Guest Mom: Shining a light on preemies during World Prematurity Day
Posted November 16, 2011
Editor's Note: From time to time here on Go Ask Mom, we'll have guest mom bloggers. Today, we'll hear from Ashley Collins, a local mom whose daughter was born 11 weeks early.
This time last year, our family was smack dab in the aftershock of prematurity.
Our first and only child, Beatrice Kate, was born the previous March - a birthday that was 11 weeks too early. Because of this, we were quarantined to our house during cold and flu season in order to better protect our former preemie’s preciously fragile immune system.
Prematurity happened to our family through no fault of our own. Suddenly, our daughter was a statistic. She became a part of the One in Eight babies who are born too soon in this country. That’s nearly 1,400 each day. And that’s too many.
But, because of research funded by organizations like March of Dimes and because of the amazing level of care she was given at the North Carolina Children’s Hospital, Beatrice Kate is not only simply just living. Today, she is thriving.
That’s why Thursday, on the first ever World Prematurity Day, it’s important to pipe up for preemies. It’s important to let parents who are just beginning their journeys through the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit know that yes, prematurity is a scary thing, but it doesn’t necessarily have to mean the end of all your parenting hopes and dreams.
If you had asked me last year if I thought there was a light at the end of the Prematurity Tunnel, I would have said, “Heck no," because prematurity can have lifelong effects. But now, as I sit and watch my 18-month-old run and shout and color with crayons on the walls, I can say, “Yes, there can be a happy ending sometimes."
Because now, a year and half out, my baby, the one who fit into her father’s hand at birth, is just as rascally, just as silly, and just as everything as her peers.
While we’re thankful for our “happy ending," we are keenly aware that prematurity is a growing problem worldwide. In the past 25 years, prematurity rates have risen more than 36 percent in the United States alone. Babies born even just a few weeks early are at a risk for severe health problems and lifelong disabilities.
Without organizations like March of Dimes and caregivers like the ones Beatrice Kate had at UNC, our story could have been much, much different. So today, we’ll shine the spotlight on prematurity in hopes that someday our raised awareness can help One in Eight become None in Eight.