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Were you prepared?

So, I’m reading The Preemie Primer, by Jennifer Gunter, MD, and the book starts out with some general information about prematurity, descriptions of the causes of prematurity, and many statistics about rates of survival and other things.  I’m not very far into it yet, but I was imagining parents of preemies picking the book up and looking for information that would be useful and helpful to them. 

I was thinking that the book would be most beneficial to parents who had time to prepare themselves for having a preemie, and not necessarily for those who were thrown into the world of premature babies without warning.  Mind you, I have just started the book and my opinion about its value for parents of preemies will likely be altered as I continue to read.  But it made me wonder…

How many of you, because of medical problems or whatever, were able to prepare yourselves for having a preemie?  Did you have time to pick up books about preemie babies and learn enough to prepare you for what was ahead?  Did you have the patience and the strength of mind and emotions to get through such resources?

Having had no warning myself, and after the fact not having the patience, the calmness, or the strength of mind and emotions, I remember I could not get through the prematurity book that was given to me while I was in the NICU.  I had no desire to read about anything that my baby was not currently experiencing, and all I wanted to know was what to expect when I brought my baby home.  Since I did not know what medical treatments my baby would still be receiving when we went home there was very little I could learn about it.

So, were you able to prepare yourself for having a preemie baby?  Did resource books on prematurity teach you what you needed to know to make your experience easier?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

When I finish The Preemie Primer I will be giving a full review on the blog, so stay in touch to hear more about it!

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.


  1. I had about 45 minutes to prepare for having a premature infant. Since she was 14 weeks early, I wasn’t even prepared for labor or birth…I hadn’t gotten to those chapters in my book yet! 🙂

    When Addie was in the NICU, I checked out a prematurity book from the library and found it to be rather scary…instead of reading it from front to back, I just looked up the things I needed to know as I needed to know them.

    I’ll be interested to hear what you think after you finish the book.

  2. I had some time considering I developed preeclampsia around 31 weeks and had him at 33 weeks. I had a book but I also didn’t like readingi about all the things he MIGHT experience it was too scary. I think since it is such an individual experience and each baby is different it is difficult to prepare for even if you know ahead of time because you never know what your baby might experience!

  3. I had almost two weeks to prepare myself…I looked things up online constantly within those two weeks but was still not prepared when I saw my 13 weeks early baby boy. When they gave me the NICU preemie book, I read different things in it but I looked things up online then as well. They thing that helped me most before and after birth was reading different things by parents who had already experienced or who were going through what I was.

  4. I was pretty much knocked out from the time they lifeflighted me to the hospital until the time I had my 1st preemie 5 days later. A few people came to talk to me and I could hear them but not understand or comprehend a single word they said. They sounded like the teacher on Charlie Brown. LOL So no, I was not prepared at all when I saw my 14 week early baby.

    I had a feeling with my 2nd preemie that she’d come early. Though, I had 2-3 hours to get used to it and I had been through it before, it was still pretty overwhelming. And she was 3 times as big as the 1st preemie I had!

    I enjoy reading the preemie books now that I’m not living in the moment of the NICU. I too am interested in knowing what you think about the book when you’re finished with it. Good topic!!

  5. Did I have a chance to prepare? Yes but I think my husband and I were in a state of denial. I was in the hospital two weeks to the day our daughter was born at 27 weeks so we had pleanty of time to check for info online or consult books or read/post on forums but we didn’t. We never saw the NICU until after she was born and was never told what would happen once she was born either (not that it really probably would have sank in anyway). The only thing I saw of her after I heard her cry until she was 5 days old was a small pink little body being wheeled in an isolette toward the operating room door and they stopped for a split second to say “Look Mommy! There she is” and I never could really focus on her from the drugs and being So sick. The best look I got was a picture the anesthesiologist was nice enough to take on his phone and bring to me.
    So again yes, I had a chance to prepare but no, I was not the least bit prepared except for having seen my friends 26weeker at 2 days old.
    Please let us know how this book turns out because I would love to pass the book on to others that I find it might help who are looking at a possible premature birth so they can be better prepared than I was. Now I am just glad now that it all worked out and she is now 10 months old!

