In our November edition of our Preemie Family newsletter we learned about Sophia Lowrie, a 27-weeker who was 3 lb. 4 oz. at birth and spent 34 days in the NICU.
Read more in an update by her mother, Sheli . . .
by Sheli Lowrie, Sophia’s Mother:
Sophia was born at a little over 27 weeks gestation. I had a perfect pregnancy up until that moment when I woke in severe pain and bleeding. We rushed to the hospital where we had planned to give birth. However, they were not equipped to handle a preemie so early. I was rushed by ambulance to Hurley Hospital in Flint, Michigan. Sophia was born early due to placental abruption.
She was on a respirator for 4 days and it was unbearable to not be able to hold her. When Sophia was 4 days old, the respirator was removed and I was able to hold her for the first time. I was told so many startling things. We could hold her but not talk to her, or rock as that would be too many things going on at the same time for her senses to handle. Sophia was, and still is, a champion. She began gaining weight and she needed the bilirubin lights as most preemies do. She was, for the most part, a textbook preemie. She had severe reflux and basically most of what she ate made its way back up. She struggled with the suck-swallow-breathe all at once, she had a hard time maintaining her temperature, and she had a very hard time coming off the oxygen. After 34 very long days we were finally able to bring her home.
Life at home with Sophia was both a blessing and terrifying. She constantly struggled with eating, and still does. She cried most days, all day. Being able to hold her whenever we wanted, and be the ones to care for her every need, finally made me feel like her mom. For the first year we were afraid of every little hiccup. She was eventually labeled Failure to Thrive, but we persevered. Sophia had physical therapy and speech therapy every week to work on her food issues and her high muscle tone. She was also diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. Her first birthday was a celebration like I have never seen before. We finally felt comfortable going out and began to slightly relax as we worked together to raise our beautiful little girl.
Sophia is now seven years old and in second grade. She is truly my miracle child. Last year she was diagnosed with ADHD. We made the very difficult decision to help her with medication and she has grown by leaps and bounds behaviorally. It is still a constant struggle with weight and she will always be thin. However, she is happier than ever, and performing remarkably in school. She reads above her grade level and she absolutely loves school. Although there are still some fabrics and other sensory challenges, Sophia is able to handle them and together we work through it.
Having Sophia prematurely has taught me so many things. Mostly it has taught me that our children are more resilient than we give them credit for. Preemies are so strong and so special. I believe they are here to teach us about miracles, strength, compassion, and most of all the ability to love more than you ever thought possible. Before I gave birth to Sophia I was a third grade teacher. I was blessed to be able to stay home with her and through her struggles I came to realize that my passion is our struggling kiddos. I am now obtaining my Masters in Special Education in hopes of being able to help other students like my Sophia so they do not slip through the cracks. Sophia taught me that. Sophia also taught me that when we think we are all out of patience and strength, all we need to do is look into the smiling faces of our preemies and realize they have fought harder and have more strength than anyone. That alone helps me to find the extra strength I need to be able to be the mom she needs me to be. Thank you Sophia for being the strongest, most beautiful little girl I have ever met.
Pic #1: Sophia Lowrie held by Mommy at 8 Days Old, photo taken by Anderson Lowrie
Pic #2: Sophia Lowrie in New Shoes Sitting Up at 7 Months Old, photo taken by Sheli Lowrie
Pic #3: Sophia Lowrie Today at 7 1/2 years old, Second Grade, photo taken by Sheli Lowrie
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