Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Prematurity

November 17th is Prematurity Awareness Day. Today is Prematurity Awareness Day.

This day has me reflecting upon our experience with prematurity. We've had 3 distinct experiences.

Maggie was barely a preemie, being born at 36 weeks. Her birth didn't go as planned, but do they ever, really? The joy that I was feeling as a result of her arrival was immense. I was floating high on pure happiness and blissfulness. She originally came home with us a couple of days following her entrance into this vast world. She was home for one day before being readmitted to the hospital for several more due to severe jaundice. As an unsure, very new Mother it was worrisome. I felt very unprepared for this parenting path that we were now venturing into. Like a lot of new Mommies-to-be, I had envisioned my birth experience and my baby's first weeks much like what most reality based TV baby shows and stories depicted. I read the trendiest of pregnancy, birthing and baby books cover to cover. I planned and dreamed. Then it all happened and none of it the way it was supposed to be. But she was breathtaking and memorable just like I dreamed.

Our experience with Wyatt was very different. I had been on bed-rest for many weeks prior to his arrival. A couple of those weeks leading up to his birth were spent in the hospital, unable to move from my bed to ensure he stay safely inside my perfectly capable womb for as long as possible. His birth was intense and scary. Born at only 26 weeks gestation, weighing 2lbs 8oz. Maybe it was the fact that I spent weeks on bed-rest researching and learning all that I could about premature babies, just in case, or maybe because I felt more comfortable in my Motherly skin, but I felt a little more conditioned for this adventure that we were thrust into. I prayed a lot. I remember seeing my son for the very first time...his sagging, translucent skin wrinkled and covered with a slight fuzz, reddened and bruised in some spots from the nurses and doctors touching him. I fell deeper in love with my baby boy. He was so beautiful, so tiny.

We took precautions very early in Jilliana's pregnancy. We saw my doctors often, more often than typical, doing their best to ensure that we made it to our goal of 36 weeks. The outlook was very promising that I could and would make it to our goal. I received weekly injections to help prevent the start of pre-term labor. I drank enormous amounts of water daily while making sure to rest when I could, so not to stress my body more than it needed to be. I was nervous, but optimistic as the weeks passed. I allowed myself to plan and dream of holding our youngest daughter directly after birth, her bassinet beside my bed allowing us the pleasure to hold her as we pleased and watch her sleep. At 34 weeks gestation our 3rd preemie was born. Weighing 4lbs 15oz and rushed away to the NICU. We were so close. I was feeling defeated but this time I knew my surroundings, I knew the path that we were traveling. In some ways it made it easier to know what to expect and in other ways it was much harder for me having to leave the hospital while my baby stayed...again. My beautiful, charming baby girl. So perfect, so sweet, so little. Our baby girl was here, our preemie journey is complete.

1 in 8 babies are born prematurely, born too soon. Know the facts, be aware. 

Visit the March of Dimes website to learn more about how to prevent premature births. And how you can get involved to help save babies.
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1 comment:

  1. Three preemies - wow! Thanks so much for sharing their stories. It's so hard to have your baby whisked away to the NICU, whether it's your first or your third.
    We appreciate your taking the time to help spread the word about the seriousness of premature birth. Thanks!

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