Thursday, February 7, 2013

101 things I learned from having a Preemie

I am creating this post for a premature baby awareness site. They are asking supporters to blog about prematurity and post on March 10th. I got started early while it's fresh in my head. I decided to list the things I have learned because I have learned so much! I could probably think of more, but I thought 101 would be a nice number :)

1. The word PREEMIE doesn't just mean SMALL.
2. NICU nurses are like saints and they really do enjoy their jobs.
3. For every one month a baby is early it takes them approximately one year to catch up to peers.
4. Adjusted age really does have a purpose.
5. A baby born early won't be more advanced in anything.
6. How to read Heart Rate, Respiratory Rate, and O2 on a monitor.
7. The survival rate of a 25 weeker is 65% and how hard that is to hear.
8. Waking up to pump every 3 hours for 3 months isn't easy!
9. Our government system is majorly abused and there is little help for people who work and struggle with medical bills.
10. The difference between vent air, CPAP, and high humidity oxygen.
11. Stethoscopes come in mini sizes.
12. The dirtiest things in our world are cell phones and laptops!
13. The importance of Touch-Hold.
14. 40-50 % of preemies born at 25 weeks have "PDA" (patent ductus arteriosus) an open heart valve that normally closes within a few days of birth.
15. What a respiratory therapist really does.
16. The difference between the purple, green, blue and black scrubs.
17. That suck, swallow, breath really isn't as easy as it sounds.
18. The difference between a PIC line and an IV.
19. What "Kangarooing" is and its benefits.
20. That God does answer prayers!
21. In a time of need people just want to help...let them.
22. That you really are stronger than you think.
23. What a "gavage feeding" is.
24. How medicare works.
25. What blood types are compatible with others.
26. That babies under 2lbs 10oz automatically qualify for Social Security.
27. That it costs roughly $3,000 per night in the NICU.
28. What a Giraffe isolate is.
29. What the March of Dimes really does.
30. What a "ph probe" is.
31. What a "g-button" is.
32. That there is magic adhesive remover to get rid of tape on the face!
33. The importance of breastmilk for premature babies.
34. How imperative bed rest really is!
35. That days and hours do count when it comes to delivering early.
36. What "DIC" (disseminated intravascular coagulation) is and how deadly it is.
37. That people still do die during childbirth.
38. What it feels like to recover from a C-section
39. What "intubate" means.
40. That St. Gerard is the patron saint of expectant mothers.
41. That the 1st 5 days after premature birth is critical for the brain.
42. How important dark and quiet is for a premature developing brain.
43. What a "brady" is.
44. That Carter's carries nice preemie clothes :)
45. That the hiccups are a sign of stress.
46. How to tuck in a preemie using the snuggly, the frog, the fish, and the bendy bumper!
47. The benefits of infant massage.
48. That "PGA" isn't just a golf term.
49. The dangers of RSV for infants and preemies.
50. How steroid shots can help develop a babies lungs before birth.
51. Infant CPR.
52. That diapers come in the size of a maxi pad!
53. That build-a-bear clothes fit preemies.
54. That each preemie has a different journey. No two are alike.
55. Somehow you always make time for all your children, no matter how many.
56. It's the little things in life that really matter. The little things are sometimes the BIG things!
57. Sometimes people just don't know what to say. Don't hold it against them.
58. What a "fundoplication" is.
59. How to feed a baby through a g-button.
60. how severe acid reflux really can be.
61. That some babies will refuse to eat or get an aversion to swallowing.
62. That there are preemie foundations and resources specifically for preemies and preemie parents.
63. What a Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, and Physical Therapist does for preemies.
64. What it's like to send your baby into surgery.
65. That people do really care and really come together in a time of need.
66. How to feed a premature baby.
67. How different it is to have a preemie than a full-term baby.
68. How serious placenta previa can be and how it causes preterm delivery.
69. Medicine is like an art. No two doctors do things alike.
70. How to read a preemie's cues.
71. That a baby born before 28 weeks will be born with their eyes fuzed shut.
72. That preemies are given caffeine.
73. That ibuprophen is used to help close heart valves.
74. That NICU's use milk banks if mother's cannot produce or supply breast milk.
75. Nutramagen is a non-cows milk based formula used to fortify breast milk.
76. Many preemies start out small, but eventually catch up to peers.
77. That whatever your situation, there is always someone who has it worse.
78. To be grateful for each day you are given.
79. World prematurity day is November 17th.
80. That just because you go home with your preemie, doesnt mean it's the end of the journey.
81. That apnea is very typical of a preemie and can continue for many months.
82. That at 25 weeks a preemie's sense of smell and touch is already developed.
83. "TPN" is total parenteral nutriton, a solution of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients given intraveniously.
84. Babies born younger that 30 weeks have thin skin that is almost translucent and have a thin layer of fuzz all over, making them look more like a baby bird!
85. CC's are equivilant to milliliters and there are 30 in an ounce.
86. One in three babies born at 25 weeks will grow up normal.
87. Preemies born before 30 weeks are at high risk of developing mild cerebal palsy.
88. 20% of babies born before 30 weeks will have a major disability such as being blind, deaf, or mental retardation.
89. Babies cannot cry or make any sounds when they are on a ventilator.
90. Too much oxygen can result in vision problems in preemies.
91. A preemie must pass a car-seat test before going home.
92. Your insurance has a maximum out of pocket and your bill will be dropped after so many million dollars.
93. Preemie girls generally have a better chance of  survival than boys.
94. Preemie African Americans have a better chance of survival than Caucasians.
95. A priest will not baptize a baby in the hospital unless they know the chance of survival is slim.
96. Therapists and neonatologists like to follow up with preemies up until 3 years of age.
97. Once you leave the NICU, you will actually miss it.
98. Daycare is not an option for a preemature baby.
99. Not all parents visit their babies in the NICU and volunteers come just to hold and love them.
100. Your faith in God will get much stronger when you go through the challenges of having a preemie.
101. You can survive anything! Even when you think you won't!

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