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WINNERS ANNOUNCED Q&A with Kate Hopper, Author of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood

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CafeMom is excited to welcome Kate Hopper, author of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood, to the Pregnancy group. Kate will be taking your questions until November 1st.

Kate breaks the silence and shares what it's like to be thrust into motherhood before she had anticipated. She shares a harrowing, poignant and occasionally hysterical journey through premature motherhood, from the starting point of 'leaking a little protein' to the early delivery of her tiny daughter because of severe preeclampsia and the beginning of a new chapter of frightful, lifelong love. 

Want to know more about premature birth, NICU stays, preeclampsia, or how to write out your story? Ask your questions here!  Kate will answer your questions starting October 28 through November 1. Three moms who ask a question will win a copy of Kate's book: Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood.

The Giveaway Rules:

The Ready for Air Giveaway starts 10/21/2013 at 11am (ET) and ends 11/1/2013 at 11pm (ET) (the "Giveaway Period"). Enter by replying to this post with an appropriate comment during the Giveaway Period.
Multiple entries are permitted and encouraged, as it increases your chances of winning. Three winners will be selected in a random drawing of all eligible entries to receive a Ready for Air Book.
The random drawing shall occur on or about 11/15/13. No Purchase Necessary. Open to US, DC, and PR residents 16 years and older. Void where prohibited. Click here for the rest of the Official Rules.
by on Oct. 21, 2013 at 12:14 PM
Replies (31-40):
by Emerald Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 11:13 AM

 How powerful!  Thank you for sharing.

Quoting KateHop:


When Stella was born prematurely I had to withdraw from graduate school in order to care for her at the hospital and then at home. I had been writing for a few years, but it was during the long winter after Stella's birth that I first felt desperate for words. I craved stories that would reflect some of the conflicted emotions I was experiencing as an isolated new mother, and I also knew that I needed to get the details of my new reality down on the page. But I couldn't think much less write in those early months.

Stella was five months old when I began to write again. One evening I went to the coffee shop by our house and pulled out paper and a pen. But instead of returning to the half-finished pieces I had been writing before Stella's birth, it's was Stella's story that came out. I began with an image: my daughter, writhing on white blankets, beamed from the NICU into the television set in my hospital room days after she was born. As soon as that image was down on paper, other images followed. After an hour, there were tears in my eyes, and words covering the page. And for the first time since Stella was born, the world felt a little bigger, and I felt a little less alone.

The story felt urgent to me in a way that my previous writing hadn't. I wanted to write an honest account of early motherhood and what it felt like to have a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit. I wanted to write my truth without sugarcoating it. That's what got me started.



Quoting meam4444:

 What inspired you to write a book regarding your experiences?




by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 11:13 AM


Family and friends definitely helped get us through. Also, developing a routine--get up in the morning, take a shower, go see me daughter, etc. That was important in helping me take care of myself and get enough sleep, etc. 

Quoting Pandapanda:

What got you through the NICU stay?

by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Hi Heather, she was in the hospital for four weeks, and it was all hard, though as I mentioned, I think not feeling like her mother in those early weeks was one of the hardest parts of having her in the hospital. What I wasn't expecting was that going home would be so challenging. It was at that point that I was completely isolated, and that was so hard. 

Quoting Heather2001:

How long was she in the NICU?  What was the hardest part for you?

by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 11:17 AM
1 mom liked this

She was five days old when we first got to hold her. That was amazing. My husband and I each got to hold her for 7 minutes, and then she needed to be put back under the bili lights. 

Quoting meam4444:

 How soon after delivery were you able to hold your daughter? 

by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 11:20 AM

There is so much long-term trauma involved in having a baby in the NICU. There have been studies about PTSD and having a preemie. The thing that really helped me process and let go of it was writing. As soon as I started to write our stories, I began to let go of it. but it took years for me to not think of my daughter as Stella-who-was-a-preemie and just think of her as Stella. She's ten now, and it all seems so far away in many ways. Though as soon as I start reading my book, I'm right back there! But I wrote Stella a letter on her 10th brithday that touches on some of this:

Quoting AspensMama1537:

How do you get over the trama of having a nicu baby?
Does it get easier? Or do you still feel like you are grieving the fact you didn't get the birth and beginning you had wanted and expected?

by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 11:23 AM

I don't know if I'd say I had a breaking point. The hardest day in the NICU was when Stella developed sepsis and I thought she might die. That was the day when I realized that even though I thought I had protected myself, I had somehow already fallen in love with her. 

The really hard stuff came later, when we were home and she cried all the time and I couldn't take her out in public. Those months were very long and lonely and I couldn't have gotten through them without lots of support. 

Quoting AspensMama1537:

What was your breaking point?

by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 11:24 AM
1 mom liked this

Oh I had a very specific, type-A kind of no medication, natural birth plan. Ha! All that went out the window and I was so grateful when the doctor finally said I'd need to have a C-section. I was 32 weeks when she was born. And she's doing great now--a healthy ten-year-old. 

Quoting mom2many747:

Obviously having a premature baby is never planned. Before pre eclampsia, did you have a birth plan? How premature was your baby? How is your baby doing developmentally now?

by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 11:27 AM

I don't know about that, skiskidaddle. I know there has been some research about high protein diets, but I don't think anything has been proven. There are so many reasons that women deliver prematurely and each situation is different. 

Quoting skitskidaddle:

Is there a less chance to deliver prematurely if you stay off your feet or maintain a high protein diet?

by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Oh yes, things are so much different now - there are so many more resources even in the last decade!

Quoting skitskidaddle:

When I was a premie, they had no clothes, my g-ma took care of me, and dressed me in doll clothes.

by Bronze Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 11:28 AM
Were you able to breastfeed
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