Thursday, November 17, 2011

World Prematurity Awareness Day

The March of Dimes is trying to raise awareness for the serious problems of premature births, and has asked people to blog about it on today, November 17th, "World Prematurity Awareness Day".  A friend of mine, Robin Weiss, made me aware of this day.  She's a true expert.  I'm not.  But I do have a story to share...

I have a twin brother, and we were both born 2 months early.  So this is very personal for me.  I'm afraid Hurricane Katrina wiped out almost our entire family photo history (including pictures of us in our incubators), but I did manage to find the above picture (one of only a rare few) of my mom with the 2 of us, fresh from the hospital, where we lived our first few weeks of life.  I can only imagine how those first few weeks were for my parents, who weren't even aware that they were having twins until my mom's labor continued.  Back then, she was even given DES to stop her early labor, a drug which has since been shown to cause horrible problems in the baby who is exposed to it (that would be me and my brother).  My mom wasn't given the option to nurse us, and neither my mom or dad were allowed to touch or hold us.  My dad wasn't even allowed in the delivery room.  These such practices have thankfully changed.  Our birth happened before the discovery of light therapy to treat high bilirubin, and I was also subjected to a "blood exchange transfusion".

None of this is news to parents of premature babies.  I was fortunate that my 2 boys were born full term and were, for the most part, healthy.  We've come a long ways, but the effects of premature birth not only effect a tiny baby and his of her parents, but can be permanent and persist throughout a life time.  For me, that's personal!

1 comment:

My Sweet Prairie said...

I recognize her smile. Is that your mom? Wow. Twins are especially susceptible to being premature. What a story! Thanks for the awareness. I'm from the other end of the spectrum where I gave birth to 2-3 wk overdue babies. They were fine, but the size of three month olds and I nearly didn't survive. Why can't babies just be 'on time' !?