  6. i did know that there was a chance i’d deliver early based on a pre-e diagnosis at 29w (which turned into HELLP a few days later) and i had about 5 days to prepare myself before i actually delivered. i ordered the Dr. Sears preemie book, researched pumping & nursing a preemie (but thankfully knew a lot because i nursed my oldest) and reached out to other preemie moms for support.

    however, i did not get a tour of the NICU, and no one talked to me about what having a preemie in the NICU was like until the neonatologist spoke with me the morning after i had him. i will say, though, that getting the Dr. Sears Premature Baby Book right away helped me IMMENSELY. i want to pick up the Preemie Primer soon 🙂

  7. I was shown around NICU but it was kind of a blur and didnt sink in. I also had a consultant come and talk to me about what could happen to her when she comes out…but I dont even really remember the talk.
    I basically just stood in NICU loo…king into the rooms crying my heart out. I did meet Amy though ♥ on that very walk around who had her own little dink in who had been born at the start of the month. We continue to be friends now xxxx

  8. no i didnt i was out in california when i went into premature labor with my son i was only supposed to stay a week ended up being there for 2 months.

  9. I had NO preparation at all. I was transferred via ambulance to the bigger hospital and it was my assumption that I was being transferred to be monitored. I even sent my husband home to be with our older children only to find out upon arrival that they had already begun surgery prep for our delivery. My husband did not even make it there in time to attend the birth. 🙁

  10. My daughter was born @ 23 weeks and I only had two days to prepared for her arrival. My son was born @ 29 weeks and I had a full week to prepare for him

  11. My doctor knew at 9 weeks that my cervix was short and that this pregnancy was in great danger. At 14 weeks I had a stitch put in in hopes that I could make it till 24 weeks. At 20 weeks I was put into the hospital for the remainder of my… pregnancy. I had neonatologists, books, the internet and every resource you could imagine. I thought I was fully prepared to have my preemie. At 26 weeks (gestation 24 weeks) to the day and time of conception I went into labor. Nothing could have prepared me for my daughter being born so tiny when I saw her for the first time. NOTHING can emotionally prepare a mother for this type of thing. That was 13 months ago. My daughter is more than perfect today. She is nothing short of a miracle. You really just cant prepare a mother emotionally for this.

  12. OMG! I wish I was prepared! I went in the kitchen to get me some water and BOOM I felt something come through my vaginal area… When I looked Down, my baby boy foot was hanging out- once I made it to the hospital they hurried up and performed a c section (may 17,2010) I was 26 weeks preg. He is currently still in the hospital.

  13. I was sent to a “high risk” doc @ 29 wks to discuss why baby was so small. Immediately after my u/s they sent me over to the ER for admission and “observation” and my hubby was told to go get me an overnight bag. Before he even got back, th…ey were rushing me in for an emergency c-sec. I was all alone and absolutely terrified – worst day of my life! Baby was born @ 1 lb 8 oz and in NICU for 76 days. He’s home with us now, almost weighs 10 lbs, and is the sunshine of my life

  14. Carter Cpo. I’m so sorry. That would have scared me too. When I saw my daughter hooked up to all that stuff I lost it, and even though I read all about it, the most important person in my life (My baby) was fighting for hers. I felt like even though we were ready I let her down. I was suppose to be keeping her safe inside me and my body failed. Of coarse these days she never stops amazing me. 🙂

  15. My daughter was born at 26 weeks and 6 days. I can remember it like it was yesterday….my first and only daughter she came within in 4 hours of being in the hospital. We didn’t even have time to be scared and had nothing ready. She was 2 lbs 7 oz. A big Preemie so they said but no matter what I cried and begged for strength. All though family and friends where there I felt alone she was mine and I was helpless I couldn’t hold her. She is 5 now and bigger than the normal lol

  16. I had no chance to prepare. We knew it was a high risk pregnancy and at week 24 that my son’s growth had slowed down, but no one said the word preemie. When I went in at 28 weeks for my routine u/s they told me to pack my bags. Within 20… mins of being there he had a major decel. Thankfully we made it through the steroid window. He was born after 3 terrifying days of trying to get him through that without crashing. In the end I think it was a good thing that we didn’t know he would be 1lb 13oz. Nothing could really prep you for what that means. Instead of stressing about it we just had to roll with it.

