Micropreemie FAQs: “I just can’t visualize….”

So… it’s been awhile since I did a “Micropreemie FAQ” post here.  Honestly, it’s kind of funny to me to think back to when EVERYTHING I wrote here was about micropreemies.  I can’t really imagine having been able to keep that up for over 3 1/2 years, so it’s a good thing I branched out. ;)

 

Today, I’d like to address some of the questions I get regarding what C. looked like way back when she was born.

 

1.  “I know you say she was small, like 1 lb 5 oz small, but I can’t even imagine what a baby that size looks like.”

 

Well, I’ll say this.  If you’ve ever held a 20 oz bottle of soda?  That’s about how much she weighed.  (She was one ounce heavier– well, until she lost weight in the early days.  Then, she was a couple ounces lighter.)  If you’ve ever seen a footlong hotdog?  She was a tad bit shorter.  If you’ve ever held a lime?  That’s how big her head was.  She was very, very small.

 

2.  “Other than being tiny, did she look like a typical/normal baby?”

 

More than you might imagine, yes.  She had a head full of dark hair, fingernails, and toenails.  There was no denying “what” she was– very much a baby.  However, there were distinct differences, too.  C’s eyes were still fused shut when she was born.  We had to wait a couple weeks before we would see her eyes at all.  She also had little to no body fat.  Her limbs were exceptionally slim and her veins were visible all over because her skin was essentially transparent.  Another result of the lack of body fat was the lack of a butt-crack.  I know, I know, that sounds funny, but it’s true.  She really did NOT have a crack.  She still has a skinny, bony backside, but there are plenty of full-termers who do, too. ;)

 

3.  “What did you think when you looked at her?”

 

I thought she was beautiful.  Really and truly.  I was also completely blown away by how very FORMED she already was at that point.  Was she skinny and wrinkly and covered with tubes?  Yes.  But she was also this amazing, teeny-tiny and totally complete human being.  I remember being positively overcome at the idea that some states made it legal to KILL her at that point.  While I am opposed to abortion at any point, it simply blew my mind that anyone, anywhere could argue that that child wasn’t a human with full human rights.  I gazed down at my BABY, not my fetus.  (If you’re interested in my mom’s first impressions of C., you can read them right here.)

*****

So, there you go.  That’s a little more about what C. looked like.  While, from a purely objective standpoint, she may not have been the “cutest” baby I ever laid eyes on, she was no doubt one of the most miraculously beautiful.

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10 comments to Micropreemie FAQs: “I just can’t visualize….”

  • Unreal. Truly the miracle of life right here. When my mom was in the NICU with one of the twins (he was breech and inhaled a lot of fluids; he barely made it), she said there were so many 1lb babies and she was overwhelmed with the thought that not everyone made it. I’m so thankful I went 5 days overdue and had a 8 lb baby — truly what a blessing. Thank you for continually sharing her story — it really makes everyone count their blessings more.

  • Melissa D

    My 26 weeker was 1 pound, 8 ounces at birth and then lost weight as she was very, very sick with NEC her second week. Her eyes were fused shut, her ears were unformed–frankly, she looked like a plucked chicken to me.

    But yes, so beautifully and perfectly formed! It was a miracle to watch her turn into a beautiful, pudgy 5 pound baby! :)

    I’ve been following the micropreemie plot on Grey’s Anatomy, and I think the problem they have with the doll (?) they’re using is that it’s not bony or translucent enough. Yes, it’s small, but doesn’t look like a real micropreemie to me. (I know GA is the *least* realistic medical show out there, but it’d be nice for others to really see what my baby looked like and why she’s such a miracle now at almost 4 years old!)

    • Pudgy 5-pounders! Ha! :) When my third baby weighed in at a lightweight 5 lb 8 oz, she still looked solid and sturdy to us! I’ve actually never seen Grey’s Anatomy (I know! Shocking, right???), so I’m not familiar with the micropreemie storyline, but your comment has me intrigued…

      My micropreemie got sick with pneumonia and lost weight, too. So, so scary when they start out so tiny. :(

  • OMG The butt crack! SO funny. We called Reese’s a raisin butt. It was the funniest looking thing. We thought Reese looked like a shriveled old man. I asked the nurse what girl preemies looked like. She said pretty much like a shriveled old man too.
    And I was actually pretty impressed with Grey’s preemie doll. I thought he had translucent-ish eye lids and normally the babies are clearly clean and 10 pounds being passed off as just delivered or hours old. Though it does look pretty fake. But I figured I give them a break since they can’t exactly hire a preemie actor. ;)

  • Becky

    I think my preemies looked like aliens with the bones and translucent/red skin. My daughter at 1#9oz and son at 2#5oz looked very different even from each other – my son had a bit more fat and was less red – of course then he got very sick and was on a jet vent so he looked different still. We were so excited when my daughter finally got butt cheeks! It was exciting to see that tiny bit of fat on her body. By then she was close to coming home, though. To help with the visualization, we put my husband’s (washed) wedding ring up up my daughter’s arm all the way to her shoulder and took a picture. Seems a common thing for the nurses to suggest.

    • Oh, I love the image of the wedding band on the arm! They slid my husband’s band on her arm and it still looked huge… so we tried mine (a 4 1/2). Even my tiny ring slid up to her shoulder. Amazing how tiny these little babies really are, isn’t it?!?

      I bet there was a significant difference between your two babies… even a few ounces has such an impact when they’re so small. :)

  • Susan

    I just found your website. Just to let you know, they do grow up, even micro preemies. My 1 pound 8 ouncer is now a killer soccer player, basketball forward, almost a black belt, in a rock band and just got a A- in Algebra in summer school. He’s tall, strong, smart and popular…and can’t wait to start 6th grade this fall.

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