Mama, please don’t run away from this article about premature birth.
I know you want to surround your pregnancy with beauty, love and positive thoughts! Seek out those beautiful birth stories and the natural ways you can do it! Surround yourself with good support and loving people that accept your choices. It feels good, and so it should.
My mistake: I ran away from knowing the facts about preemies.
It wasn’t going to happen! I’m young and healthy. My first birth was at home, unassisted, in peace and surrounded with love. I didn’t need to know about the horrors, the panic. I didn’t want that in my head. It shouldn’t occupy your thoughts, right? Then, it happened to me. I knew NOTHING about premature babies. I had no facts, no knowledge of the journey, no nothing. THAT was the scariest.
That is why I want to share this information. Not to scare you, but to prepare you if you end up facing the same thing.
7 Essentials You Need to Know About Premature Birth
It happens to 1 out of 10 pregnancies
It’s nothing out of the ordinary in the birth world. The doctors and nurses see it all the time, and for them, it’s just another day. Whole wings of hospitals exist for premature babies! They have super advanced technology developed just for these tiny beings. Everybody has experience. Everyone has a huge amount of training. There’s no guesswork when it comes to working with these tinies.
Two categories of prematurity exist
Micro preemie: Any birth that happens before 29 weeks of gestation.
Preemie: Any baby born after 29 weeks gestation.
An extra week in the womb makes a huge difference. When you pass the 26-week mark of your pregnancy, celebrate!
You have control over the decisions made about your baby’s care
Be vocal about your choices, and they’ll respect your choices. I opted to give my tiny a vitamin K shot at birth, but opted out of the erythromycin eye goop. I said yes to the use of a soother, but only when distressed or during painful procedures (like blood draws). I said yes to blood transfusions if necessary (it wasn’t), but no to swaddle bathing. They needed to ask before doing anything to my child.
Your baby will still have the same instincts as a full-term newborn
…when their brain development gets there. The schedule changes, but the path is the same. She will still root for the breast. She’ll do the belly crawl and cry. She’ll look around – when her brain development is at that point of maturity.
You can still exclusively breastfeeding
It takes more patience and dedication from the mother, but it’s still do-able. If you wish to breastfeed, make sure to ask for a lactation consultant as soon as you can. The nurses know about breastfeeding, it’s just not their specialty. A lactation consultant will do everything in their power to help make it happen for you. They’ll celebrate all the tiny steps your babe goes through. They’ll whisk away your doubts, lift up your chin when you feel like melting in a pool of your own tears. They are worth their weight in gold.
You can hold your baby early
As long as your tiny isn’t actually sick and requiring care away from you, you can hold them. It’s recommended that you do – as early and as often as you can. There’s no comfort better than having your naked baby on your bare chest during the hospital stay. The benefits are immense for baby and mom (or dad).
Your baby will hate the thermometer more than the heel prick to draw blood
I don’t know what it is! The thermometer makes them scream, but they don’t seem to feel the heel prick. There is no actual science behind this, but according to all the nurses, it’s the truth!
Final Thoughts About Preemies
That’s what I wish I would have known. Not all the horrors and panic, but the soothing things. The ‘I know it feels like it, but it’s not the end of the world’ facts. I didn’t find these out before experiencing them. All the other things can come from being in the situation.
Above all, I wish you the birth you envision. I wish you never have to go through any of this. I wish prematurity wouldn’t exist.
As for us, my micropreemie is doing well. She shows no signs of long-term effects and is exclusively breastfed. The rest needs to heal and process, but I’m getting there.
About the Author:
Rachel Daigle is a self-employed mom of two. Her main goal in life is to help people have confidence in themselves so they can achieve their goals. You can follow her journey on Rolling to Freedom
Featured Image: Edited from Liane Metzler- Unsplash
In Post Image: Pexels