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Our son Rowan was born at 30 weeks gestational age at 2 lbs 4 ounces due to my wife having severe preeclampsia. I made this video as a way to tell our story and to give other families with premature babies some hope.
The first couple weeks were very touch and go but fortunately his digestive system eventually matured enough to function. He was attached to a Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) with added oxygen for most of our time in the NICU. He also required a feeding tube, IV PIC line, and warming from the incubator.
All the wires that you see continuously monitored his pulse, breathing rate, and oxygen saturation levels. It made it very difficult to transfer him to be held but the amazing team at Kaiser encouraged us to spend as much skin-on-skin time as we could with our son. Our typical schedule was to spend 8am - 6pm at the NICU doing "kangaroo care" with our son and helping with feedings and baths. We were fortunate to be able to spend days with him as I'm self employed and my wife took catastrophic leave.
After 72 days in the NICU our son was able to come home. This was the most challenging experience we've ever been through and we couldn't of made it without the amazing nurses and doctors at Kaiser Sunnyside NICU and our friends and families who supported us with meals and hugs. I hope that this video will help people to understand what preemie parents go through as the typical response of "my cousin was born at 5lbs and is 6' tall now" can get frustrating.
It's been almost 1 year since our son was born and he's thriving now thanks to the amazing care he received in the NICU. It's sometimes complicated to explain his adjusted age (age of the baby based on his due date) vs chronological age (age of the baby from the day of birth). He's now on the unadjusted growth charts, crawling, cruising, and loves swimming lessons.
My wife wasn't able to spend as much time as she would've liked at home due to using up most of her leave in the hospital. Breast feeding a preemie can be extra difficult and learning to pump milk at work while away was really tough. Unfortunately the US remains the only developed country in the world that doesn't mandate employers offering paid leave to new mothers.
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