Our Preemie Baby: Small in Size but Huge in Fight

littlest fighter

Fear. That is the first thing that pops into your mind when you discover you will be having a preemie. Fear they will not survive, fear that if they do survive there will be health complications. Fear that they will be in the hospital until they are strong enough to come home. Fear that you will not be able to take care of them when they do finally come home.

But the estimated 15 million preemies born annually globally are fighters. They come into the world with the odds stacked against them and show us that they are strong. They make those who love them realize their strength. The fear slowly dissipates into pride because preemies have a way of making every little milestone something to be proud of.

When Your World Throws Your Life Upside Down

I remember going to bed late the night before my water broke not knowing that the next morning would throw our lives upside down. The next morning, as I stood at the foot of the bed 32 weeks pregnant, amniotic fluid running down my legs my husband casually mentioned I should call a cab and go to the hospital to make sure everything was ok. CASUALLY.

We had no idea what was happening, and I got dressed, grabbed my phone, my health card and a book and jumped in a cab. It was just minutes after I arrived at Labour & Delivery that they told me I was being admitted and my water had broken.

That phone call home where I had to tell my husband that ‘hey things are not ok, and I can’t leave’ was heartbreaking. I couldn’t answer his questions except that it was too early, she was not ready, and neither were we.

Thankfully I didn’t go into labour. I was on bed rest for a few days while they monitored baby and gave me steroid shots to grow her lungs. 4 days later I developed a fever and infection and it was time to deliver. I had spent the previous night awake and worried so when they started the Pitocin and gave me an epidural I went right to sleep with my husband sleeping on a chair beside me.

The Panicked Delivery

Alarms. That’s what we awoke to around 5 AM. The alarms you hear when you’re watching a medical show on TV and someone flatlines. I couldn’t feel my body because the epidural was so strong and as I took the scene in I remember catching my breath. The harshness of the overhead lights going on blinded me for a second as I could hear footsteps running into the room and the medical team getting into place. Here was the fear again.

It must have been seconds before they had me flipped on my back and went in to examine but everything slows down in those seconds. Those seconds were followed by the doctor asking me for a little push and that’s it. She was already almost out when the alarms started to ring. It’s funny how the body knows exactly what to do even when you are asleep.

She was whisked away to be weighed and get some oxygen and she finally gave the smallest cry. I kept asking my husband if she was okay and to stay with her. I was OK. I was terrified, but I was going to be OK.


We spent over 3 weeks with Emma in the NICU. When we could finally pick her up she fit into our hands. She was the polar opposite of the 10lb baby we brought home just 10 months earlier. 

She was covered in tubes and the fighter in her had her pulling them out every chance she got. She pulled them out so much they were scared we would run out of places to put her IVs in. She developed an infection on her wrist of where she pulled out the IV. I watched nurses squeeze pus out of my preemie’s wrists and hook her up to even more IVs that would squash the infection.

Emma developed jaundice and had a mini dance party with phototherapy lights for a few days. She needed those lights to break up the bilirubin in her system and it took days. Days.

After having a feeding tube, she had to learn how to eat and breathe at the same time. I didn’t even know that that was something that had to learned but you learn a lot when you’re the proud parent of a preemie.

Pampers Helping the Littlest Fighter

Pampers has a 46-year history of bringing innovative diapering solutions to the NICU. Preemie diapers were first introduced in hospitals in 2002 thanks to Pampers. In 2016, Pampers once again changed the game by partnering with NICU nurses to design and introduce the Pampers Preemie Swaddlers Size P3 diapers for babies as little as 1lb.

Some preemies come with their own special sets of needs though. Health issues like hyperbilirubinemia (jaundice), extremely low birth weight, severe skin barrier breakdown, and abdominal defects and surgeries all make ‘regular’ diapers not meet the needs of some babies in the NICU.

The new Pampers NICU Flat Diapers (only available in NICUs) are made of the same safe, gentle and fragrance-free Blankie Soft material used safely by more than 25 million babies each year around the world and can be used in any position.

They are flat with no elastic leg cuffs while still giving leakage protection thanks to their all-around absorbency with Absorb Away Liner, which pulls wetness and mess away from baby’s skin to keep them dry and comfortable. Pampers NICU Flat Diapers even have a Wetness Shield to prevent run-off from messes and we can all appreciate a dry baby, especially when they are so vulnerable.

Their latest video gives me all the feels, each (and every) time I watch it. How about you?

Do you have a #LittlestFighters story? Share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #LittlestFighters and Pampers will donate $5 (up to $10,000) to Graham’s Foundation. 

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with SavvyMom + Pampers. All opinions are our own
Aneta Alaei
Aneta Alaei

Aneta is a Toronto-based mom of four that loves a good meal, great company, and learning something new. In her free time, you can find her trying to keep yet another plant alive.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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  1. Jennifer Ann Wilson
    November 27, 2017 / 4:03 pm

    I love that Pampers has come up with these tiny diapers, one less thing for parents of preemies to worry about.

