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Being Prepared For A Preemie: 13 Things I Wish That I’d Known

By Casi Densmore-Koon |

I was at 33 weeks when I went into labor with my 4th daughter, Sadie. I had been on bed rest but wasn’t dilated. I was listed as high risk after my many pre-term labors and complications. I went to the doctor the day before I went into labor and I wasn’t dilated at all. Everything was perfect! The next morning, I woke up feeling a little sick and headed to the hospital per my doctor’s orders. Come to find out, I was 3.5 cm dilated and contractions weren’t stopping.

A day later, at just 34 weeks, I welcomed Sadie Sara Grace, weighing 4lbs. 5oz. After delivery, I held her for literally 2 seconds before they immediately took her to the NICU. For 12 hours, I had no idea what was going on with my daughter, just procedure after procedure. They wouldn’t let my husband see her until about 10 hours after I delivered her. Finally, he was able to hold her, but I still hadn’t seen her since giving birth.

I immediately thought, “We’re not prepared for a preemie, not a NICU preemie.” I began to panic, as I didn’t know much of what was going on. Come to find out, she had some severe complications, went into shock and had to be revived for a few seconds after intubation. One of the many reasons I wasn’t able to hold her for 12 hours. After meeting with her team of doctors and nurses, I knew she would be in the best care, but I was still beyond freaking out to say the least. I remember reaching out to other moms that I knew had NICU babies, wondering how they got through it, wondering how I was going to get through it. The social media outpour of prayers was something I clearly remember, because they always made me feel better. Not to mention the fact that my baby was alive and eventually going to be just fine.

After 4 very long weeks in the NICU, we finally welcomed Sadie home with her little accessory — a heart monitor. However, we felt blessed she was able to be with us and fought through her journey. While I may be a pro when it comes to being a mom, I was not a pro at handling a preemie. I remember how hard leaving the hospital was without my baby. It is something that I can’t even explain. Holding back the tears every time I had to leave her behind was heart breaking. Knowing I had a baby but she was not with us, at home, like a new baby should be.

Here is what I wish I would have known when it comes to preparing for a preemie:

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What You Need To Know If You Have A Preemie

Don't Stress Over the Cords

It may be overwhelming to see cords, PICU lines, and a feeding tube - but, it is all helping your baby. Don't worry if everything alarms when you pick them up for the first times. It happens!

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About Casi Densmore-Koon

casi

Casi Densmore-Koon

Casi Densmore-Koon is the founder and editor of cupcakeMAG, and cupcakeMAG Littles, ringleader of her five kids under ten, and her darling hubs. When she isn’t writing, interviewing celebs, and styling clients, you can find her reading the “weeklies,” wishing she had a nanny, and chasing after her little ones! Read bio and latest posts → Read Casi's latest posts →

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20 thoughts on “Being Prepared For A Preemie: 13 Things I Wish That I’d Known

  1. james michael says:

    The only comment that I have on this is that your last point of “They will be Okay”. This comment is terrible. Many of our preemies aren’t Okay. Many out there don’t make it. I’m a father of a 23 weeker and after 3 years I still get mad when people tell me that our son will be OK. You just don’t know that this is true. I wanted to rip on some other things you brought up but figured this one will get the point across.

  2. Amanda Selenke says:

    My little man was born at 34 weeks, 4lbs 5oz. He was super tiny and had all those cords, but within a week most of them were gone. At 13 days old, weighing 4lb 10 oz I got to take him home. I spent every 3 hours around the clock for those 13 days in the NICU nursing him, I think it helped him come home so soon. It’s crazy seeing your tiny little baby with all those cords. But now at almost a year old you can’t even tell he was a preemie! Babies are so amazingly strong.

  3. Shelby says:

    My first son was born at 26wks at 2lbs 3oz 13in and I was only 19 I was beyond scared! He had breathing problems and he got a yeast infection in his blood but finally after 77 days he came home at 4lbs 12 oz and is now 2 1/2 with nothing but a little speech delay with a 1 1/2 year old brother born at 36wks at 5lbs 13oz

  4. Save-A-Tot says:

    Fabulous and touching article. Love that 1st year photo. Glad Sadie is healthy and thriving I will share this.

  5. Emily says:

    My twins were born at 27 weeks 2 days. I had NOTHING ready haha Next pregnancy, I might get ready a little sooner. Luckily, we had a long NICU stay so we had lots of time to get ready and lots of training from the NICU staff on taking care of my itty bitty ones so we were ready when they were ready to come home :)

  6. Kimberly says:

    Thank you for this…things to put in the back of my head for the future. I have 3 kids and none of them made it to their due dates. My first tried to come at 31 weeks, but the were able to stop labor and I was on bedrest for 6 weeks. Though, I do believe, I would be more than prepared for all the tubes and lines, as my middle son had open heart surgery one year and 3 days ago. When I first saw him in PICU, it was pretty scary to see all those tubes and lines coming out of him.

  7. Great list. I had a preemie and I wasn’t ready AT ALL. I had researched the hospital and picked the one with the best NICU “just in case” and I was glad I did. I didn’t have the bag packed, I didn’t know about the list of goals he needed to meet. None of it. This list would have been very helpful 7 years ago.

