Friday, May 22, 2009

Inspirational Story: Micro Preemies Become Adults

This inspirational story comes from the NICU at Children's Hospital in Minnasota. Six former NICU babies, micro preemies, reunited with neonatologist Dr. Ronald Hoekstra, the physician credited with keeping them alive. These six former NICU babies are all college students now.

What is a Micropreemie?
A micropreemie or micro preemie is one that weighs less than 1000 grams, usually between 700-800 grams (1 3/4 pounds) and is born before 26 weeks of gestation. An average pregnancy is 40 weeks, with a weight of somewhere between 6 and 9 pounds.

In the late 1980's babies born before 26 weeks had about a 50% shot at survival. Today their survival rate is nearly 90%.

Dr. Hoekstra's Findings
Hoekstra found in the preemies he studied born from 1986 to 1989 one key to their survival is that they were remarkably resilient.

Even though some of the preemies in the group experienced problems ranging from poor vision to cerebral palsy (about 10 in the group) as a group they have been very successful. Nearly 90% finished high school and nearly 60% have continued on to college.

Dr. Hoekstra believes the key to the success of these micropreemies is eEarly intervention and parental support and follow-up.
"If you hang in there, a lot of these children will surprise you."
You can read more about the Micro Preemies at the article on Type-A Mom.

A related article is on the Type-A Mom site under the NICU section of Mom Stages.

More on the Micro Preemies

Fowler J. May 2009. When Miracle Babies Grow Up! People Magazine.
Dyer K. May 2009. Inspiration from the NICU as Micro Preemies Grow Up. Type-A Mom.
Glick P., Irish M., Caty M., Pearl R. 2000. Pediatric surgery secrets. Elsevier Health Sciences p. 321.


Diva said...

I was a preemie, born three months early... weighed just over 2 lbs. I am happy to say I am now almost 48 years old! (And I can add that lung development ended up not being a problem... I'm a professional singer! :)

I'm walking-talking-singing proof that miracles happen everyday! It goes to show what dedicated parents and doctors who never gave up hope can do!

Faith is a powerful thing!

labnjab said...

I am a preemie I was born 4 months early had a 2% survival rate I was only a little over a pound, I even dropped down to 14 ounces.

That was back in 1986 I am now 24 years old. I do have balance issues, speech problems, most of the "preemie syndrome" symptoms but all in all I am a miracle. I am proof that prayers work. The doctors I had did eveything they could and it worked.

To any new parent of a preemie have faith they can survive I did. =D

lacyblupi said...

Hi all!
My name is Lacy Lupi and I was born 3 1/2 months premature at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. I was merely 15 ounces at birth and had severe pulminary issues, most notably bronchial dysplasia, RSV and many collasped lungs in which required chest tubes. I spent much of my adolescence in CHOP ( Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Majority of my life I have suffered with severe asthma and was plagued with many related illnesses as a child.Days after my birth my parents were told that I would be blind and deaf, fortunately I am neither. However, I do still show very small traces of cerebal palsy. In addition, I had many developmental disabilities as a child. Presently, I am 27 years old in good health and teaching special education in Camden, NJ. Due to the fact that I teach in a very low income area many of my students are former preemies who often present many physical and academic challenges that most often hit too close to home. I recently earned a Masters in Elementary Special Education and in the fall will pursue a second Masters in Occupational Therapy. So despite much of what my parents were told, I have prospered and shown great resilience. I can be reached at