Raising A Preemie

As you know, my Zarriah was born weighing 2lbs. 10 ozs.  She spent the first 3 month of her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Virginia Beach, VA.  This is my preemie a year and half later.  She’s walking, talking, eating everything in site and has proven herself to be one of my greatest blessings.  I look back at the day she was born, Hurricane Irene was coming through.  I nicknamed her “Storm”.

Her doctors say she’s doing fine.  They see no problem with her eyesight.  Her motor skills are fine, she sleeps through the night, she’s walking, and throws the normal tantrums for a toddler.  She has a totally different personality from her brother.  He’s loving and likes to cuddle, Zarriah prefers her independence.  She likes to be held, but she doesn’t hang around long.  She prefers to discover and climb over or under whatever is in sight, and is always up for a fight.  Yep, she will fight.  She fought for her life, and she continues to fight.  Hopefully, she will grow out of this habit.   

She has a huge appetite!  I must say, she eats more than any child that I have ever seen.  There’s times when I think she’s going to be sick, but it never happens.  When she doesn’t want anymore, she will turn her head, spit it out or just stop eating if she’s feeding herself.  Her grandfather and I took her to Golden Corral for dinner.  She ate the biggest plate of mashed potatoes and gravy that I’ve ever seen.  The people sitting next to us looked and looked.  Finally, I spoke up and said she will eat until the bottom falls out.  We engaged in further conversation, and found out that they too had a preemie who was at that time 10.  She had caught up and grown into a beautiful young lady. 

It is such a blessing to be able to write this post.  I want to thank the nurses in the NICU at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital in Virginia Beach for their professional care.  They were all excellent, and will be forever in our hearts and prayers.  I remember the first time that I saw Zarriah.  I truly believed that I would pass out.  She was so tiny, in an incubator and wires everywhere.  I broke out in a sweat.  The nurses comforted me, and assured me that they were skilled and she would be fine.  Zarriah has been back to visit the NICU on several occasions.  We thought it was important for her to keep the connection with those who fought  as hard as she did to save her life. 

Are you raising a preemie or know someone who is?  Have they caught up or did they remain small?  Leave me a comment, I would love to connect with other raising preemies. 

Meet My New Granddaughter

Meet my new granddaughter Zarriah pronounced Zar-re-ah.  Her due date was early November, but she decided to make an early appearance on August 28, 2011.  Zarriah arrived at 31 weeks, and has caused Mawmaw to lose quite a bit of sleep the past few weeks.  She weighed 2 lbs. 10 oz., but thankfully she is gaining weight gradually and is doing well. 

I was preparing to host my daughter’s baby shower the week-end she arrived.  It was the strangest week.  We had experienced an earthquake, which is quite unusual in my part of the world.  The earthquake was followed a week later with Hurricane Irene.  Needless to say, I’ve nicknamed her Storm.  The past 2 weeks have been filled with fear, joy, exhaustion, hope, prayer and the list goes on.  We’re now focused on getting her nursery together and Zarriah gaining weight.  She’s past the 3 lb. mark now, so hopefully it won’t be long before we have her safe at home. 

I love the concept of Kangarooing the Baby.  It was a new concept for me, my daughter weighted 7 lbs. 13 ozs. when she was born, so premature babies was an area that I was totally unfamiliar with.  I still haven’t been able to hold my granddaughter, my daughter and SIL are the only 2 people are allowed to handle her besides the nursing staff, but I’m there for support.  For those who are unfamiliar as well, it is a concept where the baby is placed on mommy or daddy’s bare chest and their head turned so they can hear the parent’s heart beat.  It also allows for easy nursing and allows the baby to fall into a deep sleep so they conserve energy. 

I think this concept has really helped with Zarriah.  She wasn’t receptive to anyone holding or touching her at birth, but now she loves for mommy to hold and sing to her.  I must say that my SIL is doing a great job kangarooing as well.  The first time that I saw him remove his shirt and hold her it was hilarious.  More fathers should be involved, he is the only man that I’ve seen holding their baby in the NICU nursery since we’ve been there.

We’re working on the nursery now.  We think it’s important to have a bright, cheery environment to bring Zarriah home to.  Our initial plan was to paint the nursery yellow with teddy bears.  We now decided on a Beautiful Butterfly theme.  We’re doing lavender walls with teal, pink and purple butterflies.  I’m going to stencil the words “Beautiful Butterfly” around the room.  We purchased the crib and changing table and decided to use the rocker we used in Xavier’s nursery.  Stay tuned for the post on the nursery.