When a Micropreemie Grows Up

When a Micropreemie Grows Up

Micropreemies.

As they grow up, extremely low-birth-weight infants have a much higher tendency to suffer from a multitude of health issues. Impaired vision, hearing, and speaking. Chronic pain. Difficulty walking. Severe limitations in cognition, sensation and self-care.

But when McMaster University’s Dr. Saroj Saigal asked these former micropreemies (or, in cases of severe handicap, their parents) to rate their health-related quality of life as adolescents, 71% gave their health-related quality of life a grade of A+, or 95% or better.*

Similarly, among a control group of healthy adolescents who were born at average birth-weights, 73% gave their health-related quality of life an A+.

Meaning that, despite the chronic health issues many of them face, the majority of these former micropreemies feel extremely satisfied with their quality of life. Nearly just as satisfied as healthier children.

And I thought this was quite extraordinary, but could not figure out why this would be true…

And then I thought of something.

Your average healthy person doesn’t feel profoundly grateful to be alive. Or profoundly grateful for a healthy body.

But these micropreemies, these miracle babies, will know for their whole lives that there were many other premature babies like them who did NOT survive the Neonatal ICU.

So even when these grown micropreemies face health challenges in life, they are able to feel grateful for what they do have.

They have difficulty walking, but their eyes work great.

They are blind, but their kidneys and lungs are amazing.

They need daily dialysis, but b”H, one of the world’s leading nephrologists works right downtown.

These kids learned that they cannot take anything for granted…

And that, I think, is a precious gift of an insight that I would love to grant to every child and human being and JewishMOM (including this one).

Dr. Saroj Saigol, JAMA, “Self-perceived Health Status and Health-Related Quality of Life of Extremely Low-Birth-Weight Infants at Adolescence,” August 14, 1996.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.com user Rima R

Related posts:

The JewishMOM.com Despair-Busting Challenge: Week 4
Fill up Your Post-Pesach Gas Tank (5-Minute Mommy Peptalk Video)
This is Israel: Resilience

8 comments

  1. I was born premature and I can tell that everything works fine with me. I’m now studyig law at the university and I don’t have so much health issues :).

    I would give a A++ to my quality of life.

    Thanks for this very interesting article !

  2. JewishMom

    here’s the medical definition of Extremely Low Birth Weight babies from emedicine.com:
    An extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infant is defined as one with a birth weight of less than 1000g (2lb, 3oz). Most extremely low birth weight infants are also the youngest of premature newborns, usually born at 27 weeks’ gestational age or younger.

    • Iwas born the first day of the 29th of gestation of my weight was 1,1 kg and Iwas considered as a premature (I was born in 1990).

      My sight is not that good but it doesn’t really disturb me. I m

  3. OOps sorry my computer did act a bit crazy…

    So i maintain my 1st comment about my quality of life 😉

  4. I’m a preemie, too. Born at 28 weeks; my birthday is mid-July but should have been the end of November. Everything is fine, B’H; I have glasses with something extra in the prescription.

  5. My son was born at 27 weeks, weighing 2lb 7.5 oz but then went down to under 2 lbs. (890 grams). His twin, who weighed 2lb 3 oz did not survive. Our son is BH, now 22 and is BH normal and healthy. He needs to meet a nice Chabad girl.

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