Continue to Learn after the NICU

The trials of having a premature infant do not end once your preemie is home.

By Diane Maroney

Before the premature birth of my daughter, Mackenzie, I had been a NICU nurse for over twelve years. I discharged many preemies after teaching their parents how to give their infant a bath, take their temperatures, etc. However, I had no real knowledge of what caring for a preemie at home truly meant.

After my daughter came home from the hospital with so many problems related to her prematurity, I quickly learned how difficult life as a preemie parent can be. I understood how critical it is for parents to have resources to help them understand preemie issues and advocate for their child’s health.

Parents need to understand that the trials of having a premature infant do not end once they bring their preemie home from the hospital. Yes, the critical weeks or months may be over, but their baby’s early birth may affect their lives for many months or even years.

As frightening as it may be at times, it’s important to educate yourself on the possible affects and find the resources (medical professionals, books, internet sites, etc.) to help them if any problems do occur. Hopefully, each parent will find a balance between keeping a watchful eye and just plain enjoying their baby(s).

Being a mother of a premature infant is an extremely challenging and yet very rewarding part of my life. Although Mackenzie is now 6 and has only a few issues that are related to her prematurity, she experienced many of the problems discussed in the book in her short little life. She struggled for many years and yet her strength, courage, and will to live has molded her into a beautiful little girl with a sparkle in her eye and a smile that affects everyone she meets.

Dianne Maroney is the co-author of Your Premature Baby and Child