Today is Prematurity Awareness Day. I am not sure how many people are really aware of the fact that in the United States itself, 1 in 8 babies are born prematurely. Worldwide 13 million babies are born too soon. That is the official record. Does anyone know about remote villages in third world countries where mothers give birth to premature babies who have no support or facility to help these babies live? 1 million babies die every year because of premature birth.
My babies were born 13 week before their due date, too early and too small. They survived because they got the right medical support at the right time. They did not know how to breathe, the basic necessity to live. They were on vent support for more than a month. Before they were born I had no idea what a NICU is. Today, I know the kind of research that goes in, helping these babies live. We were fortunate that our babies were born here and got the right help at the right time. Premature birth comes with its own set of complexities. Babies born too early and too small, run the risk of having neurological disabilities, hearing and eye problems, lung issues, learning disabilities and much more. But fortunately, a lot of research is being done to try and avoid these as much as possible.
My only prayer is that, one day no baby is born before term, that no mother ever loses her baby to premature birth.
I see a lot of campaign going in for Cancer awareness and Autism. But I rarely see something in media both Television and print, about Prematurity. I hope that there is more support for this cause.
Today, if BB and Junior are here with us, doing what they are doing, it is ONLY because of technology, a great team of doctors and nurses and an insane amount of prayers. I hope that someday these researches reach every part of the world, and every baby is born full term. I hope that one day, every hospital has a NICU.
Here is something a friend of mine posted on her Facebook wall, sums up our feelings during those days very well:
When I first saw you, kid, you were tiny and thin
And slimy and red and your head was mushed in.
I said to your mother, “He looks kind of sloppy,
And two pounds nine ounces ain’t big for a crappie.”
But something about you, the look in your eyes,
Said you fully intended to grow to full size.
They slapped your backside and you let out a cry,
And I said, “We will keep him, at least we shall try.”
Some babies are born in nine months, by the clock.
Some babies are born, and they sit up and talk.
Some babies are born, and no doctor is there.
But some babies come in on a wing and a prayer.
Poor little fetus as big as your hand.
Poor little fish thrown up on dry land.
Who came in mid-May though he had till July,
Too small to live and to precious to die.
They shipped you downstairs to the big Neonatal
Intensive Care Unit’s computerized cradle.
And attached you to wires and stuck you with tubes
Monitored closely by digital cubes.
And thanks to the latest neonatal therapeussis
And regular basting with greases from gooses
And hot chicken soup intravenously fed
You did not fade away, you grew up instead.
We’ll always remember the months that you spent
With tubes in your head in the oxygen tent.
And the mask on your face, the wires attached,
Sweet little baby who was only half hatched.
I’m sure you’ll grow up and mature and extend
To six feet six inches and become a tight end.
But I’ll always remember each doctor and nurse in
The NICU who helped make you a person,
The kid who crash landed, who was carried away,
Who survived it, this bundle we bring home today.
This is BB, about 2 months after he was born.
( I got the numbers and data from Google and March of Dimes, I also picked up some information and the poem above from my friends wall post in FB)