from the experts

that is, other preemie parents. i've collected these from a preemie message board i frequent (ok, i live there really). my friends have come up with some fabulous advice that they would love to give their pre-preemie selves. if you're a woman with a high risk pregnancy... or an impending preemie... take heart and listen to what these amazing women have to share.

what would you tell your pre-preemie self?
  • hold on tight, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
  • To take my concerns/worries seriously, and insist on a pelvic exam sooner. 
  • Enjoy every moment being pregnant. 
  • To enjoy my son for who he is and not worry so much about what he is/is not doing, that it's a tough road, but it is survivable, also that I will find an amazing group of women who are all so amazing and strong.
  • Change OBs, demand better care, quit work sooner, and you are stronger than you think. 
  • That it's worth it. That you can stay on bedrest longer than you ever thought possible and do things that you never imagined having to do because in the end you get the most amazing child out of it.
  • Find better doctors, even if it means traveling across the state.
  • It is all worth it.                                                                                                                              They will be okay.   
  • When told to take it easy/relax - do!                                                                                              Take lots of pictures, even if he is tiny!                                                                                      Demand that your BP is under control BEFORE they discharge you the first time. 
  • That it's going to be WAY harder than you already think that it's going to be.                                                                                                                                               
  • That you will get through it and they will be okay.                                                                      
  • To try to get therapy right away, don't wait. 
  • Relax more.       
  • Get a better OBGYN and MFM. Gaining 30 lbs in 2 weeks is NOT normal.                                                                                                                                        
  • Join a support group.                                                                                                                 
  • And remember, everything will be ok!                                                                                       
  • Not to blame it on myself. 
  • It really WILL be okay. 
  • I would definitely tell my pre-preemie self about the signs preterm labor. Every time I hear someone is pregnant now I have a strong urge to tell them the signs. I'd tell myself to DEMAND to see the doctor if anything seems wrong to me even if the nurse says it's all normal. And I'd tell myself to take pregnancy pictures. I don't have any pictures of myself pregnant. I always thought there would be more time.
  • There's no such thing as a "safe" preemie age, and just because lots of babies are fine after XX weeks doesn't mean yours will be just like that. There are worse things than being told you are "over-reacting" to symptoms you are experiencing. If you think you need to go to L&D, GO TO L&D. 
  • To enjoy being pregnant. To rest more. Talk to the doctor before my emergency c-section to see if there were any other options. That it will be OK. 
  • I'd tell myself what a contraction feels like, so that I'd go to the hospital instead of trying to ride out the 'gas pain.'                                                                                                                       
  • That it's not normal to feel THAT bad while pregnant.                                                                
  • To cherish the feeling of them moving inside, as it won't last long enough.                                
  • To stop working when I started feeling like crap.                                                                      
  • That things will be very hard, but we won't lose BOTH boys, and that Hunter will be okay. (Granted, had I followed my own advice back then, or known then what I know now, we might have had a very different outcome.)                                                                                           
  • And that it's not my fault, despite my own ignorance. 
  • That it isn't my fault. Everything will be okay in the end.  
  • Don't compare your baby to others. ALL babies are different.....no matter what size they were when they were born or how soon. ALL babies meet milestones when they are ready. It is not your fault and you do not deserve this. You were chosen to handle the situation. Pray and always believe! And.....if you think you have taken too many pictures take more! 
  • To celebrate my daughter's birth, even if it's too early.
  • Go out on leave at least a week before you think you're going to have your last week. Oh and those 'mild cramps?' They're contractions so lay down and keep your feet up.
  • It CAN happen to me. Nothing worth having comes easy. You are emotionally stronger then you think you are. To push for my doctor to take my concerns seriously. 
  • My gut instinct was right. You can handle way more than you ever thought you could! You are not to blame, you did not fail your precious baby! You & your husband's relationship will be strengthened beyond what you could imagine. You'll find a way to love him even more.  
  • If I knew I was gonna have a preemie I would tell myself                                                             1. That you can do this.  2. It is not your fault.   3. Prayers will be answered. God & angels are watching over.  4. Find the great and supportive ladies of the preemie palace and the bump sooner.   5. She is sooooo worth it. 
 (with few exceptions they're quoted directly.)

i literally cried while reading some of these... they hit so close to home. i think my answer to the question can only reinforce what's already been said.
trust your instincts about your body. demand attention and care. enjoy every single kick. cherish every single stretch mark. you will get through this... 98 days is going to seem like an eternity... but you'll have her home sooner than you know. get therapy... it can't hurt. take pictures of everything. help others with the experiences you've been through.

if you have any advice to share, please feel free to comment and let us know your experience.

if you're a preemie parent looking for advice or support you can join the private board mentioned above [www.thepreemiepalace.com] no lurkers are allowed and you will be asked to provide some details of your experience... i cannot stress enough the friendships that i've developed and the help and support that i've gotten from these ladies. this is a moderated and private board.
[thebump.com] also has a board that can offer lots of support and answer many questions. (it is a public board though, so there can be some drama, and sometimes some real idiots who have no business posting there.) it is a great place to lurk if you're looking for information but aren't ready to talk. :)

1 comment:

meredith said...

nice post. I was the first in a long while to have a 24 weeker in our NICU. Everyone was afraid to talk to me at first in fear of scaring me, I think. But I wish someone would have said the things to me that I later would tell every preemie parent that walked into those doors after me. I sort of became me own preemie parent board because you always saw me with a library of preemie books in the hallway of the NICU. I didn't have access to support groups or a computer in the NICU (something after two years we have been able to correct with a little fundraising). What great advice and seems like the board you visit is a good one!

I do agree and have to say though, that the bump.com is the most RIDICULOUS Preemie board I have ever seen and advise everyone not to listen to the absurd advice that the so called "experts" (with no experience mind you) give you on there. They once told me that it was my fault for having a subdural hemotoma in my uterus causing a placental abruption because I must have moved the wrong way. Please go to another support group like the one you have mentioned above!

Thanks for posting good advice.