Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Prematurity Awareness Day

Today is Prematurity Awareness Day. There are bloggers all over the world sharing their stories as part of the March of Dimes Bloggers Unite campaign. Here's a small part of our story.
Lydia was born at 28 weeks. I'm not sure that people can imagine how small she was. When she was born, she was just under 2 1/2lbs and 14 inches long. Her arms and legs were the length and width of our fingers. We could literally pick her up in the palms of our hands. If you want to know all types of Lydia-specific preemie details, you can follow the link at the top of the page. It is a product of preemie parenting that I have captured every single minute detail of our experience. Even long after I didn't really need to, I still wrote every single thing down. Just in case something happened and I needed to have documentation of her progress. I think it controlled me for a while...that feeling of needing to recapture some control. The NICU left me feeling helpless and numb for a long time.Lydia turned 1 on November 2nd. Lydia has not had any major illnesses and so far is on track developmentally for her adjusted age. I know that we are lucky to have come out of this relatively unscathed. There are many preemies that are born around the same time, even around 30-32 weeks that have many more complications. Respiratory issues, feeding issues, gross motor issues, fine motor issues...the whole range of parenting woes. I don't know if they're magnified because we had a preemie. I do feel like I have a heightened awareness to look out for things that may be out of the ordinary. And I probably live more in a, 'prepare and prevent' type of mode rather than a, 'whatever today brings' mode. Is that good or bad? I guess they both have their pros and cons.
The March of Dimes has done so much research into preventing prematurity and in helping preemie babies survive. Without the steroid shots, I do not believe that Lydia's brain and lungs would have been developed to be as strong as they are today. I am lucky to have had the time to be able to get the full set of shots before she was born. Please consider walking with us next year in the March for Babies in April. Thanks to everyone who supported us last year.
We are so grateful to the MUSC Children's Hospital. The NICU is a scary and awe-inspiring place. There were many struggling babies and I often wonder what happened to some of them. The nurses were so compassionate and supportive. Alethia saved my life as a mother. She was the first nurse I spoke to and she knew just how important her words would be. To be honest, I'm not really sure what she said to me. All I know is that the first time I entered the NICU, I was fearful and she did not judge me. She showed me compassion when I needed it the most. Gary is the wonderful father I always knew he would be. His parents brought him up to be a loving family man - centered, grounded, calm and stable. He is honest and true.
There are many people that helped us along the way. Friends at work that came to visit, cooked for us, gave us gas money to go to the hospital every day, threw me a baby shower when Lydia got home. Those that cried with me, laughed with me, shared our fears and joys with us. Friends and family that called to check on me and came to visit. You hold a special place in our hearts. We are eternally grateful for your support and love.
Today, Lydia is 18lbs 6oz, 28 inches tall. How about that?


Sadia said...

Thanks for sharing your story. The NICU is an experience that only other parents who've been through it can fully understand. When I run into other mothers of twins, I find that the first thing we end up discussing (after agreeing how adorable everyone's children are) is how early our kids were and how we made it through the NICU days.

It's both heart-warming and heart-breaking to realize how many families have been through the experience of premature birth and its aftermath.

Your Lydia is just beautiful!

MoDLin said...

Look at your little Lydia... so tiny! I totally understand your writing down everything to try to get some sense of control. Control is something that is quite elusive for preemie parents.
Thank you for this wonderful post and for supporting the March of Dimes. We all need to fight for preemies.

Sadia said...

I couldn't find an e-mail address for you, so I'll just post another comment.

I was born in Oxford, but don't remember living there. The first home I remember was Aberdeen, Scotland, and then I spent some time in London. I then spent 10 years in Bangladesh before moving to the US. It's funny that I still consider myself British above all my other nationalities, since I haven't lived in the UK in 22 years!

How did you meet your husband? It must have been a little nerve-wracking to move so far!

You can e-mail me at sadia47 at gmail dot com.

Take care!

Jason said...

Thanks for being part of the BloggersUnite event and helping to raise awareness for the March of Dimes and all they do.