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Recommended Resources


Anastasia's first year (2005)

Eating & Reflux (year 2, 2006)

Back to Sleep! (2007)

And Zane, Too (2008)

Allergies & Getting Big (2009)

Starting School (2010)

It's All Good (2011)

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Frequently Asked Questions

I never dreamed I'd add a FAQ section to Anastasia's website, but so many loved ones have asked these questions, I thought it would be useful to put this here as a general reference. I've left up old questions that no longer pertain to Anastasia, hoping the answers will be helpful to others with preemies. The questions include:


  • Why are the photos of Anastasia watermarked with your web address?

  • Why can’t I visit Anastasia? When can I visit her?

  • What is an “extreme preemie?”

  • What is “adjusted age?”

  • Why did you have a C-section?

  • What is NICU? What is a neonatologist?

  • What is the Children’s Miracle Network?

  • When will Anastasia be home from the hospital?

  • Must she be a certain weight before she can come home?

  • What are Anastasia’s statistics for survival?

  • Why was Anastasia’s skin so dark at birth?

  • Why is Anastasia hooked up to so many machines?

  • What exactly is "Kangaroo Care?"


Why are the photos of Anastasia watermarked with your web address?

Unfortunately, I've had several people steal photographs from this website to create bogus websites of their own (used to garner sympathy and money). The watermarks you see on each photo are one way to deter others who may wish to use my photographs to defraud others. I know it's distracting to see watermarks. I apologize, but you know what they say about a few bad apples.

If you want to learn how you can prevent frauds from stealing online photos of your child, please email me. Please include your website address.

AND IF YOU'RE THINKING YOU CAN STEAL CONTENT FROM THIS WEBSITE, be forewarned: I deal with copyright infringers in the strictest possible way. You will be caught.


Why can't I visit Anastasia? When can I visit her?

All preemies have weak immune systems, but for extreme preemies, virtually any germ can be deadly. Anastasia’s body simply isn’t prepared to fight off very much. Therefore, only mom and dad are allowed to visit her. (And they must go through a three minute surgical scrub before going into the same room with her.)

Like most hospitals these days, our hospital does not have a large, windowed nursery that allows visitors to watch babies. In addition, preemies would not do well under such conditions. The womb is dark and muffled. Nurseries are bright and noisy. Therefore, the NICU is kept dim, and noise is kept to a minimum.

No one can say for certain when Anastasia will be allowed to have visitors, but as she grows stronger and develops more fully, she’ll be able to have a few. It won’t be a good idea for her to have very many visitors - even once she is at home - for quite some time, though. Preemies sometimes die once they are sent home, because they catch a cold from a visitor.

So, be forewarned! We may love you, but we won’t let you in the house or near our baby if we think you even MIGHT be sick! J And the same goes for Anastasia's parents...We can't afford to get sick and spread our germs to our girl; so please don't take offence if we can't be around you while you're sick, or if you might be sick. Visitors will be kept to a bare minimum; please don't be offended. Our girl's life might be at stake.


What is an “extreme preemie?”

An extreme preemie is a baby born at or before 26 weeks gestation. The term “extreme preemie” is a newer one because not long ago, babies Anastasia’s age almost never survived beyond birth. Sometimes the term "mico preemie" is used in the same context.


What is “adjusted age?”

Preemies are given two ages: “chronological age” and “adjusted age" (sometimes called "actual age").  The first is counted from the time the baby was born (just as we age most children). The second is counted from the time the baby was scheduled to be born; the latter is useful when looking at developmental issues. For example, a baby whose chronological age is one year, but was born eight weeks premature, will probably have the developmental abilities of a ten month old.


Why did you have a C-Section?

My doctor was not eager to do a C-section. As many of you know, there can be serious consequences to having a section, including the risk that every pregnancy thereafter may have to end in a slightly early birth. When it was obvious I was going into labor, my doctor asked me what I wanted to do: a vaginal birth, or a C-section? He was leaning toward a vaginal birth. However, I knew from previous conversations with doctors that a C-section would up Anastasia’s chances of survival. The stress of a vaginal birth is very hard on a 25 week old baby, and carries many risks, including increased risk of cerebral palsy. In short, vaginal birth is better for the mother, but a C-section (in this case) is better for the baby. I told him I wanted a C-section.  Later, my OB said he was glad we did the C-section; it was the right choice under the circumstances.

Incidentally, if there ever was a time when I thought moms who had C-sections did it “the easy way,” was I ever wrong! I not only had the pleasure of going through labor, but I also went through the recovery of a major surgery. They say it takes about 6 weeks to completely heal, but two years later, I still have pain from an adhesion caused by the C-section.


