One question we get regularly is if Little Red’s current health issues are down to her being born premature. The answer is no. It’s all completely unrelated. (At least that’s what we’ve been led to believe). While being a premmie baby can obviously have it’s own set of worries, even if I had carried her to full term we would most likely still be in the same predicament regarding her health issues.
BORN PREMATURE & UNRELATED ISSUES
All of LR’s ailments seem to have developed around six weeks gestation, meaning when she was still a tiny bean in my tummy. This is also why we believe everything that is going on with her is connected in some way.
When Baby Bear was thought to have Cerebral Palsy, that was put down to her being premature. Mainly because it was she who kicked off the early labour due to placenta abruption. For example, this could have caused lack of oxygen and/or she suffered a stroke. But since CP is kind of being ruled out she doesn’t really carry any concerns over from being born early.
LR was the lowest birth weight out of the two and of course there is the developmental delay of ten weeks (actual and corrected age) for both girls. But apart from that we got extremely lucky on the premmie health front.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN
The girls being born premature set in motion a number of things. Those being:
- Hips were checked and X-Rayed to see that they were growing as they should;
- We were required to take them to NICU clinics;
- We were required to take them for physio (Allied Health);
- Our highly regarded pediatrician happened to be on call the week we transferred special care nurseries.
Basically they have been more closely monitored from day one.
If I had carried LR to term, then chances are we would have missed or at least been extremely delayed with some of her current diagnoses. I doubt we would know the severity of her scoliosis and spine malformations or if her Duane Syndrome would have been picked up. Chances are the spasticity in her legs and left thumb would have gone unnoticed too. All of the early intervention she has received – some of which we can absolutely credit for her current abilities – is pretty much all down to her prematurity.
We recently realised the fact that the girls being premmie (and fortunately without any major lasting issues) has been one of the luckiest things to have happened to us. Of course NICU was no cake walk and I wouldn’t wish it on any parent, but we have come through it enough to be able to reframe our feelings into something positive.
It might sound a bit weird to say how grateful we are becoming over a complete heart-wrenching, gut-punching, all round awful experience. But, I’d rather be that than hold onto the hurt and bitterness that I’ve (admittedly) felt during our premature births and NICU journeys.
The fact of the matter is, if LR hadn’t been born premature we’d most likely be in a worse place now in regards to her medical needs. Always a silver lining, eh?
WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT
Earlier this week I posted about my anger regarding our NICU experience and I didn’t expect the reaction it got. Based on the messages and comments I received, I believe it’s still a very taboo subject. Maybe even one that only NICU parents will ever understand or appreciate?
I plan on writing more about NICU because the responses are ones I just can’t stop thinking about. Also, there is still SO MUCH to say that it wouldn’t be fair to just tack it on here! Hearing other parents stories has fueled more considerations surrounding our own experiences. I really feel like the NICU discussion is only just beginning in our beautiful village. I also realise it’s actually taken me nearly two years to be able to start articulating my feelings around the subject. I think that in itself speaks volumes.
As always, thanks for reading.
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