Itty Bitty Baby Tips
|By: Kerry Bone|
|While many parents of preemies had
planned before the birth of their premature baby to have
additional children in their future, but after the nicu
trauma they may question whether or not to pursue another
child. The following tips are written to help guide you
through the difficult decision, and, hopefully, leave you
better informed in the event you do opt for another
pregnancy. Many of the tips are taken from Your
Premature Baby, by Helen Harrison and Parenting
Your Premature Baby, by Janine Jason, M.D. and
Antonia Van Der Meer, both excellent "bibles"
for preemie parents.
As a first step, Jason and Van Der Meer suggest starting by asking yourself some hard questions before becoming pregnant. (see below) While you may not have any clear-cut answers for these questions, they can help gauge if you are ready. Remember above all else, if deep in your heart you wish for another child, there are many ways to have one, even if you decide you cannot carry another child, for any reason. Open your heart and your mind to all the options out there, and you can find the family you have dream of having.
1. Realize you have an increased chance for premature delivery, which can be anywhere from 10% on up, depending on differing medical opinions and the complications you experienced. Could you adjust to another premature baby? Another ride on the NICU roller coaster? Do you have the time and energy to endure another NICU journey? Can you make it through another rough year or two with your second baby? How would you feel about delivering another baby with difficulties, even if they went full-term? What about the chances of having a baby with life long special needs? (Even harder if your first preemie continues to have special needs.) Could you still meet the needs of your other children?
2. How does your partner feel? What about his work situation? Could it adjust to a high-risk pregnancy or birth where you require full time assistance in caring for you and your children? Would he be able to care for your child if you are hospitalized? Does he travel or spend many hours at work? Can this be modified? Is your marriage strong enough to survive another NICU trauma?
3. How would the possibility of bedrest, your hospitalization and another NICU trip affect your other children? Consider talking with your OB or pediatrician about these effects. They may have suggestions. Do you have family and friends that can help take over your childcare duties and help care for you if you require it during the pregnancy? Is your child old enough to spend time away from you if you are hospitalized with the pregnancy, possibly for the long-term? Who would care for them? Could you handle being apart from your child long-term?
4. What information has your doctor given you regarding your health and future pregnancies? Are you concerned about jeopardizing your own health? Do you feel you have adjusted and recovered from the emotional upheaval of the NICU? Do you still have issues to resolve from those NICU days? Are you ready to ride the roller coaster of pregnancy with all its fears and unknowns once more?
5. Invest time in seeking out a great, not just good obstetrician. Talk to the NICU staff for their recommendations. Ask other high-risk moms who they have used (a mom of multiples is good for this). If you know a preemie mom who has had a second, successful pregnancy, ask her. Ask your pediatrician. In general, get as much input as possible. Then start your search.
6. Do ask your regular OB who they would recommend, but remember they often deem themselves up to the task, even when they arent. It can take a lot for a doctor to realize and admit they are not trained to handle your special needs. Sometimes a regular OB doesnt go the extra stretch in doing everything to get you to the finish line. This is often because they dont deal with high risk situations on a regular basis and just plain dont have the latest medical information, since it is not the majority of their practice. Only you can be the judge of this, because they will often assure you they can get you full-term - a huge warning sign for you. Even though it is reassuring to hear this, it is a promise no doctor can ever make simply because no one has ultimate control of your body.
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