Season 2 Episode 04: The Unique Challenges of Preemie Moms with Leah Harper

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Moms of preemie babies face unique challenges and celebrate different milestones than moms who carried full term. Today, I wanted to celebrate all that preemie moms have accomplished with Leah Harper. Leah is the founder of Preemie Mom Camp, an online community for moms with premature babies. Both of her daughters were born prematurely because of preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. She knows what it is like to battle for balance with time spent in and out of the hospital while balancing a full-time job.

Today, Leah is going to share encouragement for moms who are walking through this journey. Leah shares her own anxieties and difficulties with feeling hesitant to announce her pregnancies after loss and preemie births. She also explains the daily ins and outs of the NICU, as well as the wonderful resources that are available to moms today. 

Leah’s story is filled with so much hope and support for moms who have delivered prematurely. Hospitals and monitors can be frightening, but Leah explains how all of these things become a new normal. Leah drew comfort from the fact that her daughters received the absolute best care and grew strong in the NICU. Even though she was celebrating weight gains in grams and taking her babies home eight weeks after they were born, she was able to find bits of normalcy in the unusual circumstance. Here’s to all the preemie moms today! You are not alone. 

It’s hard. It feels like you’re a visitor [in the NICU]. It takes awhile to find your own routine and the things that make you feel more like a real mom.
— Leah Harper

Show Highlights:

  • Leah shares the roads that led to two different preemie births. 
  • Why she started the Preemie Mom Camp.
  • How learning preemie math is just one of the many unique challenges of a NICU stay. 
  • Leah shares about her preeclampsia diagnosis and losing her first baby at 20 weeks. 
  • Learn about HELP Syndrome. 
  • Leah shares everything about her NICU stay. 
  • What it is like to have a full-time job and a baby In the NICU. 
  • How to take home a preemie from the hospital. 
  • Leah’s advice for friends of preemie moms. 
  • Support for moms who feel alone in their preemie journey.

Leah's Favorites:

Leah's Recommended Resources:

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More about Leah:

Leah Harper is a three-time preemie mom, three-time HELLP syndrome survivor and two-time NICU mom. She served on the Tulsa board for March of Dimes and annually hosts a March for Babies walk team to raise funds and awareness for prematurity. Leah went on to have two more preemies at 31 and 32 weeks gestation. Having openly talked about her NICU experiences, friends and family members of preemies regularly seek her out for advice on how to support their loved one. This combined with her own desire to create an online gathering place for preemie moms led her to launch a blog Preemie Mom Camp in 2017 which she describes as a place for community and comfort while your baby is in NICU and beyond. "Preemie moms deserve a merit badge or all they go through with their tiny newborns," Leah says. "We're all campers on this bumpy trail together—and we’re earnings merit badges along the way."


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