It’s A Preemie Thing {#MarchOfDimes}

premie

Today is World Prematurity Day where focus everyone’s attention on the global problem of premature birth.  I participated in this day of awareness in 2009 and 2010.  I’m excited to be back and participating again in 2012!

For my senior project in high school, I had the opportunity to job shadow a perinatologist (a high risk ob/gyn) on the labor and delivery floor of a major Seattle hospital.  During the week I spent on the L&D floor, I had the opportunity to visit and spend time in their NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and see real live babies born to early.

The Stats: Each year in the United States, nearly half a million babies are born prematurely (born before 37 weeks gestation) or one in every eight babies born. Worldwide, 15 million babies are born prematurely every year. Of those 15 million, 1 million babies will not make it while the other 14 million struggle to survive MarchOfDimes

With those statistics whirling around in the back of my head, I still remember that moment when I walked into the Level III NICU.  The smells, the beeps, the sight of hurried people moving.  There was a definite sense of anxiety, but it was well masked by doctors and nurses in full control keeping fragile lives alive.

I will always remember being brought to the isolette of a micro-preemie (baby born before 26 weeks gestation).  She weighed just over a one-pound and was just slightly bigger then my hand.  She was shockingly small, however at the same time she was perfectly formed. 

While I was cooing over this beautiful baby, the nurse who accompanied through the NICU through in a little side-note. 

Did you know that you can legally abort up until 24 weeks gestation”

Panic flew across my heart and mind.  This baby that was laying in front of me was born at 25 weeks, even though she was extremely small and on a variety of machines keeping her alive she was PERFECT. 

The thought of someone being able to abort a pregnancy at 24 weeks, just one week earlier then this baby being born, made me sick to my stomach.

I sat at that incubator for the longest time watching her fight for her life.  Watching. Thinking. Contemplating. Praying.

I spent maybe a half an hour in the NICU that day, but it has left a lasting memory on me.

I think about that baby from time to time and wonder if she was one of the lucky ones who survived.  How she is doing now and to see the young lady she turned into (she would be going on 9 years old now!).

I remember the first time I got to hold a preemie.  Gabrielle was 1 week old (born at 33 weeks), just out of her isolette in the NICU, weighing just under four pounds and wrapped in a pink blanket that was about three-times the size of her.  My mom held her first and when it was finally my turn to hold her I sat down in the rocking chair and put my arms out for my mom to hand her over

I felt the blanket in my arms, but no baby so I told my mom, I was ready.  To my shock my mom replied, I already did.

Gabbi was so teeny that it felt like I was just holding the blanket, when in reality she was in my arms.

I visited the NICU many times during the month the triplets spent in their.  One of the visits, I actually got to see Jack have his first sink bath!  I have amazing memories of my time I spent with them during that fragile time in their lives.

I watched them learn to maintain their body temperature in the isolettes.  Then get off the C-Pap machines, oxygen and apnea monitors once they learned how to breathe {reliably} on their own. And into one giant crib that the three shared.

I treasured the time I got to spend with the Harrington’s and the triplets during that very scary and special time in their lives.

I think the biggest thing I learned about premature babies is they are unpredictable and that It’s A Preemie Thing!

For more information about premature births, the March of Dimes and World Prematurity Day, be sure to check out the following sites!

Ohhhhh…and in honor of the March of Dimes 75th Anniversary, on January 3, 2013 the White House will be lighted PURPLE as a symbol of hope for families with babies born to soon.  A petition was set-up on WhiteHouse.org with a goal of 25,000 signatures in just one month!  On November 16th, Cynthia S, of Connecticut, was the 25,000 person to sign this petition! 

You can still sign the petition to show your support for premature babies and the March of Dimes until Sunday, November 18th.  As of right now (11/16 @ 9:11pm), 25,227 people have signed!

MOD whitehouse

Check Out my other March of Dimes posts about prematurity and the preemies that I know.

…..just remember one of my favorite quotes “it’s a preemie thing!” 

Happy World Prematurity Day!

10 Responses to It’s A Preemie Thing {#MarchOfDimes}
  1. Jennifer
    November 17, 2012 | 6:04 PM

    Wow, what a story! My friend had preemie triplets and they had severe health issues. It’s so sad!
    Jennifer recently posted..Check out the new Oz The Great and Powerful movie trailer!

    • cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      November 18, 2012 | 6:19 PM

      How are the triplets today? As was stated in my post, “my” triplets were born at 33 weeks, spent several weeks in the NICU, but now at 5 are perfectly healthy kids!

  2. Melissa
    November 18, 2012 | 8:04 AM

    Such an important awareness campaign! I have been trying to prepare myself that the twins could possibly be preemies in NICU and I like reading stories like this.

    • cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      November 18, 2012 | 6:17 PM

      My fingers are crossed that the girls won’t need to be in the NICU…but with that being said it is AMAZING what medical technology can do nowadays! Just know no matter when your girls arrive, they will be very well taken care of! xoxo

  3. Kathy
    November 18, 2012 | 1:00 PM

    Thanks for sharing your story! Our son was born 6 weeks early at 34 weeks and spent the first 3 weeks of his life in the NICU. I’ll have to write a quick post today to celebrate such a special day. Thanks for making me aware of it!

    • cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      November 18, 2012 | 6:16 PM

      Definitely get a post up honoring your son and World Prematurity Day! I’d love to check it out!

  4. Kerri
    Twitter: SavvyMomNYC
    November 18, 2012 | 7:56 PM

    It is amazing how they can help these tiny little lives thrive. My friend’s daughter was a preemie and now she is 18 months old. What a blessing!
    Kerri recently posted..Kids Foot Locker Awesome Week And $25 Gift Card Giveaway – 2 winners!

  5. Hanan (@LilacCityMomma)
    November 18, 2012 | 8:22 PM

    Thank you for sharing your story of strength with us.
    Hanan (@LilacCityMomma) recently posted..SAHM and Blogger, is it possible?

  6. ConnieFoggles
    November 18, 2012 | 9:53 PM

    Thanks for reminding us about the March of Dimes and the important work they do to prevent prematurity and pregnancy in general. I’m so happy to hear about “your” triplets health.
    ConnieFoggles recently posted..Top Technology Gifts for Tweens and Teens

  7. cori
    Twitter: Corisbigmouth
    November 28, 2012 | 7:19 PM

    Lol Connie! I love “my” triplets … I spent basically everyday of their lives with them since the day they were born! They are like my own babies, or I suppose now kindergarteners …. Boy does that sound strange (and make me feel old!)