Existere asks an excellent question – what happens if the baby arrives before 26 weeks?
I have heard of babies surviving and thriving when born as early as 22 weeks. Obviously, the chances arent good, but they improve with every week. At 26 weeks gestation, NICU is government mandated, that is, all babies born after 26 weeks get the care they need.
Before 22 weeks, no hospital will take extra-ordinary measures to prolong life.
So what happens between 22 and 26 weeks? The parents have to decide.
Around 23 weeks, well meet with a neonatologist who will give us a tour of the NICU, and discuss various outcomes with us. At that point we are supposed to write a birth plan, with our care decisions outlined. Obviously, they arent going to recommend NICU for this baby before 23 weeks. And I suppose well make up our minds once we have more information.
That being said, we have lung maturity as the great unknown. If this baby is born at 36 weeks, it might still not have enough lung development to be able to survive, its all a big gamble. But if the lungs are ok, what other issues might we be dealing with before 26 weeks, I just dont know, and I am not up to doing the research just now.
So while I wont want to be caring for a profoundly disabled child when I am 80, I am also going to find it impossibly difficult to just give up on this life I have fought so hard for. And each day, each week, will only make that decision harder.
2 thoughts on “A good question”
It is so hard isnt it.
I just wanted to let you know that somewhere I have read (a while back) that prem bubs who are born after being inutero for some time after the membranes have ruptured are stronger than other bubs with thier breathing and lung development.
Something about the stress that they are experiencing preparing them for an early arrival.
I think it has to do with cortisol release due to their stress response.
I might email the ob I had when Layla was going through this to clarify.
Sorry this is really vague and I dont have sources, I just wanted to let you know that in some ways these bubs affected by PPROM are preparing for an extra early arrival.
Also do you know the sex of your baby?
Lara, I found the babies born early forum on essential baby really helpful as I waited for Abigail to arrive. There are lots of ladies on there who have had seriously prem babies who are thriving. They are also a realistic bunch who will tell it like it is. You may like to pay us/them a visit at http://www.essentialbaby.com.au/forums/index.php?showforum=78
Tell them your story is you feel inclined – you’ll get lots of support from women who have been in similar situations.
Thinking of you. xx