Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Little 23 Weeker?

A common use of ultrasound in early pregnancy is to calculate gestational age. For this purpose, an ultrasound is considered a highly accurate means of dating a pregnancy.

I was about nine weeks when I had my first ultrasound.  Behold, cute peanut Samuel.  :)

Anyway.  Reminiscing isn't my point.  See the dates at the bottom?  Remember my first paragraph about the gestational dates given by an early ultrasound being very accurate?

Both dates above put Samuel being born soundly at 23 weeks gestation.  I know that we received the July 4th date at some point...but I searched through all of the other ultrasounds, prenatal appointments, etc....and I honestly can't figure out where that date came from. 

If you know much about preemies, you know that just a few days make a BIG difference.  If you compare survival rates of 23 and 24 weekers you would be staggered. 

I'm not saying he WAS a 23 weeker...but it certainly would account for his more difficult than average NICU stay (NEC w/perforated bowel, PIE lung disease, pneumothorax, 7 weeks on the ventilator, growth issues, and 125 days hospitalized.)  Either way, I'm thanking God every day for this baby of mine.


  1. God had His hand all over Samuel and He still does. He has something wonderful in store for Him and for you all!!! Hugs..Joey

  2. My water broke at 23 weeks and 5 days and one nurse suggested to me that if the baby were born that day, we should consider not having her resuscitated. Fortunately, I lasted another 6 days. I am so grateful for that. But you are right, there is a significant difference in terms of outcomes for 23 weekers vs 24 weekers.

    I love the photo above....what a happy little guy. He has a great smile.

  3. Wow! Looking back at my ultrasound dates, I'm fairly certain that my twins were born at 24 weeks 1 day; however, the NICU says they are 23 weekers being born at 23 weeks 5 days. I would rather go with the 24 weeks because as you said, statistics are so much better for that. Either way, 23 or 24 weeks is way too early as we both know. What gestational age did they say for Samuel?

    Samuel is one happy little baby boy - love the picture!

  4. Michelle, When I went into Labor and Delivery, they couldn't find my records (and being the silly girl I was, I had been telling everyone the July 4th date because it put me the furthest I told them that date.) No one ever questioned how far along I told them. When I went into labor, they had me as 23 weeks and 6 days....then 24 and 2 day at time of birth.

  5. I guess it's one more thing we won't ever know. I tried to get my medical records to confirm their gestational age, but when I went to the medical records office, they told me it was pages upon pages long and each page was $10! So, now I just say 24 weeks because it is between the two dates. You think Samuel might actually be just 23 weeks (as in not 23/6)? That would be surprising to me based on how well he is doing. Then again, I am still amazed at how well my kids and Samuel are doing as 24 weekers.

  6. Michelle,
    I'm not sure exactly what you mean but yes, I think there is a good possibility that Samuel was born literally as a 23 weeker. The top date actually placed him at 22 weeks, 6 days (which we both know is impossible) and the bottom date placed him at 23 weeks and 4 days. Supposedly those two dates are the earliest and latest dates based on the baby's measurements.
    Samuel had a REALLY rough time in the NICU...harder than most micropreemies that I've read about (although thankfully he did avoid a major brain bleed) - so that makes me think he very well could have been a 23 weeker.
    Whether he was or not, I'm very very VERY thankful that he was never classified as one. I feel that medical professionals don't treat 23 weekers the same as they do 24 weekers - like they don't try as hard because they aren't as 'viable' (which makes me mad...but I won't go into that.)
    Thank you for saying that..I also feel that our babies are doing exceptionally well!

  7. Honestly, I would be so surprised if Samuel was a 23 weeker. He is doing really, really well! I have never heard of a 23 weeker without significant brain bleeds. That would be AMAZING!!! Either way, I really wish the medical commununity would give 23 weekers more of a chance. Seriously, if Samuel is a 23 weeker, we need to start a 23 weekers club and advocate for more medical intervention for 23 weekers. Let me know if you are interested... :)

  8. Jessi, I'm beginning the process of getting Samuel's medical records released from both hospitals. You are probably right (I'll trust your judgement since you are connected with more 23 weekers than I am) but if he is, in fact, a 23 weeker I will let you know and seriously...would LOVE to advocate with you.

  9. I feel like my 23 weekers (what the hospital thought of them as 23 wks 5 days) were given exceptional care. They never asked us if we wanted to save them; they just did which I am so thankful for. I guess it depends on what hospital you are in. I've heard other 23/24 week parents have been asked if they want to do everything to save them. I honestly don't know how I would feel about it all if our situation had turned out differently with major disabilities. I felt like our hospital was going with the 23 wk status even though I told them I thought their date was wrong because it made them look good. If they could save these babies without having major complications, it would show well on their records and if the outcome had been different then they could "blame" it on them being 23 weekers. Is it going to be difficult for you to get the medical records? Like I said before, they made it seem like it would be very difficult and costly to get all the records. What we both really need is to find out how they came up with their first numbers when we checked into the hospital. Keep me posted because I find it very interesting that our stories parallel in so many ways (minus a twin for you!)