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.
Awesome post! Those boys are two adorable little fighters! Our oldest was born at 29 weeks and from then on preemies earned a very special place in my heart. Thanks for letting me know there was a world prematurity day and letting me have a small part in your post today!
Thank you so much for participating, Brooke. I really appreciate your support. I didn’t realize your daughter was a preemie too. I’m so glad she’s doing so great!
Love your posts about your kiddos! Thank you for sharing 🙂 Go purple!
Becky @ Disney in your Day says
Love all the purple! I will be sharing this today 🙂
Thank you so much for all your support Becky! 🙂
Celebrating Sweets says
What a beautiful story you have. My son was born at 37 weeks, and there were concerns that my daughter would be delivered earlier than that (fortunately she held out to 38 weeks). I know that our story could have been tremendously different and I send my love and support to you and others that have to walk that difficult road.
My little cousin was three months early and I know how terrifying that was for my aunt. Thank you for bringing awareness to this and giving information about how we can help.
You’re welcome. I hope your cousin is doing OK.
Shann you seriously ROCK for bringing so much awareness to preemies and micro preemies! I love how your children have turned you into such an activist. I’m just bummed I didn’t have any purple! Not even a purple shirt!
Thank you, Danielle. No worries about the purple. You have plenty of time to get one for next year 😉
I love that you bring awareness about Preemies. It is so amazing to be able to see your sons doing well. I enjoy being able to learn each week from your blog posts. Continue the great work of bringing awareness to others like myself.
Thank you so much, Mistle 🙂
Cooking Maniac says
This is so awesome. A good friend of mine, just left the hospital with her Daughter. She was born 12 weeks early 🙂
So glad they are home. If she ever needs support, I’m here 🙂
Stefanie (@LexieLooDylan2) says
I always donate to the March of Dimes! XOXO
I loved reading your story. Your boys have come so far!!!
I have a good friend who just delivered her baby boy at 27 weeks. I can’t imagine what parents go through and this post was a great reminder of all the different ways to support those going through such a delicate time!
Thank you so much. If your friend ever has any questions or needs support, please have her contact me.
Great post! Your twins are adorable and such fighters 🙂
jessica lynn says
I’ve stumbled on your Monday posts before and I’m always captivated by them. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have a preemie—I’m in awe of you guys (preemie parents). Keep up the good work here…you’re definitely spreading awareness!
Thank you so much!
Jules Ruud says
I rocked my purple today! What an incredible journey you have been on! Thank you for bringing awareness and sharing your story as well as others’.
Awesome! Thank you!
Angie Scheie says
I didn’t know there was a day for this, so thanks for making me aware. I love those shirts, and what an amazing cause. Your family (and that of many) are so inspirational!
Thank you so much!
Stefanie / The Monarch Mommy says
This is a great post! I love following along with your blog and really enjoy hearing how well preemies are doing now!
Thank you so much!
Allison Jones says
Happy World Prematurity Day from one preemie to your two! Thank you for sharing ways that we can all get involved!
So great! Thank you Allison!
We have 2 nieces who were born prematurely and had twin to twin transfusion also. They will be 1 in January. This post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your story and the pictures of your sweet boys. May God bless them (and you) with health and joy!
Thank you so much! I’m so sorry to hear your nieces had TTTS, but am happy to hear they are doing well.
Christine Cox says
Because of your post on Facebook, I too shared my story with Cam and a bunch of my Facebook friends followed suit using #worldprematurityday. I honestly had no clue so many of my friends even had preemie babies. It is kind of one of those secrets that you either know or don’t know but you never tend to ask anyone. I also feel like we are in a common group now and have something really special that other parents don’t. While they were lucky that their babies didn’t spend time in the NICU and were born at the right time, we are lucky that we have really strong babies. It doesn’t get any better than watching those little ones grow and thrive and just be amazing kiddos. Love to you!
I totally agree. Thank you so much, Christine. That is just awesome that you connected with so many of your Facebook friends over preemies.
Thanks for the great post and the thorough information about such an important health topic. I’m so glad your boys are well. I have supported the March of Dimes before and will do so again.
Wonderful. Thank you!
Melissa (The Stay-at-Home Life) says
Wow, your little ones overcame so much! You would never even know it looking at the recent pictures. 🙂 They’re amazing
Thank you Melissa!
Tanisha @ ThrityNYmom says
Wow what a story about your boys! They definitely are fighters, look at em now! I commend you for everything you had to go through, I am so happy to read your success story. My son was born 3 days before his due date, so I can not say I know exactly what you went through because I don’t, but I could only imagine how scared you must have felt, I know I would have been for sure.
Thank you so much. Yes, it was definitely scary.
I wore purple yesterday – and had no clue about this 😉
It’s great to know that after a challenging time, your boys are happy and healthy. Looks like this has inspired you quite a bit – and it lends credibility to the idea that sometimes, obstacles uncover hidden blessings.
Too funny that you wore purple yesterday! And yes, I totally agree.
We twin nieces were premature and I happy they are healthy young women.
Anamika Ojha says
Awwnnn…your twins are adorable. Thanks Shann for sharing so many incredible stories and spreading awareness. 🙂
Love your twins! Thank you so much for being such a powerful outlet for families with premature babies! The stories have been remarkable. Wishing you the best on the rest of your journey.
Such a beautiful post, I love all those pics in purple!
Erika Agostino says
I like the pictures and what a nice initiative!