Every year more than 500,000 babies are born premature. Of those, 4,800 will never go home. So many of us have been personally affected or have known a family whose baby was born premature. And if you haven’t experienced it–even from afar–it can be devastating, scary, life-threatening and host of other consequences, sending families into a spiral abyss of unknown. Life becomes a day-to-day battle of wondering and praying for your child to make it just one more hour, one more minute – sometimes, one more breath. Those that are saved, often suffer long-term birth defects.
I have known a couple of friends that had premature babies. One was born at the tender gestational age of 24 weeks and 5 days. Do you have any idea how incredibly young that is?
Go to any pregnancy calendar or book and you will learn the following things happen at that stage of pregnancy:
– Brain still developing
– Lungs develop “branches” of the respiratory tree
– Taste buds develop
– Baby weighs about 1 lb
– 16 weeks still to go before full term birth
Luckily, the preemie babies I have known overcame unsurmountable odds and won the fight for survival. They are thriving and growing today. Both are girls and both are three years old, interestingly. It would be an understatement to say the weeks or months that it took those families just to bring their babies home from the hospital were difficult. The learning, therapy and medical appointments continued long afterward.
Because their personal stories are not mine to tell, I simply wanted to share a compelling video created by a dear friend of mine who has lived through the experience of having a premature child, and also knows first-hand the difference that research and special programs for preemies can make. She is a strong mother and a crusader for the cause.
The March for Babies fund raising, volunteer drive and planning is in full swing now. The donations from those efforts goes to important research and programs that help babies begin healthy lives.
I don’t mean to sound like a public service announcement because I am not getting sponsored or paid to say any of this. I just encourage you all to watch this short video montage which is my friend’s real-life baby album. It will bring tears to your eyes to see a wedding band held up next to their newborn that is larger than the baby’s foot. But, most of all, I hope that her daughter’s survival and growth will inspire you to help.
I thank her for bravely sharing family photos and hope it will give others courage and understanding about how important this issue is.
To find out more about how you can support this cause or walk in the March for Babies please visit the March of Dimes website. If you live in the D.C. area and wish to participate or to just donate to Team Elle click here.
All my love and support to the family of baby Elle and others who have been through this.
- March of Dimes Selects North Carolina Girl as its 65th National Ambassador (prnewswire.com)
- Samantha Harris Host 5th Annual Celebration of Babies (thegreengirls.com)
- Prolonging Pregnancy: New Drug Fights Premature Birth (healthland.time.com)
- New Drug Reduces Preterm Birth (webmd.com)