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Giving Birth Too Early

I hope every potential new parent would be better prepared mentally and educated for potential challenges in premature births.

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When I learned I was carrying twins, I was both happy and afraid. My OB told me twins usually arrive about a month early but she didn't say anything specific about the potential challenges that comes with premature births. Perhaps she didn't want me to worry too much.

I sent myself to the hospital at 24 weeks and 5 days gestation due to labor pains. The hospitalist was able to slow down the labor and we thought everything was fine. A neonatologist stopped by to give me statistics about premature births. They were just numbers to me. However, 5 days later while still in the hospital recovering from drug side effects, the babies could not wait. I underwent an emergency C-section at 25 weeks gestation. The babies weighed 1.5 pounds each.

When I saw the babies for the first time, I was not prepared at all. It was the first time I've ever been inside a NICU, seeing such tiny babies with so many lines and tubes in them. They couldn't cry or make noises because they were intubated into a machine to breathe for them. They were inside incubators to keep them warm. Within the first few days and weeks, they required numerous life saving procedures. The almost 5 months of NICU stay was a roller coaster ride. There were days of bad news, prayers, and miracles. We learned to be nurses, learning how to care for fragile babies. We learned to be doctors, researching all the medical terms thrown at us and possible treatment plans, when real doctors gave up hope. And finally, we learned to be parents, embrace our medically fragile and developmentally delayed children.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Parents of premature babies go through a very intense range of emotions, especially in the first weeks postpartem. After the inital shock, they have to learn medical terms and paper work processes immediately. Things are very fast paced in the NICU and parents are on the fight or flight response.

How does this research relate to our use cases and personas?

With advanced modern science, we can save babies who are born very early. However, this also poses a need to better prepare parents ahead of time of the challenges they will face.

Tell us about yourself:

I work in the healthcare field.

Are you currently an employee of Sutter Health or UCB Pharmaceuticals?

  • Yes

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Photo of Kate

Hi Lillian,

Thank you for sharing your story and the human side of why we are hosting this challenge. We really do appreciate you coming to the platform.