Mothers Day

1 Day old. Not much bigger than the BIC brand ballpoint pen shown on his back. 1 pound 7 ounces.

8 years ago, I had my first Mothers Day. My son was 3 months old at the time, but in reality, was not even due to have been born!

Born at 28 weeks he was not only 3 months premature, but small for gestational age (SGA). At 1 pound 11 ounces (765 grams) and dropping to 1 pound 7 ounces (652 grams) he was what is considered ‘micro-premmie’.

Micro premmies are babies born less than 2 pounds and/or less than 26 weeks gestation. The list that the doctors give you as a parent of a micro premmie of things that may be wrong with your child, is both large and fear-inducing.

70-75% survival rate with 50-60% of children having lasting disabilities, with a much larger proportion of boys than girls. Disabilities range from cerebral palsy, mental retardation, blindness, deafness, developmental delays, behavioral issues, and more.

Our son is 8 years old now, he is in 2nd grade and is on par for all his subjects, except Math and Art. He excels at Math and has won awards for his Artwork. His sports skills leave a little to be desired (but that is much more likely a result of being my son – a less co-ordinated person you probably could not find than me!)

He is smart, funny, kind and compassionate. He reads and writes well and is also learning both French and Japanese at school. He has no behavioral issues. He is our miracle boy!

He was placed on a ventilator the day he was born. A ventilator is a machine you often see that breathes for the person – it puffs air into the lungs via a tube. It it often means your child will be diagnosed with Chronic Lung Disease. (Something my son has been diagnosed with – though I suspect since our move to Aus, if he were to be re-evaluated he may have the diagnosis reversed – he’s so healthy here!)

Moments after birth, the doctors hand seemed so much larger than his head!

He spent a little over 3 months in the NICU and the fun times included (in addition to the day-to-day dramas) Pneumothorax (Collapsed lungs), Full Blood transfusion, various infections, feeding difficulties, almost daily bradycardia incidents (heart beating too slow), breathing stopping on various all-too-frequent occasions.

Fun stuff!

Holding Hands – holding my pinky finger the day after he was born

Holding babies these small is not usually an option right at the beginning, their skin is so fragile that movement and touch can be physically painful for them. ‘holding hands’ is the closest we got other than a few family photos for the first few days.

Nearly 3 weeks old and his fist still fits in daddys wedding ring

I wish I had taken this ring photo earlier, he was nearly 3 weeks old here. Had we taken it the first few days after birth he would have been wearing it as a bracelet. FYI my husband has small fingers, this ring is a size 7.5 women’s (I know this because I am a size 7 and this is only slightly large on me.)

Pacifier is getting smaller!

In the photo above he is nearly 4 weeks old! As you can see the pacifier is getting smaller….or maybe… he is getting bigger!

9 Weeks old! Pacifier is IN the mouth and shrinking!

And… a few weeks after he came home (4 months old) at just over 5 pounds:

Lastly, a photo take today.

8 years (almost to the day) that he was released from the hospital, and here is the very same brand and style of pen that was in the original photo. How 8 years changes things!

8 years old. The same brand of pen. How things change.

So Happy Mothers Day to me and all the mothers out there ! I have a happy, healthy, growing and thriving boy – what more could a mother ask for?

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21 thoughts on “Mothers Day

  1. Happy Mother’s Day Karyn. What a lovely story of the beginning of your journey. The pictures were great!

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    • Thanks Meg! I saw there are two (TWO!!) posts of yours in my reader! Working my way through friends blogs right now and will get to read them soon – very excited, you must be on a roll! ;)

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      • Haha.. yea, I did do two posts this month! I am always thinking of writing, I just never know what to talk about. The last post was EASY, it was all about getting to see Jenny Lawson in person. Too bad I was too tongue tied when I actually got up there to talk to her!

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  2. Thank you for sharing what has to be the greatest miracle you’ll ever experience.

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  3. Elyse says:

    Karyn, what a beautiful continuation of a story of survival. I am so happy for you and for your son and husband. Thank god for modern medicine!

    My great-niece/goddaughter was born at 31 weeks (3 lbs 13 oz) and spent 2 months in neo-natal-ICU. Like your son, she is thriving, healthy and happy at 5 — tall for her age!

    Happy Mother’s Day!

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    • Such wonderful news for your family as well! I was also surprised at the ‘basics’ that modern medicine used. He wasnt growing and putting on weight well so they added corn oil to his feeding tube… hearbeats slowing? Add coffee! Pretty amazing how modern medicine uses tried and true! Thanks for the wonderful comment!

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  4. Tina says:

    Such a journey. Congratulations indeed.

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  5. Katriina says:

    Oh Karyn, I actually cried a bit as I read this. What a miracle child you have. Heartfelt blessings to your whole family.

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    • You inspired this post when you asked about the ‘deathly ill’ part of my resume – so there you go! It made me think that this would make a wonderful Mothers Day post – hope your mothers day was fab!

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  6. I too cried reading your wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing this miracle with us. The photos really bring to life the fragility of your son as the little soul he was. I am humbled by the strength and dedication of both the professionals and the families who manage, somehow, to cope with the unimaginable stress of these situations. May you, your wonderful son and your family enjoy a well deserved Mothers Day!

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  7. Dor says:

    Oh, what a heartrending story and how difficult it must have been for you as a brand new Mom to watch your son struggle so. And like a miracle, here he is a thriving boy. What a Mother’s Day Gift he must be with every single day. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  8. How utterly beautiful,this child and your steadfast faith in him. NICUs are the scene of such miracles. Happy Mother’s Day, and I salute your journey. No one can ever say a mother never knew true hope and faith.

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  9. etomczyk says:

    Karyn, this story was so touching. What an amazing miracle you have running around you every day, calling you mom. What a wonderful story of hope, as well, for all those parents who are in the precarious place you were in just eight years ago. Bravo!

    P.S. You told this story so well. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.

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    • Thank you Eleanor! Yes he is our miracle, but it is easy to forget the past when you are busy with day-to-day life. It was good to go back and remember and appreciate how very lucky we are.

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  10. Karyn…girlfriend. THIS is beautiful. And I’m kinda weepy now. But what a beautiful thing.

    The picture with your husband’s wedding band is perfect. That says it all.

    What a little miracle he is. And excels at math and art. Wow.

    I’m not sure I’ve seen such a sweet thing so small. You are one lucky girl.

    And he’s one lucky son.

    Love. =)

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  11. I love the ring pic too – it really s the most amazing thing when I look at my hubbys ring and his (little!) fingers and think, “MYyod, my sons fist used to fit through that! How things change, and how lucky we are!”

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