The Emotional Impact of Prematurity

I’ve already blogged about the statistics of premature births in the US and what you can do to help. But today, I want to share my personal story – the Mom side of prematurity.

Three-years ago this past September my son was born 12 weeks early by emergency c-section. A c-section was not part of my plan. I wanted a regular, old fashioned, push-it-out birth. I won’t say ‘natural’ because I didn’t think that I would pass on the drugs when they were offered, but I was going to try. I was going to have my mother and my mother-in-law there, possibly my sister too, if they wanted to witness the birth. I wanted to make it a wonderful, welcoming experience that a birth should be.

But I had developed precclampsia. My blood pressure sky-rocketed. My placenta abrupted. He needed to be delivered immediately for his safety, and for mine. He weighed 2lbs 9oz and was only 14 inches long.

It all happened very quickly – so fast that I had general anesthesia because there was no time for an epidural; so fast that I had bruises on my belly for a couple weeks afterwards because the doctors focused on getting him out instead of being gentle; so fast that my husband hadn’t finished calling our parents to tell them what was going on before they came out of the OR and barked at him”It’s a boy – now follow us”.

There are many things that mothers-to-be can’t wait for when they think about delivering their child. Hearing “it’s a boy”, hearing the baby’s first cry, holding the baby when it’s just minutes old, kissing your husband, etc, etc, etc.

  • I didn’t get to hear my son’s first cry – neither did my husband.
  • I was high from drugs that I don’t even remember seeing my son the first time I visited him.
  • I wasn’t conscious to help fill out his birth certificate.
  • We don’t have hand or foot prints from the hospital and we don’t have and official hospital picture.
  • His first picture is a Polaroid that the NICU nurses took for us since we didn’t have our camera.
  • I didn’t get to hold him until he was 3 days old.
  • The first time he ate was through a feeding tube.

Joey was in the hospital NICU for 8 weeks. I wish I could say that the day we brought him home was the end of the whole ordeal. But there was 3 years of follow-ups and evaluations, constantly reminding us of the drama involved with his birth.

There is also an emotional scar. A scar that is filled with guilt (what did I do wrong), sadness (why did it happen to us) and anger (why cant anyone tell me why it happened). My doctor tells me it’s a form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Even after 3 years, I still feel the scar and all the emotions related to my son’s birth. So I blog about it to support the March of Dimes.

The March of Dimes has taken on this devastating problem—to find out what causes it and how it can be stopped.

Call To Action: How can you help?

1. Sign the Preemie Petition

2. Join Kristine’s Blogging for Prematurity Awareness campaign and help spread awareness

3. Comment, favor, and share (Twitter it, share on Facebook, Stumble it, etc) my Resources for Preemie Parents page.

4. Post the following button on your blog or site:

<a href=”http://www.marchofdimes.com?kbid=1685″ target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j189/girlie0226/mod_pam.gif” alt=”Support The March Of Dimes”></a>

Note: 100% of the proceeds from this link go directly to MOD.

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