World Prematurity Awareness Day Is November 17th: Here Is My Story

Earlier this week, I told you that today, November 17th is Preemie Awareness Day. For multiples, full term is often considered 36 weeks instead of 40 weeks, my twins were born at 35 weeks. You can read about their birth day here.

When I was placed in the hospital after being in premature labor and on modified bed rest for most of my pregnancy, I knew that I was going to have a C-Section. What I didn’t consider was that the babies would come earlier than they were supposed to.

Our doctor explained to us that since the hospital I was having the babies at didn’t have a NICU, I could be transferred to a hospital that did. The problem with that was that he wouldn’t be able to perform the C-Section; a doctor whom I had never met before would have to. This was a decision Jason and I would have to make.

The doctor went on to explain all of the complications and issues that could happen with Baby A and Baby B (their names at the time ). Premature babies often face an increased risk of serious medical complications and often spend weeks or longer in the NICU. That was really scary.

He also told us that because their immune systems and lungs aren’t fully developed, it was very likely that they would develop infections and could have other respiratory problems. 79% of preemie moms have a baby who is hospitalized due to a severe respiratory infection. One virus in particular is respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV.

facts_about_RSVRSV is contracted by nearly all children by the age of two, often causing relatively minor symptoms…most parents just think it’s a common cold. But preemies are at risk for developing much more serious symptoms, including a serious respiratory infection (severe RSV disease) from the virus, because their lungs are underdeveloped and they don’t have the antibodies needed to fight off infection.

Our doctor also told us that the girls seemed to be doing perfectly well and he felt that they could be delivered without any complications. Our doctor was one of the best in the area, and had been delivering babies for years (he delivered my 25 year old brother!) Based on his expertise, we decided to have him deliver the babies.

After the babies were delivered, I was so afraid. They were so small. There were so many nurses surrounding both of them. Jason looked concerned but told me everything was fine. The babies were rushed out of the room and taken to the nursery while I headed to recovery.

It was only after the babies were brought to me that Jason told me there was initially some concern that Mia was having some problems breathing and had to be given oxygen. However we were very lucky because other than that, both girls were perfectly healthy and spent no time in the NICU and had no medical issues.

We were extremely lucky to have healthy preemies; many other parents of preemies, like my friend Jessica at Four Plus an Angel, were not as lucky. Do you have a story about your preemies? Sharing our stories brings awareness to how serious babies born prematurely is. Our words have strength. Share your story.

For more about the specialized health needs of preterm infants, visit www.preemievoices.com and to learn more about RSV, visit www.rsvprotection.com.

I wrote this while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. However this topic is something that I would have been writing about whether or not I received anything for it. These words are all my own.