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Thriving in the Midst of Chaos: Parenting With Special Needs Kids

Jun 10, 2021

Episode 93: Raising a Micropreemie With Autism With Guest Melissa Harris

In this episode, we discuss a mother’s experience raising a micropreemie. Melissa Harris has two children, one of whom was born at 24 weeks gestation. She found that she had a bincorniate uterus, and had to undergo several surgeries to fix the problem. While trying to become pregnant with her second, she experienced several miscarriages. She underwent several IUI’s to become pregnant. She had frequent hormone shots to keep the pregnancy going. If there was any hint of a problem, she was placed on strict bed rest for 3 days. She was diagnosed with an “incompetent cervix” which was thought to be the cause of her son being born early. When she went into early labor, she was taken to the hospital, where she had to lay completely still until her son was born. She had to be tipped back 30 degrees as well. They found that the sac had already started to come out and she was contracting frequently. She was given magnesium to stop the contractions. She held on for 6 days before her son was finally born. She had little to do during that time, and passed the time by having visitors and watching shows. She felt very sick with migraines and from the magnesium. Due to her son being a micropreemie, she had to undergo a c-section to have her son.

After her son was born, he was taken right to the NICU, where he stayed for 95 days. He required oxygen, two surgeries, had a lot of apneas and bradycardia, his kidneys stopped working, and was found to have retinopathy. Otherwise, he had a relatively calm NICU stay. He had respiratory therapy and occupational therapy for head shape and head positioning.

She had numerous complications herself during the first month, including a bad uterine infection. During the NICU stay, she hyperfocused on making sure that everything was ok and she didn’t give herself time to process and cope. She struggled to balance care for her daughter and her son. The surgeries were overwhelming for Melissa to deal with.

Once her son arrived home, the family was not allowed to leave their house for 6 months. She had to quit her job because they wanted her to come back to work and she was not allowed to leave the house.

When her son was 2 years old, he was diagnosed with autism. He was diagnosed quickly and tried lots of different types of therapy. She copes with the busyness of life by writing.

One Pound Twelve Ounces  





Preemie primer book

Autism Self Advocacy Network

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Show Music:

Intro Outro: Intro Outro 2 by Mattias Lahoud under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Theme Song: 90s rock style by monkeyman535 under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Self Care Song: Green and Orange No Water by Duncan Alex under CC-BY 3.0 License (


Hosted by: Jessica Temple and Lewis Temple


Disclaimer: Our show is not designed to provide listeners with specific or personal legal, medical, or professional services or advice. Parents of children with health issues should always consult their health care provider for medical advice, medication, or treatment.

Copyright 2021 Jessica Temple