  2. loucheryl
    November 27, 2017 / 7:35 pm

    I’ve seen the commercials with the preemies and the tiny diapers. I love that Pampers created a diaper for preemies because it’s so needed. Emma is a beautiful baby!

  3. Sarah alexis
    November 28, 2017 / 1:11 am

    Awww. What a cutie pie. It’s so great to actually have products to fit the little ones eh? <3

  4. Mike Gismondi
    November 28, 2017 / 1:17 am

    Congratulations on your beautiful baby!

  5. Suzie B (soozle)
    November 28, 2017 / 7:52 am

    I have known a few people who had babies who spent time (some sadly months) in the NICU – it’s heart breaking to see someone so tiny struggling and not be able to help them.

    Im glad your story had a happy ending! 🙂

  6. Judy Cowan
    November 28, 2017 / 10:39 am

    It is great that they now have these diapers to help out. I was a preemie, born 3 months early back in 1974. Preemie care has come a long way since then.

  7. nicolthepickle
    November 28, 2017 / 11:27 am

    I’m so glad your baby is now a healthy big child. It must have been terrifying.

  8. kristen visser
    November 28, 2017 / 1:07 pm

    Pampers is absolutely AMAZING for introducing the newest diaper to their line and I am so happy they finally did!! there are so many preemies being born and there was never a diaper that was suited for them…till now 🙂 and I couldnt even imagine the feelings you were through with your little one in NICU. My first born was born with a fine weight, but when i gave birth I had a fever and in return so did Ella. So she had to stay in NICU for 3 days and with that being our first…we were totally freaking

  9. Elizabeth Matthiesen
    November 28, 2017 / 10:42 pm

    It must be absolutely terrifying for parents when they have a preemie and then have to spend days/weeks in NICU. Most have no knowledge of what all the machines are nor what’s happening. I think it’s marvellous that these flat diapers are now there for the tiny babies, they make it easier on parents, nurses and especially the babies.

  10. Lynda Cook
    November 29, 2017 / 9:08 am

    My granddaughter was only 4lbs. when she was born and these diapers would have been perfect, but everything turned out good, I’m happy that they have started to make these extra small diapers!

  11. jan
    November 29, 2017 / 1:29 pm

    Those little diapers were just the right thing this past spring for a 28 weeker I know!

  12. December 1, 2017 / 8:00 pm

    I can not imagine watching my child fight for their life. It is amazing how strong these little peanuts are.

  13. December 2, 2017 / 3:15 pm

    I am so happy to hear that Emma is a little fighter and so stinking cute! She looks so adorable and I was happy to learn about the tiny Pampers diapers. Good for them for making them. 🙂

  14. lori galbraith
    December 3, 2017 / 9:38 am

    Good fight Emma, such a traumatic arrival. Pampers is a name I trust and I am glad they are doing their part.

  15. Sandra Tang
    December 6, 2017 / 9:47 pm

    Congrats and welcome baby!

  16. Holly
    December 7, 2017 / 9:27 am

    What a tiny sweetheart! Scary indeed. What was Emma’s weight?!

  17. December 7, 2017 / 11:08 am

    She was 4lbs 5 oz so still fairly big, but small

  18. NormaJane (NJ) Nowoselski
    December 7, 2017 / 2:14 pm

    Wow! I was stressed reading your birth story. What a miracle Emma is. My girl is due to have her first baby next May/18 and we pray for a healthy birth for both of them. Reading your story reminds me that things don’t always go ok but miracles happen. Thank goodness Pampers, as a brand, is superior in this cause.

  19. jan
    December 8, 2017 / 9:19 pm

    these were just perfect for our grandson in the NICU this past summer!

  20. Linda H
    December 9, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    That must have been very frightening but glad everything turned out well.

  21. Sarah alexis
    December 13, 2017 / 1:05 am

    It didn’t even occur to me that diapers and clothes are usually too big for preemies until I saw my friend’s little guy born at 1 lb 3 ounces. he’s a fighter for SURE> 6 years old now!

  22. Tannis W
    December 14, 2017 / 1:12 am

    Wow, I think you’re pretty amazing having babies 10 months apart. I thought 21 months was close enough!

  23. Joyce S
    December 16, 2017 / 5:05 pm

    So glad for you that everything turned out, just amazing the care that the hospitals can do. Even the diapers, what a difference that can make!

  24. Darlene Schuller
    December 18, 2017 / 9:15 am

    My grandson was born with issues. He spent 2 1/2 months at sick kids, home for 3 weeks.. back in for 2 months with brain surgery.

    He wasn’t a preemie..but the fear is pretty similar.

  25. Angelehm
    January 2, 2018 / 2:08 am

    Such a trying time for you and your family I am glad you are all home together . A beautiful precious little girl you have!

  26. Renee
    January 16, 2018 / 2:36 pm

    Love this post friend <3

  27. kathy downey
    June 18, 2018 / 11:40 am

    I have seen the preemies and the tiny diapers,wtg !

  28. Erin
    May 5, 2019 / 1:40 pm

    I’m so happy your beautiful daughter is healthy and thriving! That must have been so terrifying. Thanks for sharing your birth story <3