November is Prematurity Awareness Month

18 Nov

According to the March of Dimes website, 543,000 babies are born prematurely each year. Five-hundred-forty-three thousand are born too early.

It’s something I never thought I’d experience. A cousin was born two months early a few months before Oliver. I thought “how sad, I hope she makes it.”

After 3 months’ worth of twice-daily visits to my NICU (West Allis Memorial in Wisconsin is a wonderful place with wonderful nurses), willing my baby to live, cheering on the tiny accomplishments he figured out that day, worrying, praying fervently, changing tiny diapers, and feeding him through a tube, I’d experienced it.

I’d experienced it the way that almost 550,000 parents do a year.

I’d experienced it the way the hundreds of thousands of parents of a micro-preemies do.

I’ve experienced it first-hand. And it’s horrible. Terrifying. Something I wouldn’t wish on the worst people in the world. To go through the experience changes you; reveals your strength, forces you to allow yourself to rely on someone else, makes you grateful for small feats, takes the wonder of babies to the highest levels. How a baby so tiny and fragile and so helpless can make it through is impressive and honestly, a feat of God, a miracle, and a testament that the research and medical advancements done in years’ past are needed and necessary.

The following is from the March of Dimes website…

For the second consecutive year, the United States earned only a “D” on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, demonstrating that more than half a million of our nation’s newborns didn’t get the healthy start they deserved.

The March of Dimes advocates for national and state health policies and programs that benefit women of childbearing age, infants and children.

As part of the national Prematurity Campaign, at the federal level, the Foundation is advocating to:

  • Increase access to health coverage for women of childbearing age (especially those who are pregnant), infants and children
  • Fund implementation of the PREEMIE Act (P.L. 109-450)
  • Secure federal funding to implement the next phase of the National Children’s Study
  • Secure federal funding for increased interdisciplinary research to find the causes of preterm birth and to translate those findings into clinical care strategies
  • Enhance data collection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve understanding of prematurity, birth defects and infant mortality.

In years past, early babies were put in shoe boxes and kept warm by the oven. Thanks to the research and strides made by organizations like the March of Dimes, we’ve come so far. But we need to go even further.

If you can, visit Oliver’s band here the March of Dimes to donate.

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Posted by on November 18, 2009 in Uncategorized


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