This article was originally featured on San Diego City Moms Blog
Our daughter came unexpectedly at 35 weeks. My pregnancy wasn’t the easiest of the 4- my blood pressure was an issue after 25 weeks causing me to have to do ante-natal appointments once a week after 30 weeks with week 35 being the most eventful after being told my blood pressure was dangerously high and they needed to risk a premature baby to ensure I was safe. But our little Brooklynn was born perfectly healthy, happy and strong – a strength we didn’t know she would need more than anything else.
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One common worry that haunts mothers throughout pregnancy is what will happen if the baby is born too soon. Premature birth (birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy) is frighteningly common. Premature birth is on the rise in the United States and globally is the leading cause of death for newborns. Besides the nightmare scenario of losing your baby to prematurity, premature babies face other risks such as health problems and delays like trouble breathing, jaundice, cerebral palsy, and/or intellectual delays. If you are currently expecting, predicting your risk for premature birth is now possible and we’re excited to share this news with you today.
You had your birth plan set. Hospital picked out? Check. Doctor or midwife who you trust and respect? Check. Overnight bag packed? Check. You might not have been ready, but you were prepared. Then your little bundle of love decided to check out early, and all of that planning was thrown out the window. Now you have a preemie in the NICU and you’re an emotional wreck.
You imagined strapping your little one into a car seat for the first time, leaving the hospital together as a family, and saying sayonara to the hospital for good. Instead, you are scouring the internet to find out anything you can about surviving with your baby in the NICU. Because the truth is, you are in survival mode right now. And that’s ok.
Right now, place your hands over your heart. Close your eyes, and feel your heart beat. Notice each inhale and exhale of your breath. Say out loud, “It’s ok”. Do this from time to time throughout your day, and if only for those few moments, you will find relief.
Here are some more tips to help you get through your stay at the NICU, from one mom of a preemie to another.
Daily Mom is thrilled to introduce our readers to Ashlee Wells Jackson, creator and photographer of the 4th Trimester Bodies Project. Ashlee has been kind enough to share some of her favorite images of women breastfeeding their babies in honor of our Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign. Read on to find out about what inspired the 4th Trimester Bodies Project and Ashlee’s personal journey with breastfeeding.