Kids born at the extreme edge of viability--24-26 weeks, or at a little more than 1 lb birthweight--are called "micro-preemies." Personally, I prefer "extreemies," or "X-treemies," which sounds tougher, and tough is what these kids have to be. They basically have to go through a whole trimester of growth and development after being born, while also dealing with things like surgery, transfusions, infections, and the early onset of way-too-cute clothing.
A friend in NYC had her second kid at 25 weeks while they were traveling out of the country on vacation. Miraculously (and a lot of X-treemie success can only be accounted for by miracles, apparently), the kid is now fine and showing exhibiting normal signs and development for her "adjusted age" (i.e., against her original due date).
Here are a few of the things she said helped them through the draining, difficult three months in the hospital (2 in NICU, 1 in preemie):
- Treat every day as a milestone in itself.
- It's normal and expected that there'll be ups and downs and complications without much notice at all.
- Get regular, scheduled updates/reports from medical staff. several x/day at first, then move to daily if it makes sense.
- Like with any newborn, build your own relationship. She chatted and read books with the kid regularly.
- Everything else in life kind of drops away. Let/get family and friends to pick up the slack wherever possible.
If anyone has useful extreemie experiences or knows of good resources for getting through the extreemie stage, please pass them along. Eric Snowdeal III (who found daddytypes in its preemie stage) and his wife Kris just had Eric IV at 24 weeks and change. Eric's blogging updates to family and friends as much as time allows, but I'm sure they'll appreciate good wishes and encouragement.
So far at least one NICU nurse has praised E-IV, saying, "You know-- he's not a wimpy white boy!" See? X-treemie today, X-Games tomorrow.