Wednesday, November 16, 2011

World Prematurity Day: The Holiday that shouldn't have to exist.

When you give birth to a baby who weighs less than two pounds, no one knows what kind of flowers to send. A big congratulatory bouquet of daisies, or an arrangement that strikes a more somber note? Perhaps something pretty, but blue, like hydrangea, or something tiny like a bonsai tree. No baby's breath, since the baby in question is likely to be breathing with the aid of a ventilator. How do you say it with flowers, when what you want to say is, "Congratulations on creating a whole new person! I hope she makes it through the week!" - Alexa Stevenson, Half Baked: The Story of My Nerves, My Newborn and How We Both Learned to Breath
  • 355 M&Ms
  • 7 iPhones
  • 2 cups of coffee
  • A rack of baby back ribs
  • A big can of soup
  • A toaster
  • 2 footballs
  • A quart of 2% milk
  • A desk lamp
  • A one-week-old Rottweiler puppy
What do these things have in common? If you guessed, "Things that weigh the same as Beatrice Kate at birth", you would be right. 2 pounds, 3 ounces. Nine hundred and ninety three grams:

Babies shouldn't be measured in sub-kilos:

Beatrice Kate isn't alone in her struggle with prematurity. Our family, we're not alone either. One in every eight babies in the US is born too early.
That's 1400 families who will begin their NICU Journey by the end of today. That's 1400 new parents who will take the wild ride on the NICU Roller Coaster. Who will be sick to their stomachs every time the phone rings because, "It could be the hospital calling." 1400 is too many. 1 is too many.

Today is World Prematurity Day. A day dedicated to raising awareness to the 13 million babies born prematurely around the world. Hopefully one day, all the attention we're bringing to the increasing prematurity trend today, will help end prematurity and One in Eight can be None in Eight.

It's hard to believe that the same baby who weighed less than a toaster is the very same happy, vibrant, beautiful toddler we have running around here these days. But she is:
And that's because of organizations like March of Dimes, who funded research and education programs that played a vital role in Beatrice Kate's survival during her early days.

So today, we're joining thousands of other bloggers, preemie parents and advocates to Pipe Up for Preemies. We're even wearing purple in honor of Beatrice Kate and all her Preemie Pals. Because, even though our story has a happy ending; many others aren't as lucky.

Prematurity is the number one killer of newborns. And it needs to stop. Soon.
 If you're new to our site, and especially if you are a fellow preemie family just starting your NICU Journey, please know this: You are not alone. The NICU can be a scary place. It is a scary place. But within the walls of medical jargon, alarms, monitors and codes; I hope you can find a sense of community, a sense of family. Reach out to organizations like March of Dimes. Reach out to us. Even if it's just for a shoulder to cry on and you need a fresh box of tissues, or you want someone to celebrate a 25 gram weight gain with...


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