This space is devoted to your comments about the study, your experience, and your feelings. Here are several comments from parents collected during the completion of the questionnaires at the ages of 1 year and 2 years (these parents agreed to the publication of their statements):
Comments at 2 years
Our daughter's health and development is very reassuring to us. She is lively and happy and her development is perfectly age-appropriate. We cannot keep ourselves from worrying a little about the baby we are expecting, while hoping that he will not also be premature. We decided to have this pregnancy followed at the same hospital that took such good care of our daughter two years ago.
The mother is more worried than the father about E.'s development, but the pediatrician is very satisfied and not worried at all. He does not talk a lot, but he understands absolutely everything and is very skillful in his movements, including fine motor activity.
Our daughter's preterm birth was not a disaster, but rather a surprise. Today she's 2 years old and doing just as well as her brother at the same age.
It's hard to have to be so afraid for someone from his very first days. It's hard to be separated from your baby and to leave him in a place alone when you were carrying him inside you. I think I will always be more motherly with my son who was in intensive care than with my other son.
Thank you EPIPAGE for the conscientiousness of your follow-up of our child and the children who spent time in the NICU. These questionnaires have reassured us about our child's normal development.
A. is a pretty easy little boy, with character, and who knows how to assert himself. The period from 18 months to 2 years is not always easy and requires lots of patience. His language development and his curiosity for everything around him make it a very interesting period! Starting daycare was very good for him in terms of autonomy and interactions with other children. The only disadvantage: he's been sick more.
I think we are lucky. A. was a month and a half early, but we have no bad memories of any moment; on the contrary, everything went well. We don't have the impression that we have a child born prematurely. We have friends who have had much worse problems than we have with children born at term. Thank you for your study.
Thank you to all the people who make it possible to study the very or extremely preterm babies, so that they can, like L., have the chance to develop wonderfully and bring incredible happiness to their mothers (and fathers) ...
The questionnaire for the 2-year follow-up, which you will receive soon, has a section for this kind of comment. If you want yours put on the site, you can tell us so there.
Comments at 1 year
This is my second preterm child. I find the follow-up is better than in 2005.
L.'s first birthday was emotional, for it was the moment when we could look back and see how far we have come. It's difficult to think about all that time in the NICU, the neonatology ward, and then home hospitalization, but we -- his father, mother, and big brother -- watch L. develop every day with pride and admiration. L. has united our small family forever, and this story is a good lesson about life for us.
We cannot complain about M.'s health, because she's doing very well, she's lively and dynamic. The only part that is starting to be hard is the problem of falling asleep and waking up during the night, when she demands to be held and sometimes doesn't fall back asleep until after an hour of rocking. We don't know if that is related to her experience (the conditions of her birth, prematurity, NICU hospitalization) or if we have given her bad habits.
They told me at the maternity ward that L. is the first EPIPAGE2 baby. She's very healthy, which, given her weight and term at birth, was not at all certain (780 g at 27 weeks +1 day). Today she weighs 8.5 kilos. Thank you for doing what you can to improve the care of these tiny babies born much too early...
B. is growing wonderfully. He impresses us each day with his progress. His three big brothers love him and surround him with lots of tenderness and attention, which makes him develop well.
No one ever asked me after my son's birth if I wanted to meet a psychologist to talk about everything I went through. And I regret it because I really needed to talk about my distress with someone who was not a family member. It is only after he came home that I was a little depressed and was able to meet with a child psychiatrist. Now, more than a year later, everything is fine.
We were not prepared for what was going to happen because the homecoming of a very preterm baby is very different from that of a child born at term. Everything is complicated. It is hard to have a social life with work or friends because these children require too much attention.
We want to thank the whole hospital team who took care of our whole family during our hospitalization (mother and child). We want to stress their professionalism, which enabled us to live this experience serenely.