Hurrah for Premature Babies and Preemie Parents Around the World

Today is November 17th, 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.

I take World Prematurity Day personally.  I have two preemies.  My daughter was born at 26 weeks and almost died again 26 years ago today from sepsis.  There were many surgeries, terrible fears, PTSD, and many, many sleepless night.  Finally, unbelievably, my preemie came home to be our real live 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.  I became what I call a Clinical Mommy.  I learned to read medical charts and consult with physicians and nurses as an equal.  Bringing my girly into my life changed it in ways I am still learning about. It changed my career and the calling of my life.  For my infertility clients who want twins, I promise you that you don’t want two desperately sick preemies.  Or even one.

To those who are preemie parents, or those of you who know someone who is, thank goodness for the Internet! 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 “Watch your baby.  Babies grow.  Have hope.”  So I share this today with preemies, their parents, their friends, and their loved one.  Watch your Baby. Babies Grow.  Have Hope. 


Jenny's first day



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