November 17 is World Prematurity Day 2016. It is a day to celebrate our smallest fighters, and spread awareness about what it means to experience a premature birth.
Did you know that Prematurity is the #1 cause of death in children under the age of 5, according to the March of Dimes? That is a very scary statistic, and unfortunately, things are not getting better. Right now, in 2016, the nation’s preterm birth rate worsened for the first time in eight years, also according to the March of Dimes.
As you know, I am very passionate about this cause, having experienced my own premature birth, and giving birth to two of my heroes, my twins. They were born at 25 weeks, 5 days due to complications from TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome) and SIUGR (Selective Intrauterine Growth Restriction.) Weighing only 1 lb 7 oz and 2 lbs 2 oz, they fought for 91 and 93 days in the NICU.
Now, at 4-years-old, they both weigh close to 40 lbs, and are doing great in their first year of preschool. They are even (mostly) potty trained!
They are truly my miracles, and I love to share their story any chance I get. I want to give hope to others who may experience a premature birth.
While any birth before 38 weeks gestation is considered premature, I often focus on our smallest and sickest fighters, the micro preemies. A micro preemie is a baby that is born before 28 weeks gestation and/or under 2 lbs at birth.
Micro preemies often have the roughest journeys because they are born so early. 40 weeks is a full-term birth, so these babies are born at least 3 months early. A birth this early is often accompanied by a long hospital stay, and many complications. Not only does it take a physical fight from the baby, but it takes an emotional toll on the entire family. Each journey is unique.
I am lucky and honored to bring you those unique stories of premature birth each Monday for Micro Preemie Mondays. I started this series in June of 2015, and since then have met so many strong, amazing babies and parents. Actually, I’ve brought you 45 different journeys!
There have been girls, boys, twins, and quadruplets. There have been babies in all stages of their premature birth journey, from babies that are still fighting in the NICU to adults that were once premature babies themselves. I’ve been touched by each story, and so proud to share them all with you.
I also love to bring you updates, and I have a special one for you today on World Prematurity Day 2016.
In June 2016, we met Sahara. She was born at just 22 weeks, 5 days, and was on day 164 of her NICU journey at the time of the post.
I’m so happy to report that she is home today!!!
After 307 days in the NICU, she is home! She is almost 11 months old, and weighs 17 lbs and 9 oz.
According to her mom, Dee:
She did have to get a trach and g-tube. Hopefully, we will be capping it by spring. She is on cpap. The setting is very low, 1 liter of oxygen. She loves clapping her hands, laughing and smiling.
There are so many different things that can cause a premature birth, from health problems in the mother to health problems with the babies. There are also many unknown reasons for a premature birth. That is why we all need to spread awareness, increase education, and push for more research to be done. Premature birth is not a problem that is going away, but we can do our best to change that.
How can you help?
- Wear Purple
Purple is the color designated for Premature Birth, so wear something purple today for World Prematurity Day 2016.
- Talk about it
Tell people why you are wearing purple, and how important it is to spread awareness about Premature Birth.
Donate your time or money to organizations that raise money, do research, or help premature babies. The March of Dimes, Project Sweet Peas, and Hand to Hold are all great organizations. You can also volunteer or donate items to your local NICU.
While you may not know anyone personally, just by sharing posts like this or any Micro Preemie Monday story, you may reach someone in your social network that needs some hope or information. You can also use the hashtag #WorldPrematurityDay in any social media posts to increase awareness.
Thank you so much to everyone who visits the blog each and every Monday. I will continue to bring you new stories as long as I have people who are willing to share them.
Please help me send a powerful message today on World Prematurity Day 2016 by sharing this post. Will you help me spread awareness?