Happy Independence Day! I have been taking a vacation from blogging and spending some much-needed screen–free time with my kids but I wanted to post a quick one today. My daughter’s recent drive to do everything independently inspired me to post something on Independence Day. I want to spread some hope to families who have preemies in the NICU and need hear about a preemie success story.
I’m a part of many Facebook groups that offer support to families of premature babies, women on bed rest, and women who are dealing with life threatening pregnancies. Over the last few weeks I have noticed a lot of people posting their personal stories of hope when faced with some very difficult situations. Many stories include parents of micro preemies who are struggling with infections and/or requiring surgery and many others with preemies who are struggling to breath even with respiratory assistance. They all break my heart because I was there only two years ago and I can feel each and every word that they type just like it was yesterday.
I’m writing today to show you a picture of my daughter Joy. Joy is now 2 years old. She entered this world after an extraordinarily difficult and life threatening pregnancy at just a touch over 23 weeks gestation. I almost lost my life four times during my short pregnancy due to placenta accreta. Joy weighed 1 pound and 4 ounces (575 grams) at birth and was just 11 ¾ inches long.
Joy struggled with many of the issues that micro preemies struggle with and had a few of her own life threatening moments during her 121 day NICU stay, but today she is doing wonderful. Joy is a typical (yet small) two year old girl who loves to run around after her brothers, set up a picnic, have a tea party and have her hair done. She particularly loves to wear as many bracelets as she can get her little hands on.
While she does struggle with some minor lung issues from time to time and has four to five interventions per week, most people would not know she was born so very early as a micro preemie and more importantly, she is happy!
I understand (and feel terrible) that many families of micro preemies will not have as happy an ending as we did, I just wanted to let many of you out there who are living with a micro preemie (or just preemie) in the NICU, that there is hope and that hope can turn into joy!
Happy Independence Day and stay strong. Take some time to leave the NICU, if even for a short while, to watch some fireworks tonight or just step out for a moment to breath some fresh air.
Please comment and share some advice for the current preemie parents out there with babies in the NICU who need some encouragement and check back now and again for more support.