Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Trust Your Preemie Parent Instincts

26 week preemie

26 week preemie

My twin daughters were born at 26 weeks and spent 4 months in the hospital. One day while I was visiting my girls in the NICU someone told me to trust my instincts. I thought to myself, “Trust my instincts? What does that mean? Do I have powers now like a special 6th mommy sense?!” And the truth is I did and you do, too! It is actually amazing!

While the girls were in the NICU I noticed on 4 different occasions that one of my girls looked pale and just looked off. I brought it to the attention of the nurses right away and they took me seriously.

It turns out that each time I noticed this, they actually ended up needing blood transfusions because their blood counts were low. I listened to my instincts, and I spoke up.

Another time I noticed that one of my girls was more fussy than usual. She just seemed uncomfortable and I couldn’t soothe her. I brought it to the attention of her nurse and she called the doctor in to look at my daughter. Her doctor discovered she actually had a hernia, so a few days later she had surgery to repair it.A NICU can be an intimidating place.  There are so many people with many different specialties. You may feel overwhelmed or feel like there isn’t anything you can contribute or add to your child’s care.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions or speak up. It may be out of your comfort zone at first, but building relationships with the nurses that you see every day will make it easier. If you notice something off about your baby, tell a nurse right away. A good nurse will always listen to  you.  If one nurse won’t listen, ask someone else.  Trust your instincts. You may notice something that isn’t right before they will since you see your baby more than they do and you are only focused on your baby. If your gut is telling you something is not right tell a nurse. If could turn out to be nothing and that’s even better.  Every time you ask a question about your baby, you learn something.

26 week preemie

26 week preemie

Having a child in the NICU is a challenging time. Make it to doctor rounds as often as possible.  This is when you will find out what the daily/weekly goals are and the most up to date lab and test results for your baby. You are allowed as the parent to be present during the doctor rounds on your child. This is a great time to bring up any questions or concerns you have. If something doesn’t feel right in your gut. SPEAK UP.

Use your instincts and advocate for your child. I know I am glad I did.

Melanie Turner About Melanie Turner

Melanie (MD) is the proud mother of twin micro-preemie girls, Abigail and Elizabeth. In addition to her responsibilities and joys as a mother, she is a kindergarten teacher with a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education. Abigail and Elizabeth were born at 26 weeks weighing 1lb11oz and 2lbs4oz. They spent four months in the NICU where they battled everything from grade 4 brain bleeds, chronic lung disease, hydrocephalus, and feeding issues. Post discharge, Elizabeth was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and Abigail with a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and both attend weekly therapy sessions. Today, they are happy and active two-year olds who continue to wow everyone they meet. Melanie writes about her experiences on her personal blog and enjoys talking to new preemie moms and giving any advice she can.

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