Parenting & Preemie Stories
25 Nov

Preemie: Food Phobia

Published inParenting Stories  |
  Written by Administrator

Feeding difficulties are not uncommon for preemie infants but imagine being aged 5 having never eaten solid food. One little Aussie premmie, named Emma Coles is one such girl, she has a serious food phobia, so she has not been able to feed "normal" food. Emma was born at 27 weeks gestation, which is 3 months premature, and only weighed 510 grams. She lives exclusively on muscle milk, which is an expensive nutrient rich formula.

Emma's parents have tried lots of different ways to encourage her to eat solid food but nothing has been successful so far. In a bid to overcome this obstacle, Emma and her family are going to the United States to a specialist clinic. It is a 6 week program that has had a great deal of success. There is nothing similiar to it in Australia.


Feeding Preemie Infants: Background information

Preemie infants are born before their intestinal tract is fully matured. Because of this preemie infants will often be fed through an intravenous device that directly enters the blood stream rather than the digestive system. As the preemie infants system develops they will progress to what is called gavage feeding, which is when babies receive their breast milk or formula via a tube that enters the nose or mouth and into their stomach. When preemie infants reach about 32 to 34 weeks gestation they are possibly sucking, swallowing, and breathing all at the same time and this is when they may graduate to the breast or bottle feeding.

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20 Nov

NICU Short stories

Published inParenting Stories  |
  Written by Administrator

Thank you to all that entered the world preemie day 'short story' competition. We have been overwhelmed by the response and found it hard to keep up as so many had so much to share.

This article contains stories from 4 of our finalists. We felt that so many of the stories touched us in different ways that we had to share a few from select finalists. The stories that cover different aspects of a parents NICU and preemie experience.
We hope you enjoy them and take something away with you from each story.

Also remember, if you have a story to tell please email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it it to us and if it is a good quality piece we will post it in our parents stories. 


World Preemie Day Short Story Finalist No.1 

Written by:India Harris

My son was born at 31 weeks @ 3lbs. 14 oz. on November 3, 2011. I had been to the emergency room with labor pains, dizziness, and nausea 11/1and 11/2. I was placed in triage and given an IV with fluids, then sent home both days. The third day I went I was in so much pain they attempted to do the same, but I insisted that I was in actual labor. They eventually checked me, but it was too late to give me any medication for pain because I had fully dialated. I had him a hour after my arrival. He was taken to the NICU shortly after his birth. I was able to go and see him the next day, the nurses in the NICU were so nice and loving. They took care of him as if the had given birth to him. He is still there as he is only 1 week old as of yesterday. The nurses call me regularly and update me. I have two other children ages 7 and 1 years old. There ages keep them from being able to see him, and this makes it difficult for me to see him as much as I'd like. The nurses make me feel at ease, because he is in good hands. He was taken off oxygen and an IV 3 days ago. He lost weight the first couple of days and he has gained 5 ounces since. The nurses tell me he is doing well and should be home soon. He was also taken out of the incubator and now sleeps in a regular crib. Overall my NICU experience has been great considering all the circumstances.

A Person’s A Person No Matter How Small …Dr Seuss

“Homebirth, breast-milk, cloth nappies and zero intervention”.  These words once defined my expectations of motherhood… the pride before the fall.

On July 4th 2002 my precious son was born by emergency caesarian section, 14 weeks early and weighing just 816g.  And while he struggled for every ventilator-assisted breath in a hard and sterile incubator, I took my first small steps to climb my own Mount Everest. Unlike Thomas, mine was not a physical struggle, but a struggle of the heart, mind and soul.  A struggle to blend the mountain of medical information I was receiving with wisdom and compassion, neither of which I possessed in any great quantity.  I was desperate to rediscover faith and hope.  Hope that he would survive, hope that he would survive and thrive, and hope that in some small way I could contribute to his wellbeing by just being me.  His Mother.


For two full days I stared at my son through the perspex of his incubator and struggled to bring hope to this seemingly hopeless situation.  Hope would show me the undying tenacity of spirit present in all of us that just WILL NOT GIVE UP.  And with each passing day what became so apparent to me was that this tiny little scrap of skin and bones labouring like a miniature warrior-of-sorts was clearly just not giving up.   Next I noticed the beautiful picture of another precious angel in Thomas’ situation on the wall, with the caption, “A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small”.  Slowly I began to trust in the process and absolutely delight in the giant strides that we were both making.

