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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Born Too Soon

The twitter world is a buzz (a tweet?) with the #borntoosoon tag. So what is this all about?  Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth has been released, providing a clear breakdown country  by country of where pre term births happen. Everyone is talking about prevention, intervention and help for these parents and babies affected by pre-term birth, the reason my blog is even here.

I found a link-up on Brit Mums with some interesting questions for people to answer about premature birth, whether you were directly affected by it or not. 

One question she asked was how did I feel and cope at the time.

Whoa. Flashbacks. Let's hold back the tears shall we?

I've met a lot of parents of preemies lately. They're all so up beat, so positive. I want to punch them sometimes. We were all in the same boat. We all had the same emotions. Is it a coping mechanism that we're positive and upbeat with each other, now, now that one way or another, we've made it through the hardest part of prematurity. And no, the hardest part isn't just the NICU. I'm not even sure if we're completely out of the "hardest part" yet. Some preemies face challenges their entire lives. I'm not sure if we're in the clear yet. We might still have some challenges ahead.

So how does it feel to have a preemie?

I don't think anyone can really answer that unless you've experienced it. The fear. The anxiety. The sickness in your stomach that you might not get to go home with your baby. The panic when you've been given bad news. The constant babbling in your ear from the doctors, your family, friends, random strangers. The looks you get when you walk up to the maternity ward, see all the happy families waiting for their loved ones to give birth, then you make a left toward the NICU, and they all know your baby is sick.

How do you cope with all of those emotions? Do you cope? I'm not sure. I'm not sure I've coped at all. I've made it through, but did I have a choice? I couldn't breathe for my baby or make them magically grow. All I could do some days was hold their tiny, tiny fingers and cry.

Almost a year later, how does it feel to have a preemie? Like all parents, my heart left my body when I gave birth. It was in my precious little newborns. But unlike most parents, my heart was fighting to survive. My little hearts were so strong and they fought through and made it. We are so, so lucky.

Maybe a way I do cope is to let people know that my babies are preemies. They were born too soon. They aren't alone. Millions of babies across the world are fighting for their lives right now. And there is so much everyone can do to prevent prematurity, to help families of preemies, and to make a difference in a baby's life if you want to. You just have to want to help. There are organizations, there are NICUs near you, there are people in your life who probably have had a baby born too soon. You just need to reach out and want to help.

No baby should have to be born too soon.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Emily

    Thank you so much for linking up! I am glad I discovered your blog. I write at Not Even A Bag of Sugar.

    I look forward to following you now!