Through www.popottawa.org I have been able to connect with many preemie parents. The guest poster today is not only the mom of 3 pre-term babies, but a preemie herself.
The Story of …
Chantel Morin (nee Barnes)
I was born at 27 weeks on December 23, 1980 weighing 960g. My mother was sick and required surgery, which was most likely the reason for my prematurity, but we all know these things can just happen. I had a fairly uneventful, yet long stay in the NICU. I had bilateral pneumothoraces and a persistent PDA that was treated with medication. I was very fortunate to not have any other major setbacks or complications and was able to go home on April 1, 1981 when I hit the magic 5lb mark. My prematurity has never affected my health or development much. I had frequent colds as a child, and still to this day, never gained much in the "size" factor - I'm about 4'10" but we'll blame genetics on that one (My mom was 4'11" and my Dad is 5'4"). I met my milestones and started school with everyone else. Currently I do have retinopathy of prematurity and I have had to have laser surgery to both retinas that is closely monitored and always will be; I was one of the lucky ones.
My schooling was never affected, I was always a good student, A’s and B’s, and worked hard for what I had. I graduated high school having been on the honour roll 4/5 years and in 1999 was accepted into the University of Ottawa Bachelor of Science in Nursing’s Program. I graduated with my BScN in 2003 and I continued my education by working on an Advanced Nursing Specialty Certificate in Neonates and completed this is 2013.
Growing up I was involved in Girl Guides and bowling was my sport. Through the teenage years, bowling was my life, between leagues, tournaments, coaching and even working at the alley, it was a 2nd home to which I gained life long memories and lifelong friends (and is how I met my husband).
I am currently living in Ottawa, and I have been working in the Childbirth field for 10 years. If you had asked me when I was 5 years old what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was a nurse, it was always a nurse. I was drawn to it in thanks to those wonderful people in the NICU that helped save my life, my family always instilled in me how lucky I was to be here, and that if it wasn’t for those wonderful nurses that life might have turned out differently for me. I am so fortunate to be able to give back to others what was given to me, and help instil hope in moms with sick babies. I currently hold a permanent position in a level 2 special care nursery and love every minute of it! Recently I was able to attend a conference put on by McMaster's Neonatal Nurses and was beyond humbled to meet one of the nurses that cared for me and, even more remembered me 32 years later!
On July 31, 2004, I married my best friend and in 2006 we welcomed our own premature babies - Jacob at 36 weeks, then in 2008 and Eric at 34 weeks and most recently our Luke in 2014 at 36 weeks. I have now officially been on every side - the against all odds surviving prem, the nurse for pre-term babies and the mom of pre-terms!
I am a busy working mom, and have been blessed with a wonderful family. Between the kids extra-curricular activities and shift work, it doesn't leave me much time for my hobbies. I try to make time for exercise and enjoy biking and yoga. I love to scrapbook and enjoy knitting as well.
Never give up!
To all you parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles reading this, never lose hope. As grim as things may seem, hope is the one thing you must hold on to, my family never knew if I’d make it to Christmas and now here I am today, healthy and happy with a bright future. Support your new baby in everything they do, work with them, they will be all that they can be and he or she I’m sure will be healthy and happy too. Enjoy your new families.