  17. Yes and no. As I was expecting monoamniotic twins, I knew I would deliver at 32-34 weeks. I had toured the NICU. I was expecting later-term preemies. What actually happened was the loss of a heartbeat at 27w4d and a crash C-section. What I got was a surviving twin in really, really bad shape. I had prepared myself for the best-case scenario and got close to the worst.

  18. I had had a doctor appointment that morning and was in perfect health and my cervix was thick. Five hours later I was in full labor. I’m still in shock.

  19. reading all these comments are making me cry! my daughter was born at 26 weeks and i swear i cried for the first month straight she spent 121 days in NICU! my son was born at 23 weeks (9 months after my first) we were given the option to take him off of life support, of course we didn’t, he spent 126 days in the NICU. Nothing could have prepared me for that! I wish that no one had to feel what i felt! My heart goes out to all of you!

  20. i had no time to prepare, i had a few pains which i thought was nothing, i rung the hospital and they said to come in and get checked, so i did, i left my hubby home with the kids and headed in, they checked me over and said i was in labour…, i rung my husband and he rushed in and she was born and gone to before he got there…i was extremely scared and in shock, i had no one with me…i was only 23 weeks, she was transfered to a larger hospital and spent 102 days in hospital, she is now 8 months old and doing extemely well, the only health probs she has had was being in hospital twice for broncholitis…..

  21. I had a doctors appointment that morning. He told me everything was fine. I had been cramping and mentioned it to him. He said I was dehydrated. So went about my day. Was still cramping so took a nap. Later that evening the pain got worse and called the dr and spoke with the nurse. She told me to go to labor and delivery. Long story short. Within 2 hours I was in labor. I was 23 weeks. So no I was not prepared. She’s still in the nicu going on 2 months. Still have a long road ahead of us.

  22. I had 3 weeks between pprom and delivery, nothing can prepare you fully, I didn’t know if I’d have 3 weeks or 3 days, I was on bedrest except for hospital appointments so I just waited.

  23. after spending 14 weeks in the hospital i still wasnt prepared for having my son born at 25 weeks. he weighed 1 pound 6 oz and he spent 129 days in the nicu. he was home for 1 day the was re admitted to the hospital. he is 2 now he only weighs 17 pounds he has had 15 surgeries and he is full of his share of ups and downs. He had to have a tracheostomy a little over a year ago because the constant need for ventilator damaged his airway

  24. no i didnt, was in hospital for my blood pressure. The wednesday the doc came to say i was gonna have an emergency c-section. Still can’t believe it.

  25. I had a doctors appointment in the morning and everything was perfect (at 21 weeks). I went home that evening and started having contractions (though I didn’t know they were contractions). I called my doc and they said it was probably pai…ns from a bladder infection, and to give it some time. I had contractions all night and in the morning after my husband went to work I went into active labor and almost delivered my baby in the toilet still without knowing that I was in labor (I was extremely naive – definitely had not made it to the labor section of What to Expect When You’re Expecting!) Was life-flighted 4 hours away and had my baby that night. He’s my preemie angel.

    My second preemie I was getting into my car after work at 27 weeks and I had a hard contraction. I rushed to the hospital (having one more contraction on the way) and was told I was already in active labor. I was put on hospital bedrest and delivered my 27-weeker by emergency c-section the next day.

  26. No I was not prepared. I was having low back pain I went to the er to find out I was haveing contractions at 24 weeks. They gave me something to stop the contractions it didnt work.That is when the doctor started screaming for an ambulance …to send me to a different hospital. My son was born that night then sent straight to nicu a week later he was transferred to kosiars children hospital nicu with bleeding and swellling to his head. My son is now seven he has had his share of ups and downs. I thank the Lord for my son and the guidence he gave the doctors and nurses.

  27. angelaphora says:

    No- I wasn’t prepared to bring my little angel in the world. I had a hunch that he was going to be early but not this early. I am extremely thankful that he is doing so well. 🙂

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