Have Hope Today on World Prematurity Day

Today, November 17th, is World Prematurity Day.  According to the March of Dimes, 15 million babies are born prematurely around the world each year.  More babies die from prematurity than from AIDS, malaria or diarrhea.  Each year in the United States, 1 in 9 babies–about 450,000–are born prematurely.  Prematurity is defined as birth that occurs prior to 37 weeks gestation.

World Prematurity Day is personal for me–I have two preemies.  My daughter was born at 26 weeks.  We thought that we would lose her on her second day of life.  She almost died again 25 years ago today from sepsis but she rallied.  There were surgeries, terrible fears, and finally, unbelievably, a day when she came home to be our baby after 100 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Preemies aren’t just small babies and they don’t look like little dolls.  As you can see, my daughter looked like a science project.  I learned a lifetime’s worth of medical terminology.  Bringing my girly into my life changed it in ways I am still learning about.

To those who are preemie parents, or those of you who know someone who is, thank goodness for the Internet!  My favorite preemie blog is Ain’t No Roller Coaster.  For parents of preemies up to age 4, check out Preemie-L, a wonderful listserve of helpful preemie parents.  For parents of preemies over the age of 4, check out Preemie Child.

Now I’ll share with you the gift that I was given when my daughter was impossibly small and fragile.  Someone showed me a picture of their healthy preemie.  The message was “Babies grow.  Have hope.”  So I share this today with preemies, their parents, their friends, and their loved one.  Babies Grow.  Have Hope. 

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