Blazing through Navy life one duty station at a time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fight for Preemies - our story

December 12, 2007 was supposed to be a normal and uneventful day.  My mom was in town to visit, staying with me for the last week of my husband's 6 month deployment.  I was nearly 36 weeks pregnant, and while my pregnancy was healthy, normal and low risk (my biggest problem was the morning sickness that showed up at 6 weeks and never went away), I asked my mom to visit anyway.  Something in the recesses of my mind told me it would be a good idea to have her there for the last week before Pilot Pete returned home.  "Just in case" I said.

Funny how "just in case" turned out to be a "thank goodness you were here".  At about 12:30 AM on December 12, 4 weeks and 1 day before my estimated due date, I felt three painful kicks and something else.  As a first timer, I was no expert on anything pregnancy related, but I had no doubt that my water had broken.  Without a bag, a camera, or any clue what was happening, my mom and I set off for the hospital, where they confirmed my suspicions - I was having a baby.  That morning.

And so, at 5:43 AM on December 12, 2007, my little boy was born.  A breech baby, he was delivered by c-section and, after an all to brief first meeting with me, was whisked away to observation, which later turned to the NICU.  After 16 days of antibiotics and oxygen for pneumonia and breathing issues, as well as feeding tubes for eating issues, we were finally able to bring our little bundle of joy home.  Nearly three years later, my big boisterous boy shows no signs of his preemie beginnings.

Four days old

Heading home from the hospital at 16 days old

We were lucky.  Very lucky.  The little dude was born at a very healthy 6 lbs. 3.4 oz.  That's quite a big preemie.  His health issues were minor compared to most of the other little babies alongside him in the NICU.  Each year 1 in 8 babies in the United States are born prematurely.  Premature birth is the number 1 killer of newborn babies, and premature babies cost 10 times more than healthy babies.  The rate of premature births in the United States has risen nearly 30 percent since 1980.

In 2003, the March of Dimes launched the Prematurity Campaign to raise public awareness of prematurity and to decrease the rate of preterm births in the United States.  The campaign is already having an impact - the premature birth rate recently declined by 3 percent.  But there is still work to be done on behalf of premature babies not just in this country, but all over the world.  To create awareness for the campaign, the March of Dimes has designated November as Prematurity Awareness Month, and November 17 as Prematurity Awareness Day.  Prematurity can affect anyone, and while there are steps every expectant mother can take to lower their risk for preterm birth, there is still much to be learned as to the causes of preterm birth.

We will be forever grateful to the amazing NICU doctors and nurses who helped us through one of the most challenging and difficult times we have ever faced.  Go to to learn more about prematurity and what you can do to join the fight for premature babies.


LutherLiz said...

Thank you for helping the March of Dimes raise awareness. Congratulations on your son!

Susan Bearman said...

Today, my 24-week preemie twins celebrate Prematurity Awareness Day with you and all the other preemie parents out there. It feels like a giant party, since today is also the twins' birthday — they are 19 and happy and healthy. Thanks for sharing your story.

MoDBev said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story and being part of the Fight for Preemies. Together we can make a difference.

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