Eighteen and a half years ago, son 1 was a tiny baby wired up to a bank of machines in neonatal intensive care. We were lucky that he survived, even though at 5lbs 1oz he was one of the biggest babies in the unit.
He received nutrients and medication via drips and later through a tube down his nose into his stomach. A ventilator breathed for him, expanding his lungs to the danger point of bursting. He became part of a medical trial of a lung treatment. He had a cannula on his hand through which blood samples were frequently taken to check on blood gasses, nutrients and medication levels. So much blood was taken that he had to be given a transfusion to replace it. He must have suffered pain and discomfort, despite being sedated.
So I was interested to read this article in The Times this morning about ways such care can have a lifelong impact on premature babies. I can't honestly say whether Son 1's pain threshold has been affected, though it is certainly possible as he does seem to experience certain types of pain intensely. But my eye was also caught by the tiny mention of an increased risk of mental health problems. I haven't yet seen that research and will have to have a look for it one day, because that too makes perfect sense to me.
We were one of the lucky families. Son 1 was only 6 weeks early and has had no serious lasting effects.Or has he? Who knows.