Preemie Blogging Advice

Looking for support? A preemie parent provides advice and encouragement on starting a preemie blog.

Interview with Nicole Zimmerman

We started blogging for a few reasons. The birth of the twins was overwhelming to us. I was having a normal, uneventful pregnancy and their early birth was a huge shock. They were so early and so small and had so many medical issues that our friends and family wanted to help. However, we just didn't have the strength to field all the phone calls and give updates to everyone every day. The social worker told us about Carepages and it seemed like blogging was a good way to communicate with a lot of people and only have to give potentially painful news one time. I've always been more comfortable with the written word than the spoken word and blogging gave me the opportunity to think about what I was feeling and get it down on paper. It made me feel better and gave me something to look forward to. I think the twins will enjoy reading it when they get older.

Getting started with blogging was not difficult. I knew that I wanted to record what was happening so I could read it again later when the world made more sense. I also knew that I wanted to keep my friends and family up to date on the twins' progress.

As time went on and we had multiple days without progress in their conditions, we would occasionally feel writer's block. We wanted to give some new or different news (or more importantly good news), but the truth was that nothing new or different was happening. There were a lot of days that were the same. Sometimes if I had been writing the blog or a few days (or visa versa), my husband would write on the blog and he would have a new take on what was happening.

Carepages allows you to limit access to your blog page, but we didn't choose to do so. You did need to know the name of the blog page to get there so it was mostly through word of mouth.

I was a little weirded out about my co-workers reading my blog and I didn't want to offend any of the medical team who might be reading the blog, but other than that I was OK with it. It was all a little new to me then, but these days, everyone is sharing a story of some kind on Facebook or through a personal blog. In the end, we never had any negative feedback.

All of the feedback to the blog was overwhelmingly positive.

I looked forward to three things every day

  1. reports on how the twins did overnight/milestone reporting,
  2. reports on their daily weigh in and,
  3. reading my Facebook messages.

Some of the most helpful responses came from people that I didn't know very well. It was amazing to me how empathetic people were and how they knew the right things to say. Their support helped me get through some of those long, terrible, scary days.

Carepages (and the medical staff) formed the backbone of our support system. For some premature babies, it is an excruciatingly long ride on the NICU roller coaster. No one excepts something like this to happen. Let others help you get through it. A lot of people will surprise you with their empathy and genuine caring. It will make your ride just a little easier. And by the way, no matter how endless your stay seems, it will end at some point. You just have to keep telling yourself that it won't be forever.

Interview with Nicole Zimmerman, the co- author of The NICU Rollercoaster. Interview by Allison Martin