it doesn’t end when you leave the NICU

Most times when you have a preemie, your busy doctor visits don’t end with the NICU. Like any baby you have your regular peds visits, but in most cases preemies need follow up from specialists. We spent the first few years following up with pediatric optometrists. We have continually gone to audiologists and ENTs. My child has been put under to have MRI and brain scans. We’ve been going to pediatric cardiologists, we’ve been going to the pediatric Endocronologist. And of course the dentist. Having a preemie does not end when you leave the hospital. Lots of preemies have eye issues, so we had to follow up on that to check every few months. We have family cardio issues so we’ve been going there. My child is partially deaf so we go there, every few months. I never knew or was prepared for this when I left the NICU. I couldn’t wait until we could all be home together and she could stop getting ivs and blood draws and be off the ventilator. But I slowly learned there are lots of doctors involved with a preemie, even years later. We are blessed that we are very close to one of the best Children’s Hospitals in the Nation and can go to their satellite centers usually.
I use to worry because she was never making milestones. She was always two months behind and that’s how early she was. But preemies go on their own schedules and she got there, but I would be scared and worked up when it wasn’t the normal time frame. My grandmother used to hate milestones and said they never had those when she was raising her kids and that she’d be fine, don’t worry, some kids just take longer to catch up. And she did.
We’ve also been to speech therapists and occupational therapy because preemies sometimes have issues with that. We’ve been in speech therapy for almost six years now.
In all this I’ve learned to be happy for the blessings. My child being the number one blessing, our family, good doctors, faith, prayer from everyone. I’ve tried to take on my husbands attitude- it is what it is, when people ask me how I do it. Our child is blessed because our issues are minor and she is a pretty ok child considering how she started in life. I just wish when we came home, I knew what life with a preemie would be like and mainly I’ve learned by trial or by the occasional friend or person I meet who has also had a preemie. The best thing I’ve come across is prayer and a good support system and love, we have lots of love in our family.


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