17 November 2012

World Prematurity Day: Purple for Preemies!

preemie kiss
Then & Now

prematurity statistics
1 in 10 worldwide. 1 in 8 in the U.S.

Why is today so important? Because too many women (and men) don't know enough about prematurity. If you'd asked me about it before Tristan was born I would have said something like, "It's when a baby is born early." How early? I don't think I knew. When did they stand a fighting chance? That I definitely didn't know.

I don't want another mom to walk around in labor all day. I don't want a mom to go to work while her baby is making his way out. You hear these wild stories and think it can't happen to you - but it can. It doesn't only exist on television.

My pregnancy was textbook. Even when the fire took our home and cats things appeared fine at my appointments. There is no official diagnosis for why I delivered at 30 weeks, though stress is what they suspect.

You never know, though, and this isn't meant to scare you. It's meant to open eyes to the reality of prematurity. So you won't just think it happens to other people and skip over the chapters in your books thinking it won't apply. Hopefully it won't, but for one out of eight babies born that family will have a preemie.

If you find yourself in this situation the best thing you can do for yourself is to reach out to other preemie moms. Only we can understand the heartache of never filling out your maternity clothes, not feeling legitimate kick, not seeing our feet, people stopping us on the street to ask when we're due. It's the little things that are actually quite big.

Things happened so differently for us.

I couldn't wait to have Tristan and have him lifted up and out of me and placed on my chest. There is a dull ache for that lost moment that won't ever go away. What would he have felt like? What little newborn snuffles would I have heard? I never expected to not see his face for close to six hours.

My son and I share a close bond. He's my preemie-head, even if he's a rockin' toddler-head now. I mean, he really rocks out. Tonight he discovered Kraftwerk's "The Robot," and danced like a punker. He's funny. He's such a big boy now.

There is something so surreal about watching your baby grow inside an incubator while they're supposed to still be inside of you. Your pregnancy e-mails still come each week telling you what fruit your baby is that week and you compare. It took him a long time to become a watermelon! Much longer than 40 weeks.

He was born weighing 3 lbs, 11 oz. He was 17.5" long. That seems enormous to me now because I have preemie goggles on. Many of my friends had micropreemies - teeny tiny 1 lb _ oz babies. Tonight I read another blog entry by a preemie mom who delivered at 23 weeks. When she wrote the weight I thought, "Wow! What a good size!" ::blink:: What happens to us? We live in an alternate reality.

What would I do without my preemie mom gang? I have no clue. They are my best friends in all the world. We laugh, we cry, we share the little things and cheer. We savor every moment for the gift that it is. Because so many other preemies don't make it. I can't imagine that kind of loss. One of our preemie moms lost her son last year. We cried. Then, a few months ago she made it to full term and we are still celebrating her baby boy. I don't think we will ever stop! We celebrate all our little miracles as well as each other because it takes a lot of guts to have a preemie.

To my Preemie Pen Pal crew, I love you, and thank you for all the support.

I will sign off with a few links:

Meet Scarlette and celebrate.

Tristan's wild ride into Dodge.

Check out the miracles I've come to call family.

Purple for Preemies: please promote awareness and understanding.

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