In all my years of nursing, I can say that working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was one of the most rewarding of my career.
One of my smallest patients was Baby Amanda. She was born at around 33 weeks gestation, and weighed under 1 pound. She ended up dropping down to 12 ounces a day after she was born. An average weight of a baby at that age should be around 4 pounds instead!
When we took her first picture, we placed a pencil along side of her and the pencil was even longer!
I was her Primary Care Nurse and took care of her every day until she went home at her desired birth weight of 4.5 pounds.
Baby Amanda was so strong and feisty! I will never forget her not needing Oxygen or a Ventilator, she was able to breath on her own from the first day of her admission into the NICU! She was all over the Isolette, despite having her swaddled in the sheep skin blanket. I would find her in all corners of her new home and would have to reposition her back to the center!
Her Mommy was a smoker and also had Pre-Eclampsia during her pregnancy. When Mom arrived for the first time she asked me where her baby was, and why was there a little doll in the Isolette? I told her that was her baby girl and eventually after the shock wore off she held her little girl for the first time.
Baby Amanda had a few scares while in the NICU, but after two months we were able to discharge her home.
There are many studies out about smoking, low birth weight babies and all the other complications that potentially can arise. However, this study was encouraging for moms who are able to quit smoking as soon as they find out they are pregnant. Of course there are never any guarantees, as there are many other variables that can affect this outcome.
"The findings are based on data from more than 50,000 pregnant women in Southampton, England, from 2002 to 2010. The average weight of babies born to smokers who kicked the habit when they found out they were pregnant was 33 grams (10.6 ounces) more than babies born to women who kept smoking during their pregnancy, Agence France-Presse reported."
I lost track of Baby Amanda after she was discharged but always wondered how she was. She would be around 23 years old today!