Yesterday was World Prematurity Day. This time last year, I wondered whether our babies would be in the NICU or not when they were born. I was just turning 36 weeks pregnant, and Audrey and David would be born a few days later on November 22 at 36 weeks 5 days. Technically, they are considered premature, since they were before the 38-40 week gestational mark. Audrey was 6 pounds 3 ounces, and David was a small 5 pounds 1 ounce. Yet, they ended up not needing any NICU time. Audrey spent some time under the lights because of jaundice, and later she had some blood tests to check again because at about 2 weeks old her jaundice hadn’t quite gone away. David, despite his tiny size, was completely healthy.
As a twin mom, I know how lucky I am. As a mom in general, I know how lucky I am to have had two healthy babies. But the question has always made me think: are babies considered preemies because of the time they spend in the NICU or how far along they are when they are born? I don’t want to pretend to know the pain or fear of having a child in the NICU, although I did have months in my pregnancy preparing myself for it, as most twins do spend some time there. For about 8 months, we battled with David being at 3% on the growth charts (with one month dropping to about 1%), so we were constantly aware of his eating and drinking and trying to get him as many calories as possible. So do I count myself and my family as having preemies, or not?
If you would like to read more from those who have experienced life with preemie babies, I would encourage you to check out this post from How Do You Do It? on World Prematurity Day 2014. You can even see a post that I wrote last year about prenatal care with twins.