Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fight For Preemies

I have two children. They were born born too soon and too small. Their combined birth weight is less than 3 pounds. And I am not alone. Today, 1 out of 8 babies are born prematurely. That's scary. We need to find out why and we need to find out how we can prevent premature birth.

Like so many other women, I did everything I was supposed to do. I took my vitamins, I ate what I was supposed to eat, went to the doctor for every check-up, asked many (many) questions and still, I had babies who came early.

To find out more about our experience with having babies born prematurely - check out our video that was made by the March of Dimes. http://www.fifieldproductions.com/_flash_ambassador_family_08.aspx

Beyond sharing the story of our children's premature birth (in the video above), I want to talk more about what prematurity can mean long term. Dealing with prematurity goes far beyond the NICU stay. Many preemies come home with long term medical issues - our daughter came home oxygen and feeding tube dependent. As parents we have to quickly learn often complex medical issues and how best to navigate the complicated and confusing world of doctors, insurance and medicine.

In addition to medical issues, most preemies need additional support for development including gross motor, fine motor, speech, etc. My kids have both had PT, OT, developmental therapy, speech therapy, and more. Six years into this prematurity journey and I'm still amazed how parents of full term babies don't worry about most of that because their kids naturally develop those skills.

Most of the stories we see in the news are about miracle babies that are now "perfectly" healthy. And I'm happy for those babies. Ecstatic really. But I think sometimes in our want for happy endings we end up avoiding the larger issue. Many preemies (especially those that are born weighing less than 2 pounds but even some that are bigger) end up with long term problems including eating issues, CP, developmental delays that extend long past the "catch up" age of two, and more.

Thankfully my son was able to catch up developmentally by age three. Time will tell if any other issues crop up. Although my daughter is still feeding tube dependent and has some developmental and speech delays, I still consider her one of the lucky ones. Things could have been much worse.

I'm grateful for both of my children. They have taught me more than I can imagine about what true strength means. Both of them had to fight just to survive. They fight every day to learn new things.

Let's all join the fight for preemies so that one day all babies can be born healthy.


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support for parents of preemie babies said...

I am sure that you will find the way to fight preemies. There are lots of people who are looking for answers to that and I know that they will help you.

stevesatriani said...

Do not be sad. You definitely will have a healthy baby that you can be proud.
please visit my blog. I want to share about a good to be Parents.

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