My DS, Peter, was born Sept. 2005, 3 weeks and a day before his due date. I don't know if the early delivery is related or not...we have reason to believe that the estimated date was actually too early because I chart my cycles. He was the size of a full-term baby, but he's the size of a 2-1/2 to 3 year-old know and he's not yet 2! To give you some more background on the delivery itself, this was a hospital delivery, but no intervention except for an external fetal heart monitor. No pain meds, etc. (I didn't even have an IV) It was a 24 hour labor (unusual, because this was my 3rd child, but I'm prone to long labors) and a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section---my 1st child was a C and the other 2 were successful V's, Yah!) Our baby had no signs of fetal distress and there were no complications.
When Peter was born, he was a collodian baby and the on-call Ped knew immediately it was Ichthyosis of some kind (lucky that, because it was a small hospital and none of the nurses had ever seen anything like it). The skin on his face was so tight that he could not close his eyes or mouth. This sorted itself out, eventually, but it looked scarey. He had constrictive bands of the membrane on his fingers and toes, so he could not bend his fingers very well. His ears were constricted so much that they were tiny and you could just barely see the ear canal. In fact they were not able to perform an ABR at the hospital to check his hearing.
The pediatrician was not overly alarmed, but called a pediatric dermatologist at the closest children's hospital for advice. Peter did not need to be in NICU, in fact he roomed in with me. He did have some trouble initially with body temp and was on a warming table for about a half hour, but after that, blankets and Mom's body heat were sufficient. The pediatrician would not let us leave the hospital, however, until he had scheduled an appointment for Peter a couple of days later with the pediatric dermatologist.
Things you need to know and be prepared for: When the membrane starts to shed, your baby will likely develop some skin fissures in areas like the wrists, ankles, knuckles, etc. These need to be treated with an antibiotic ointment 2x a day and then coated w/ aquaphor. Peter had fissures around day 3 when he saw his pediatric derm for the first time. Clothing of any kind will be uncomfortable (we had a hard time convincing the nurses of this, they so wanted to put long-sleeved onesies on him), so wrap your baby in a few thin blankets (like flannel receiving blankets). We were advised to keep his eyes lubricated with "Aqualube" which is available over the counter. This may not be an issue if your baby can close his/her eyes, but if not you need to keep the eyes moist to protect the corneas from being scratched. We were advised to coat him from head to toe with Aquaphor. The derm later said to do this at every dipe change, but that's a bit excessive. Probably 6 or so times a day, but you'll be able to tell after awhile by touching his skin. Also, I tried and tried to breastfeed Peter, but in the end he was not able to express the milk effectively because of the tightness of the skin. He had good latch and everything, but those facial muscles just couldn't do it. In fact, we had to use preemie bottle nipples for the first 2 months of his life. If you plan to breastfeed, I would highly advise some good support from someone knowledgeable in feeding preemies for that reason. And it would be a good idea to have some preemie bottle nipples on hand, since they are not readily available at retailers.
I know I'm probably forgetting something, but feel free to contact me with any questions.
Take care, and God bless!