Wednesday, October 9, 2013
When Daphne Miller was born on April 15 she could fit in the palm of her parents’ hands.
But over just a few months, she grew to 5 pounds and her parents couldn’t have been happier to have her home with the family in Plano.
“She’s showing off her personality more and more,” said Daphne’s mom, Misty, 30. “She’s always had a big personality. The nurses used to call her a little spitfire.”
Daphne was born at 29 weeks, weighing only 2 pounds and 4 ounces. Daphne suffered from low birth weight caused by intrauterine growth restriction, a condition that prevents normal infant growth during pregnancy. Unlike full-term babies born between 37 and 42 weeks, babies like Daphne often have underdeveloped muscles needed for swallowing, sucking and breathing — making the feeding process one of the biggest challenges.
She spent two months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas before graduating to a stay in the Special Care Nursery. That’s where Misty and father Quendell, 38, learned how to attend to Daphne’s special circumstances. Misty came to the hospital every day for five weeks and participated in a program at the nursery – infant-driven feeding protocols – to learn the physical signs of when Daphne was hungry. Misty learned to recognize that Daphne wanted to eat when she started shaking her head, sticking out her tongue and putting her fingers to her face.
“What was nice is we didn’t have to wait until Daphne cried to know she was hungry,” Misty said.
Mom also learned to recognize when Daphne was upset or uncomfortable and the differences of each.
“When she was upset she has what one nurse called her ‘stop signs.’ She splays out her fingers on both hands and her crying went up an octave,” Misty said.
Daphne was able to go home July 1 and her parents continue to use what they learned at the Special Care Nursery. As a first-time mother, she hadn’t taken a Lamaze class or read any of the books she had intended to before Daphne was born and really valued the chance to learn how to care for her daughter from professional caregivers.
“I feel like we’re in tune with her,” Misty said. “As she becomes her own little person that may change, who knows? But I feel we are better prepared moving forward.”
For now, Misty and Quendell are embracing everything that comes with being a parent of an infant.
“We still are having sleepless nights, but they’re happy nights because she’s home,” Misty said.