When you are pregnant and your pregnancy is going well and you are healthy, you are just plain happy. Happy for the future, happy for your child (or children in my case) to come. You never really think about prematurity if all is well. But when it comes, and you have no choice or very little choices, you are suddenly faced with many fears. Will they be ok? Will I be ok? How will we take care of them? Who will take care of us and our other children? What was just a happy and simple pregnancy has now become very difficult and scary.
And even in the midst of all the chaos of feeding tubes, and respiratory distress, and scheduled appointments, and planned pumping, and trips back and forth to the NICU from far away, I always answered “I’m fine. So long as they are ok, we’re ok.” And while that is true, it is also not the whole story. I didn’t have time to discuss my feelings of inadequacy or fear – I was busy! We all were! My husband was busy working and taking care of our first child, I was busy pumping and nursing and traveling back and forth to the hospital, and the twins were busy…surviving. It was not what I wanted for them. It was not what I wanted for the big brother waiting at home. It was not what I wanted for us as a family. But I had no choice. I was not in charge of this moment. I was faced with it, head on and I had to act on it with patience and calm and gratitude – knowing that this chaos would pass and we would soon be a family in our home, together.
And while it did happen for us and our children, about a month and a half after they were born, this is not the case for others. Worldwide, 13 million babies are born too soon each year. And of those, a million babies die because they were born too soon. In some cases, as in mine, prematurity happened spontaneously. In other situations, it can be avoided. For more information on this, as well as how you can help in various ways, visit www.marchofdimes.com
Premature birth is the number one killer of newborn babies. With the proper awareness, we can help change those statistics. November is Prematurity Awareness Month so take some time to find out all the events and ways to support and raise awareness to this problem. I know mamas can make a difference, share your story and spread the word! If you have a story to share, please comment below or visit Shareyourstory.org to find out more. With love, Mama MOE