What is NICU? What is a neonatologist?

NICU  is "Neonatal Intensive Care Unit." “Neonatal” refers to premature babies. A neonatologist is a doctor who specializes in treating preemies.


What is the Children’s Miracle Network?

My new favorite charity. I admit that before Anastasia was born, I really didn’t know what The Children’s Miracle Network was. But it's with the help of CMN that our hospital was able to treat Anastasia so successfully. The charity works hand in hand with hospitals to provide the very latest medical equipment. They also offer a great deal of free care to needy preemies and their families.


When will Anastasia be home from the hospital?

There’s no way to know for sure, but generally speaking, preemies go home around the time that they were scheduled to be born. In Anastasia’s case, her due date was November 23rd. We hope to bring her home around that time.


Must she be a certain weight before she can come home?

It used to be the case that babies had to weight at least 5 lbs. before they could come home...but no longer. Instead, Anastasia must be able to do the following before she comes home:

* Maintain her own temperature.

* Be able to breathe relatively well. (It's possible she'll come home with an apnea monitor and oxygen tank.)

* Be able to eat and breathe at the same time.


What are Anastasia’s statistics for survival?

The average preemie born at 25 weeks has about a 50% chance of survival. Because my water broke at only 20 weeks, however, doctors told us that Anastasia's chances of living after birth were only about 30%. When she was actually the born, the doctors and nurses expected her to live perhaps a day. However, each day that Anastasia survived made the statistics grow in her favor. One doctor told us that if she survived 72 hours, her chances for survival went up to 75%. A few months into her NICU stay, we felt Anastasia would be coming home with us. The remaining question was "How will she be affected developmentally?"

We believe (and the doctors believe) that prayer definitely does make a difference. Studies prove it, and our faith knows it. So please keep praying for our dear baby daughter.


Why was Anastasia’s skin so dark at birth?

Extreme preemies have thin skin and no real body fat. Therefore, arteries and veins are readily visible, giving the skin a reddish/bownish tint. In addition, Anastasia sometimes had jaundice, something very common among all babies. This can make a baby's skin look more pumpkin-colored.


Why is Anastasia hooked up to so many machines?

Some of the machinery you see Anastasia hooked up to is designed to monitor her breathing, her heart, etc. This helps doctors know when she is in distress. Twice, Anastasia has also been hooked up to a ventilator, which helped her lungs function fully; later, she was put on a CPAP machine, much like the machines used to treat sleep apnea. She was also on a Vaportherm, which gives her a smaller amount of air and oxygen from the CPAP machine. (The Vapotherm was recalled shortly after Anastasia stopped using it, and is no longer in use in American hosptials.) In addition, Anastasia was hooked up to a tube that goes into her tummy. It's called a gavage or NG tube This allows the doctors to give her breast milk, or as the nurses call it, “Liquid Gold.” At first, Anastasia was too premature to suckle milk herself, but it was essential to her growth rate and immune system.

Incidentally, the nurses tell us that most of the machinery they use in the NICU comes directly from NASA. One nurse said, “I get so mad when people say we should pull the plug on NASA, because so many medical advances have come from their technology.”


 What exactly is "Kangaroo Care?”

Kangaroo Care is just a nickname for skin-to-skin contact, parent to baby. It was "discovered" in South America, where a certain group of doctors found themselves without incubators. They asked mothers to hold their preemies skin-to-skin, 24/7, in order to keep them warm. The mothers did so, carrying their babies in a front sack created with a large scarf (thereby inspiring the name "Kangaroo Care"). Not only did it work, but the doctors found the premature babies thrived. Their breathing was better, as was their overall health. Study after study shows that little babies who are held skin-to-skin do far better than those who are only touched for medical reasons. For more details, check out this article: http://www.prematurity.org/baby/kangaroo.html



Fast Facts about Prematurity

According to The March of Dimes, studies "reveal that some 12.5 percent of all babies—about 508,000—were born at less than 37 weeks gestation...This is an increase of 33 percent since 1981.”

Prematurity is the the number one cause of death and illness in infants.

The University of Florida concluded that "extremely low birth-weight newborns—those weighing less than about 2 pounds at birth—have about a 60 percent chance of surviving their first year.” This is a major improvement from decades past, but we are still loosing a lot of babies.

U.S. News & World Report states "1 in 10 premature babies will develop a permanent disability such as lung disease, cerebral palsy, blindness or deafness....50% of premature babies born before the 26th week of gestation are disabled, a quarter severely so.”

And, as a reminder, when my water broke at 20 weeks, the doctors felt Anastasia had almost no chance of surviving. When I delivered her at 25 weeks, her chances were considered 30%.



Last update: July 1, 2007.