November 17th is World Prematurity Day
Today is the day! It’s time to celebrate our Premature Babies and Spread Awareness. As you know, I try to spread awareness on the blog as much as I can. You can come here every Monday to hear a story about another family’s experience with premature birth, as part of Micro Preemie Mondays.
I started this blog, the series, and working with the March of Dimes because I want more babies to be born healthy and at full term.
What started it all
Three years ago, I had no idea what a premature baby was or how having one (or in my case, two) would change my life. Sure, I knew that babies before 38 weeks would be small, but I didn’t know the serious health implications that could accompany that early birth.
The statistics and survival rates we were given in the hospital about 2 days before I was rushed into an emergency c-section were terrifying. Not only was there a 50% chance I wouldn’t be bringing both babies home, but the chances of some type of disabilities was very great. I was so scared and prayed I could keep my twins inside as long as possible. I remember the Neonatologist telling me that for every day I could keep them inside, that would be 2 less days they would have to spend in the hospital.
Unfortunately, my placenta gave out and wasn’t giving my smaller baby enough food to survive. Because of the way his umbilical cord was connected (just barely hanging on,) the amount of placenta he had (about 10%,) and because of the connections between the two boys in the placenta ( a mild Twin to Twin Transfusion where one was getting to many nutrients and the other not enough,) it was safer for my boys outside than inside.
A very early birthday
My boys were born on May 4th, 2012, even though their due date was August 12, 2012. Penn Julius weighed 1 lb 7 oz and his brother, Cruz Marley, weighed 2 lbs 2 oz. They were the smallest and sickest babies in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) at the time. BUT, they were alive and they were FIGHTERS!
After 91 days and 93 days, 2 surgeries, countless blood draws and transfusions, breathing assistance from ventilators, surfactants therapies for their lungs, and feeding tubes, which allowed them to feed and grow, they finally came home.
It wasn’t easy, and the years following their release from the hospital weren’t easy either. We had to stay isolated and we lost many friends, but we gained new perspective on what was really important. Healthy babies are never something to be taken for granted.
Premature Birth Awareness
Which brings me back to today, and the purpose of World Prematurity Day. I, along with countless other families of preemies, are here to celebrate our survivors, grieve for our sweet babies that were taken too soon, and share our knowledge so we can help others.
What Can You Do?
As you know, I asked many friends, family, and bloggers to wear Purple in support of Premature Birth Awareness. It’s just a small gesture to get the word out, but I am so grateful for their help.
There are many other things you can do to help too.
- You can support The March of Dimes – Whether it’s a financial donation, volunteering for your local chapter, or walking in the March for Babies, every action is important.
- You can support your local NICU/hospital – Call and find out what they need. Do they need volunteers to come and hold babies? Do they need clothing/blanket donations? Care packages for families of preemies?
- You can support other organizations like Project Sweet Peas and Grahams Foundation, which are both non-profits who do great work for preemies and their families.
- You can share this and/or any posts on premature birth. Education and knowledge are so very important.
- You can support friends/family members that have gone through a premature birth or may be in a high-risk pregnancy. Ask them what they need. Listen if they just need to talk. Understand if they need their space to process what has happened.
Thank you so much to Becky from Disney in Your Day, Iyanna from Yannivlovely, Brooke from Bye, Comparison, my friends Christy and Vanessa, and of course, my family. My supportive Husband, Andy, Dad, Phil, and oldest son, Bex. Your pictures made me so happy and thankful you are in my life. You are making a difference…especially to me.
Thank you to everyone that reads and supports this blog on Mondays and everyday. I hope you have a wonderful November 17th and spread some more awareness for World Prematurity Day. Penn, Cruz, and the millions of babies born premature each year all over the World thank you.