones <3. It's so interesting how Jen mentioned other preemie moms can tell her kids were also preemies (even as they are older). I've never thought about that.
Tiffany Austin says
Wow I can’t imagine what this poor mama went through. Glad that both went okay! They are beautiful babies!
I have friends with preemies so I am always amazed at the personal stories and how strong these parents are. I think it’s important to share these stories for others who go through the same thing, and they can see that they’re not alone. Kudos for sharing!!
Amazing story. I couldn’t begin to imagine what she went through, but those babies look like they are growing and thriving well!!
Katie Reed says
Aw this is lovely! Two of my kids were technically preemies, but they were both fine and a nice healthy size. It was so stressful, even then! I can’t imagine the strength it takes to make it through those early stages.
J. Ivy Boyter says
Wow! What amazing stories. It’s scary to think about, but I enjoyed your story and the advice you shared.
Melissa Dow says
You have beautiful babies. As a mama I can only imagine what you and your hubby went through. Thank you for sharing your story.❤
Belle Bermudez-Tubel says
Wow! I can’t imagine what she had to go through. It must have been really tough but I am glad everything went well. Her babies are so beautiful.
Belle | One Awesome Momma
Thank you so much for sharing these stories, Shann <3 OMG, this is heartbreaking but so glad to hear that both these babies are healthy. I can't even begin to imagine what these parents went through, not just once, but on two separate occasions.
Paige Rodriguez says
This story brought chills to me…What an experience. This mommy is so strong and so are those two precious babies. My son had jaundice pretty bad when he was born and THAT felt scary, I cannot imagine how this mommy and daddy felt going through this. Not once, but twice. Sending so much love to this family, thank you for sharing this story as a testimony to other families who might be going through the same thing. There truly is strength in numbers! Xoxo
Such beautiful babies! I am glad they are both doing well and I pray the hip dyspraxia surgery goes great for the sweet little angel.
Jessi Joachim says
I can’t imagine this struggle. Both of my babies were ontime or past due. My sister lost her preemie though. She was about 25 weeks and he weighed one lb. Beau would have been almost 15 now if he would have made it.
Jasmine Hewitt says
So glad they are both ok now-I dont have a preemie, but my niece is, and there is something about them that if you’ve been around one (or have one) enough, you can tell.
Oh, my heavens! Precious babies <3 It's still amazing to me that babies can be born so small and still survive and eventually thrive. THank you for sharing!
Jen @ One Small Word says
Wow! Great advice for other moms that may end up with the same situation.
Leighann Hall says
Oh boy! My heart goes out to all NICU babies and their parents! Ours were in for only a month, and it was a time I will definitely never forget. Anthony and Chloe are certainly fighters and so gorgeous!
I can’t imagine going through this experience once let alone twice. Jen, I am very happy that your kids are both alive and thriving. Thank you for sharing your story and bringing encouragement and hope to others.
Chelsea Padgett says
This is such a great story. I’m sure this will touch so many families struggling in a similar situations. Such beautiful babies!
Rachel @ The Analytical Mommy says
oh my gosh I can’t imagine going through that twice! Our oldest was in the NICU for a few weeks (not a preemie) and it was so hard to see all the little preemies there!
Casey Fossett Powers says
Oh, I can’t imagine going through all that! What a strong Momma!