Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Three Things You Should Know About the Preemie Roller Coaster

When you have a micropreemie, the doctors, nurses, and even other parents will start murmuring about something called a "preemie roller coaster". Here are three things you should know about that "roller coaster" if you're the friend or family member of someone with a micropeemie.

  1. Micropreemies, even more than their later-term preemie peers, tend to have a honeymoon period. It's not unusual for a micropreemie to be weaned off a vent, receive increased milk or formula feeds, and be on no significant medication, all within the first week of life and all before getting anywhere close to two pounds. It's truly amazing to witness.
  2. Sometime between 7 and 14 days old, things often head south. Be it an infection, pneumonia, digestive issues, a brain bleed, or something else... oftentimes, one thing goes wrong and it quickly snowballs into a dire situation. The micropreemie who was "doing so well" is suddenly on the brink of tragedy. It is devastating.
  3. No matter how many times people tell the parents about the almost inevitable roller coaster ride, it still cuts them off at the knees. It doesn't matter if it's illogical, you convince yourself that your baby is different. Your baby is going to just keep getting better. As the friend or family, you need to realize that nothing, even being warned, has prepared the parents for the life-altering moment when their baby's health starts to go downhill. Be willing to listen, commiserate and, as always, PRAY. This is what micropreemie parents need from you.
Have you ever faced a health crisis that felt like a roller coaster ride? Do you think it's easier or harder to have those "ups" thrown in with the "downs"?

What "3 Things" can you share with us this week?

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