If you’re the parent of a preemie, you may be wondering, “what will my child’s life be like? When – if – we make it out of the NICU, will she be happy and healthy? Will she remember the noises, the beeps, the trauma?”
I have no answer for you, only my experiences to share, and those that I’ve read about my fellow preemies. Most likely, your child – or your twins and multiples – will grow up to have happy, full, fully functional lives.
In my case — as a 28-weeker weighing less than 2 pounds born roughly 40 years ago — I know I’m lucky. Cerebral palsy, blindness, and other more serious disabilities were real concerns facing my parents as they brought me home after 10 weeks in the hospital.
I have no clear answers for you, only hope, and the knowledge that we preemies know we’re survivors from the get-go, and this gets us through many a tough time. My parents long suspected that prematurity affected my personality, and that gut feeling seems to be born out in what some medical researchers are calling the “preterm behavioral phenotype,” something I’ll write more about elsewhere on this blog. I call it the “preemietype” for short. Social difficulties, anxiety, issues with inattention… yes, maybe, but hidden in those seeming troubling words is actually a tale of joy.
That’s why I’m writing this blog. If the littlest acorn grows into a mighty oak, it becomes something wonderful.