  8. pickymommi+2 says:

    My preemie was born at 27w4d…and the one thing I wish I knew about was the setbacks….nobody told me that every time they do something good, something bad could happen next….and the monitors….oh the ALARMS….I used to get sick watching the numbers, cuz if they got too low, I was all “nurse, come here!!!” But most of the time, once they’re home….you dont have many problems because you know a lot!!!

  9. holly says:

    My daughter was born at 35 wks weighing 4lbs 9oz. I was really lucky she was perfectly fine and we both came home 3 days later. She is now 9 months and weighs 18lbs 1oz. it would of been nice to know about all those things just incase.

  10. Laura says:

    They don’t HAVE to be able to take a bottle. My son was also born at 34 weeks and has never had a bottle. He started with an NG tube of only my colostrum and milk, and then went on to breastfeeding, which if mom is able, is way more beneficial than artificial milk, especially for a preemie with a compromised immune system. Skin-to-skin contact has also been shown to be hugely beneficial. I was fortunate to be able to stay with my preemie 24/7 for 10 days, when he was discharged.

  11. Alicia says:

    My baby was born at 32 weeks (eight weeks premature) she weighed 2 pounds and 15 ounces. I was in the hospital with preclampsia and the doctors said she was shutting down my liver so they took her emergency c-section. She stayed in the NICU for about a month. They basically wanted her to gain weight and learn how to suck from a bottle. She was seriously a miracle baby because most babies that small have complications. She came home at 3 pounds and 15 ounces. :-)

  12. Heather says:

    My little princess was born at just under 30 weeks, but she was born at 4lbs 2oz (well over the average weight for her gestation). I never did feel the terror or heartbreak, because I was in shock for so long, and she was released early.

    I realize now how scary it must be for mommas of preemies. But your babies WILL be ok! At 8 months, my daughter has shown definite signs of being an early talker and early walker. After meeting her for the first time, the worker from Child Development, and her physiotherapist, were both shocked that she had been born early at all.

  13. Denyell says:

    WELL I HAD TWO PREMATURE BABIES,,N DAT WAZ THE HARDEST N SADDEST INMOST OF ALL DEPRESSION…THNG EVER!MY FIRST SON WAZ UNDER A POUND N WAZ BORN AT 24WKS. WAZ MY MIRACLE BABY,THE DOCTORS ALWAYS SAID TO ME,,MISS STEWART ITS A 50/50 CHANCE DAT HE MIGHT MAKE IT,,HE WAZ UNDER HEAVY MONITORS,N HIZ OXYGEN LEVEL STAYED ON 100,HE WAZ N THE NICU FOR 5MTHNS,DAT WAZ YR.AGO NOW HE’S HEALTHY AT 13LBS N SUM ONCES HE WILL BE ONE ON JUNE 2ND,,,THE OTHER ONE WHO IZ 3MNTHS IZ DOIN JUSS FINE SHE’S MY LITTLE ALARM CLOCK BT SHE’S A BIT SMALLER,,N ALSO SMARTER!

  14. christina haynes says:

    I think it is Great that your baby is ok with no health problems. However, it is naive to imply they will all be ok. Too many parents know that sometimes its not!!

  15. Dawn says:

    My daughter Hope was born at 27 weeks weighing 1lb 15oz.I was totally unprepared but after her ten week stay in the NICU I was ready.that was such an amazing day having both of my girls together.

  16. Christine brown says:

    My b/g was born April 6,2012 @ 24w5day, weighing 1lb 7oz She had a perforation that healed itself n was doing ok for 5 wks. Got her feeds up to 6cc an hr. then on may 13 mothers day she went downhill. Her tummy got so swollen n red, X-ray shows nothing they stop her feeding. She isn’t peeibg as much n passing no stool. Her entire body is swollen as she is retaining fluid her kidney is being affected as a result. In Saturday may 19 the doctors told us she wouldn’t make it until the end of the week as her tummy goes up by 2cm each day it is now 31cm. I jus asking for prayer for her n her dad as well it’s his first child. I am still hoping b praying for her as the doctors won’t operate becaz they believe if they do she will bleed to death :(

  17. Rachel says:

    I had my third child Luke at 33 weeks he weighed 4lb 8oz after three weeks in the hospital we took him home on Christmas day. I would just add one thing to your list if possible start pumping immediately it might be a while before they can nurse but your milk has everything they need. I know it helped Luke get stronger.

  18. Naomie says:

    WOW. i am glad all your babies have made it out healthy. I had my fourth child at 34weeks at home! and taken to the hospital. They were all worried about him being a premie but he weight 6lbs 3.5oz at 34wks. he is doing great and we only stayed in the hospital less than 36 hours. i wouldn’t know what to do if he was any smaller or had to be hospitalized. i want to praise all you other mothers with ones that had to and being able to stay strong for them.. Much love..

  19. casi says:

    Thank you all for your kind words! I am glad I was able to help and even more thrilled to read so many of your great stories.

    For those that didn’t agree with my thoughts please remember this is my opinon on my situation at the time. This is not for every preemie born as I am not a doctor, just a mom voicing what would have helped me in my situation. This is my thoughts and things I wish I would have known in my situation.

    Thank you all for your comments!

  20. Jennifer says:

    This is a great list… I wish the last point was true but unfortunately not all babies do make it home. I’m not saying one should be ready to deal with the loss of an infant prior to delivery.. or ever really… but I think it’s misleading to say that they will be okay. I’m very happy your story has ended that way though. :D

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