Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Have You Hugged Your Preemie Today?

Today is National Prematurity Awareness Day sponsored by the March of Dimes. Today is a day to fight for Perron and the other 534,000 babies that are born premature each year. I guarantee that it is not a club that any of the mother's of those half a million babies wanted to be in, but through our worry and our sorrow we have gotten to witness the fighting spirit of our little miracles. One of the most frustrating things about prematurity is that in most cases doctors do not know why these babies come too soon. And even in cases like mine where they technically know why Perron came to soon, they don't know what causes pre-eclampsia and why some of those cases become severe and develop into HELLP syndrome. I had absolutely no risk factors that would lead anyone to believe that I would be at risk for the disease.

These babies that are born too soon are born with a fighting spirit. Being born premature is the single most important cause of death in children under the age of one....pre-term births account for over 50% of mental disabilities...250 babies are born prematurely every 10 minutes. The statistics on late term preemies, while better than babies born before 32 week, are still grim. According to the March of Dimes, late term preemies are:

* 6 times more likely than full-term infants to die in the first week of life (2.8 per 1,000 vs. 0.5 per 1,000)
* 3 times more likely to die in the first year of life (7.9 per 1,000 vs. 2.4 per 1,000)


"A recent study, found that late preterm infants are more than 3 times as likely to develop cerebral palsy and are slightly more likely to have developmental delays than babies born full term (18). Another study found that adults who were born at 34 to 36 weeks gestation may be more likely than those born full-term to have mild disabilities and to earn lower long-term wages".

Sobering statistics for any parent to have to face. Take all of the typical worries that a first time mom faces and add to that the additional worries associated with prematurity and it can be a lot to take.

We are blessed that Perron has done as well as he has. Yes he has some issues. Yes it has been a harder road for Stephen and I than we imagined. Yes it has been scary. Yes it has been stressful. Yes it is hard for people to understand what you are going through. Yes it is hard to have to be a constant advocate for your child. Yes has been totally worth it.

These babies are born with fighting spirits. They have to, they need them to survive, thrive and beat the odds. Perron was willing and able to fight for us and I will spend every day for the rest of my life fighting for him in whatever way I need to. He's worth it.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure Perron will be just fine. You guys just keep working hard and advocating for him and he will grow up to be a strong smart guy! I sent you and email back. Hope you got it. Perron and Isabelle have the same service coordinator and PT!