26 Apr

Douglas's Story

Published inParenting Stories  |
  Written by Administrator

This is my baby Douglas. He is our miracle in so many ways. I was surprised to learn I was pregnant as I had a tubal ligation 1 year before. I was feeling awful, but never thought that I could be pregnant. Surprise,surprise. After my first ultrasound we got the news that I had single umbilical artery. I had to go for ultrasounds every 4-6 weeks to check his heart and kidneys. After every ultrasound they reassured me that my baby was fine.

At 26 weeks my water broke. I had a midwife so she came to my house to check me out. She said my water did not break and that I was probably starting an infection. Boy, was she wrong. For the next 3 weeks I constantly had large amount of fluid leaking from me, but they kept telling me it was normal. Then one morning I woke up full of blood. I did not even call my midwife, I went straight to the hospital. Within 5minutes of arriving at the hospital the doctor told me my water had broken 3 weeks earlier and my baby was in a great deal of stress. I was then rushed to a different hospital in a bigger city. 2 days later I had an emergency C-section. I was all by myself as I was in a different city and all my family was at home. Nobody made it up in time. My baby boy was born at 30 weeks weighing 1420 grams.

After a bunch of tests we learned he had grade one bleeding in his brain. I was devastated, but that was just the beginning. I had come back home to see my three girls when I got the worst phone call of my life. There was a problem with his heart and they were transferring him to a children's hospital. When he arrived at the children’s hospital he weighed 1340 grams. He was then diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta. He needed to have heart surgery but he was not big enough. They placed him on CPAP and started a pic line. All we had to do now was waiting for him to grow. 62 days later he was finally 2000grams, big enough for surgery.

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Our daughter was born 5 weeks early by caesarean section 36 years ago.... I was expecting to see was an exact replica of our first baby born 1 year earlier.

My husband was delighted, telling me we had a beautiful baby girl, which we intended to call Rebecca. Many hours after the birth I was wheeled down to the special care nursery (in those days the baby was whisked away....and the mother was taken back to the ward). My husband was pointing through the window, “saying there she is” I looked everywhere for a little bundle like our first.....finally I realised he was pointing to this funny looking little thing in a humidicrib.

My first impression was of a skun rabbit that we see at the market......skinny limbs, bloated abdomen, and almost transparent skin....and to add to my dismay her head, back and shoulders appeared to be covered in black fur. I couldn’t believe my eyes.....I told my husband she doesn’t look like a Rebecca so he could call her something else. Something she is now quite pleased about as she likes her name better.

Things did not go well, she was little and couldn’t feed, and lost a lot of weight...the staff decided to “complimentary feed her” then she developed jaundice due to her under developed liver, and she was ‘put under the lights for several days” . All of this made it hard to bond, and I was continually arguing with the staff....I was not allowed to feed on demand and she was often brought out to me sound asleep and quite obviously not hungry.

We had been in hospital 2 weeks and the baby was still losing weight. I wanted desperately to go home and settle into a routine, however the staff were overly concerned so finally I told them to keep the baby but I was going home. After much consultation with the doctor, staff, myself and my husband it was agreed that we could both go home. I was taught how to make baby’s formula, bath her etc etc. I was determined to breast feed and was extremely annoyed at the staff’s insistence that the baby would need complimentary feeding. I assured them I would not let our baby die.

29 Mar

My Premature Twins

Published inParenting Stories  |
  Written by Administrator

It was quite a shock to discover I was having twins. In 1979 ultrasounds were not routine.I became pregnant with a due date of August 9th.I suffered badly from “morning sickness” (more like all day sickness), and despitehardly eating my stomach grew rapidly. The doctor hinted at one stage thatmaybe I was expecting twins, but then ruled it out as he could only hear oneheartbeat.

My “sickness” lasted for 5 months, despite taking “debendox” (at that time thisdrug’s possible side effects were not known) to relieve the symptoms. This madeit very difficult to work as a school teacher, but I struggled along. I had plannedto work up until 6 weeks before the birth but instead, due to tiredness and thesize of my stomach, finished up on June 19th (8 weeks before). With a slightbuild and at just 155cm tall my stomach looked enormous.

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AlbertEinstein_iconOne of the greatest minds in history, Albert Einstein was born preterm.

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Preemie, Premmie, or Prem?

Most babies spend between 38 and 42 weeks in their mother’s uterus. So, technically a preterm birth, preemie, premmie, or prem, is an infant who is born less than 37 completed gestational weeks. 

Read More: Defining Preterm birth



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