The theory and reality of Preemie Moms

I used to think that there was no way I would have a preemie.  Moms of preemies know that it’s coming, right?  They’re under more rigorous medical supervision, they have some premonition that it’s coming.

5 weeks in the hospital still didn’t have me convinced that I was a “preemie mom.”  Sure, I had checked out the two-inch thick book about Preemies from the library.  Sure, I slept at the hospital at least once, and spent too many hours driving back and forth.  But he was stable, wasn’t he?  He wasn’t near death or needing numerous surgeries.  They didn’t even have him in the NICU, they had him in the “special care nursery.”  (aka Level 3 NICU)  For four weeks.

A monitor for the first month he is home?  Still not a preemie.  It was supposed to monitor his breathing and heart, the only time it went off was when he was screaming his lungs out.  At that point, I knew he was breathing so I turned it off (for a few minutes.)  They only had him on it for a month, not ongoing.

He wasn’t a preemie, he was just “early”.  7 weeks early.  He grew, he was healthy and didn’t have more problems than the average baby.  He was easier than his older brother, in fact.

So what convinced me that he was a preemie?

A cold.

That’s right, a regular cold … that grabbed hold of his lungs and had him wheezing.  Had his breath so bad that the doctor almost sent us from his office to the ER.  He was two years old — too old, I thought, for RSV to be the big problem it is in infants.  Still, he couldn’t breathe well without help.

Now, my little preemie has asthma, when nobody else in his family does. I am learning about inhalers and about giving them to a preschooler.  I fight with him to get the medicine into his lungs, because even if he can’t breathe, he sure can fight.

Even though he is a fighter, he is still a preemie.

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