Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Prematurity Awareness Day

Today is the 8th annual Prematurity Awareness Day that is held by the March of Dimes. The MOD released their annual report card on premature births today in honor of Prematurity Awareness day and the US scored a D but I was even more horrified to see that my state of Georgia scored an F. The goal for premature births is 7.6% or less but the US has a percentage of 12.3%. But, there is reason to be optimistic as the rate of premature births have gone down over the last few years. The MOD has a lot of great information pertaining to prematurity if you would like more information and ways that you can help to fight prematurity.
I knew that I had a huge chance of having a preemie when I found out that I was pregnant with Cooper. Most women that go on to have a baby following a uterine rupture do delivery at 37 weeks since the baby is considered full-term and the docs don't want to push the uterus more than they have to. I was totally comfortable with the 37 week delivery then the placenta increta was discovered so my delivery was pushed to 34 weeks which was still good according to my high-risk ob-gyn and my perinatologist. Many of you know that I was admitted into the hospital at 24 weeks due to the placenta increta (which would've killed us both if anything happened outside of the hospital) with every intention of being there for 10 weeks. I woke up on the morning of November 1, 2010 with pain in my back (I had no idea that labor could start there!) and Cooper not moving. I expressed concern to my nurse that Cooper wasn't moving (I didn't care about the back pain that I was experiencing but more for the welfare of my baby but I guess having a stillborn baby will do that to you) and they hooked me up to the NST machine. My nurse came back within 7 minutes and said "we're having a baby today! You're in preterm labor..." Now, some will wonder why they wouldn't just stop the preterm labor especially since I was only 31 weeks BUT you can't with a uterus that has experienced a rupture. You deliver as soon as the uterus begins to show distress. I was rolled into the operating room and met the nicu team who would be taking care of my baby. I was put to sleep but the last words whispered into my ears were "you're going to have a beautiful baby boy when you wake up..."

My hubby was in the hallway waiting for Cooper to be rolled to the nicu with his camera ready to take the first pic of our son. We were so lucky because I had received steroid shots for his lungs just 48 hours before he was born! He had to intubated twice to give his lungs surfactant which helps his lungs to not stick together but other than that he only wore a c-pap and cannula to help him breath. He weighed 4 pounds and was 16.5 inches long. He came into the world with a headful of red hair which made my Irish (-German) heart happy!

He spent almost 38 days in the nicu for normal preemie stuff like learning to breath without any assistance, Apnea, and that whole learning how to suck/swallow/breath thing that all of us take for granted! His lingering preemie problems are the severe reflux and his heart murmur. Surprisingly, his hypotonia has nothing to do with his premature birth.

I realize how blessed we are every day to have him home with us in overall great health. Not all preemie parents do and many preemie babies will never see their first birthday. I don't take that fact lightly. I can count on one hand the times that I've whined about lack of sleep, poopie diapers or any of the usual baby/new parent issues. I've NEVER complained about any of the many appointments to neurologists, cardiologists, urologists, his weekly PT/OT/ST because I would do everything a million times over to have my perfect and dearly loved son.

In a perfect world, every mom gets the chance to go into labor (full-term) and have a delivery with a screaming baby that needs no medical intervention. I've often daydreamed about how that must feel! To meet your baby within seconds or minutes of their entrance into the world and not 12 hours later. How it must feel to hold your baby and kiss them shortly after birth and not 2 days later. How it must feel to be able to breastfeed your infant within minutes after birth and not weeks later. This wasn't in the cards for us but I'm so grateful for the medical advances that gave my baby every chance to succeed!

1 comment:

  1. So, so grateful for the sweet little miracle of Cooper....purple was a great color yesterday!!! xoxoxo