World Prematurity Day #preemie #NICU
It’s hard to believe that five years have flown by so quickly. Every November is bitter sweet for me. November signals not only Remembrance Day and the day Little One was born, but also World Prematurity Day.
I remember being flown by air ambulance from Manitoulin Island to Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital. The whole experience was dizzying and disorienting. Then came the hospital bed rest and on Remembrance Day of 2008, Little One made her grand entrance into the world…by delivering herself. No doctors were in the room to deliver her. She just flew out. No, really! She did! She canon-balled her way into existence. What was supposed to be the happiest and most exciting time of a new parent’s life ended up being the scariest time of my life. There was so much uncertainty as to whether she’d survive or whether she’d have to live with health complications or disabilities.
She was born at 28 weeks gestation and weighed 980 grams.
You can read all about our roller coaster of emotions from the day Little One was born until the end of our 72 days in the hospital. To read our posts, click here.
I wasn’t able to hold Little One until she was almost two weeks old. The day her primary nurse told me I could do skin to skin with Little One was probably one of the best days of my life. Finally!
Most new moms get to hold their babies almost immediately after giving birth. Then they get to take their newborn baby home days after. Imagine just giving birth and not being able to touch your baby or hold your baby? Instead of taking your baby home, you have to leave your baby in the NICU and commute back and forth to the hospital every day for days, weeks, or sometimes months? That’s the reality of a parent of a preemie.
Little One was born on November 11, 2008, but Hubby didn’t get to hold her until November 29, 2008. This was probably one of the scariest moments of his life. He always says he remembers how tiny she was and how when he carried her in the blanket, he couldn’t feel her. It was as though it was just the blanket he was carrying.
Support World Prematurity Day
Worldwide, 15 million babies are born too soon. November 17th is World Prematurity Day –the day when we focus everyone’s attention on the global problem of premature birth.
The March of Dimes joins with parent groups and organizations in countries around the world to raise awareness about premature birth and how it can be prevented. To date, many of the causes of premature birth are still unknown. The March of Dimes has launched a major new research initiative to find the causes of premature birth and are creating a network of five Prematurity Research Centers. Two centers are already at work, with hundreds of researchers working as a team to uncover the causes of premature birth.
This March of Dimes has also made this infographic on premature births available:
As a parent of a preemie, World Prematurity Day is important to me. Having gone through life in the NICU and experiencing what we did, I’m an advocate for preemie awareness and offer support to parents who are going through what we went through five years ago.
It may sound strange to some, but I’m fiercely proud of Little One. I’m not proud because she can sing and dance and count and create. I’m not proud that she can jump and skip or go horseback riding. I’m proud of her for the very fact that she is alive. She’s a fighter. Every day in the NICU was a battle that she won. We never knew what would happen from one day to the next. To all the medical staff, social workers, fellow NICU parents and everyone at Mount Sinai, thank you for being our second family. Though the years have flown by, we will never forget what transpired from November 2008 to January 2009.
It is my hope that other parents of preemies receive the care and support that we received and know that there are people who have gone through what they are experiencing with their preemies in the NICU. With more research and providing awareness, hopefully one day the global problem of premature birth can be prevented.