Just wanted to share my story in case anyone is going through it now - my daughter was born at 30 weeks, 2.5 lb, after I developed severe preeclampsyia / HELLP syndrome. We were able to make it about 4 days before she was delivered by C-section. She was in the NICU for 57 days. I drove into the city every day to see her (1 hour each way), while pumping every 3 hours - madness! Everyone would say, oh good, you can get some rest now before she comes home - yeah right! I basically had the round-the-clock feedings without the baby, while also spending 8 hours a day traveling or in the hospital! I had to take my maternity leave while she was in the hospital so when she came home I used 3 weeks of vacation and then had to work full-time again - while taking care of a newborn preemie... She had trouble latching since we had to give her supplemented bottles - so I was pumping and also giving her bottles. Luckily I was able to work from home but still, trying to get 8 hours of work done while spending about 8 hours a day either pumping or giving a bottle, and also not getting any sleep since my husband leaves for work at 5am for 14-hr days so I didn't want to make him get up in the night... it was insanity and I have no idea how we did it!! But it was worth it!!
The first 3 months after she came home were really tough but then if you can survive for 3 mos, most babies settle into a schedule and become less demanding and more into sleeping :) Now she is almost 1, she has been growing and learning so much. We had to go to specialists - eye checks, neurologist, hemangioma (she has 1 on her head that ulcerated at 6 mos)- I've been into Boston's Children's hospital about 12 times since she came home. We've worked with Early Intervention to keep her on track with her development. She's clearly behind other babies the same chronological age, but she's on track for her corrected age. She's so much fun and I love being a mommy!
If anyone is going through this, just know that babies are born early all the time and there has been so much advancement in medicine that it's amazing what they can do - the stories in the NICU about babies born way earlier & half her size shocked me, some of them are 20 yrs old now! She's healthy and happy now and it all goes by so fast, before you know it your baby is home :)