- Preemie Child Member
My name is Anne-Mieke and I live in the Netherlands. On May 30, 1996
our son Robin was born at 26 weeks and 2 days of gestation.
was premature because of incompetent cervix caused by exposure to D.E.S.
during my mother's pregnancy of me. D.E.S. was used in the 60's to prevent
miscarriages, but turned out to cause health problems for the baby girls
who were born. One of these problems is not being able to carry a baby
The night before he was born, I was restless and had some stomach pains
but according to the doctors, I had had no contractions. I decided to
call my husband Eric and it's a good thing I did because at 7:30am my
membranes ruptured and our son Robin was born. All of this took about
three minutes so we were a bit surprised! (The understatement of the year...)
Luckily, he started to cry his little lungs out and he even scored 9 points
on all his Apgars. He weighed 900 grams and was 35 cm long. They had to
create a place for him at the NICU because it was extremely busy and there
was a risk they might have to take him to another hospital. One of the
baby's at unit 2 was promoted to High Care and Robin could take his place....
A thing that would happen a lot during our stay at Unit 2.
Before he was moved to Intensive Care, I got to see him for a while and
I was able to touch his hand. That afternoon I was wheeled into NICU and
Eric and I had our first introduction to scrubbing up again and again.
Robin was in a state-of-the-art incubator, hooked up to all sorts of IV's
and machines and he looked so small and fragile, but of course he was
the most handsome guy in NICU! He had an Elvis Presley hairdo and looked
so cute with his black hair and little side-burns. We decided to baptize
him that day, even though he was doing very well. It was important for
us to do that in peace and if he got sick, we wouldn't have to do this
in a hurry.
Robin was breathing with the help of a NPT. I think this is a bit like
the CPAP. The NPT is a short tube in his nose which helps to keep his
lungs open so he doesn't have to work so hard when he's breathing.
In the first week, we were introduced to the early intervention program
which is running on a trial basis in Rotterdam. Eric and I decided to
join that program and it was the best decision we made that week.
The first eight weeks of his life were a rollercoaster ride. He would
do fine, one hour and the next, he would be on the respirator having an
infection or some other problem. Some of the problems were: BPD, infections,
an open Ductus Botalli (the vein between a baby's heart and lungs which
should close after birth) and lots of Apnea and Bradycardia. He was on
the respirator for about two weeks but he needed a drug called Dexamethasone
to get of the respirator. One of the side effects of this drug is weakening
of the immune system and of course he got another infection.
The nurses allowed us to hold him whenever Robin's condition would allow
it (Kangaroo style) and when we did he had no Apnea or Brady. Sometimes
the alarms were so silent they let him sit with us for 90 minutes instead
of 20 minutes. When he was doing better, we could hold him every day and
he sometimes even tried to nurse...
he was about 9 weeks old he could breathe without the assistance of the
NPT and he was promoted to High Care. We were very happy about that, but
that afternoon, we had a talk with the doctor and he told us Robin had
ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity) in stage 2. He couldn't answer any of
our questions and was the old tale again: one step forward two steps back....
One of the other doctors came to congratulate us for Robin's promotion
to High Care and we told him about the ROP. He was just great in explaining
everything about ROP we had wanted to know.
The next two weeks everything went very fast. We were allowed to bathe
Robin. He tried his first bottle and within two weeks he was transferred
to our local hospital. That was quite a change for us and to be honest,
we gave the doctors and nurses a hard time. We knew a lot about Robin,
his treatment and most of all, what he could and could not handle because
of the early intervention program. They had made video's of Robin, given
us advice on how to take care of him and most of all, they had given us
the self-confidence that we knew what was best for Robin. So whenever
we felt something happened that Robin couldn't handle, we would call a
doctor or nurse and tell them so.
On September 4th, my due date, we could take him home. He had been in
the hospital for 96 days. When he came home, he weighed almost 3000 grams
and he even fitted in a normal baby's clothes size. Having him home was
very exciting. We hadn't told anyone we were going to pick him up. The
first night we didn't sleep at all. If he made any noises, we would check
on him. But if he was silent for ten minutes, we would check him also.
At 7 months old he weighed 6800 grams and is 64 cm long. The pediatrician
was very satisfied with him. He seems to have developed very well and
most important, he was relaxed, friendly baby who laughs a lot, eats good
and doesn't need to be checked up on so often like the first couple of
months he was home.
When Robin was 23 months old the neonatologist and his pediatrician agreed
he was caught up completely and need no further follow up.... we were
of course thrilled to hear this. Robin was sick alot, he seemed to catch
every respiratory infection that went around that winter. He grew into
a happy, outgoing toddler, who invents a new way to give his mom and dad
grey hairs everyday. At his second birthday we really enjoyed the fact
that our little man achieved so much in just two years, and he had a ball
unwrapping all the presents.
started preschool when he was three. He did great from day one and is
making the most wonderful works of art any mommy could wish for. We also
took Robin to the circus for the very first time, he was so impressed
with the horses, the clowns, the elephants and the general atmosphere.
At four years old he has started school. He continues to have problems
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