When Mike and I got married, we had the typical plans for our life together. Careers, a house with a yard for the dog, and a handful of kids to fill the house. We didn’t plan on any of those kids to be born prematurely. No one ever does. And yet, over half a million babies a year are born too soon.
I did everything I was supposed to do before I got pregnant with Madeline. I went to the doctor and had a physical, I was in good shape, I took prenatal vitamins. I ate right, took care of myself, and was pro-active about my medical care. I did everything I was supposed to do, and I still had a premature baby.
The thing is, if it can happen to me and Madeline, it can happen to anyone.
We know now that the most likely reason for Madeline’s early arrival was my then-undiagnosed clotting disorder. Yet, in more than half of premature births, the doctors have no idea what happened. NO IDEA why pregnancies that were progressing normally resulted in babies being born weeks and months early. The thing that scares me even more? The number of premature births has increased 31 percent since 1981. There have been so many advances in medical care, and our babies are more at risk than ever.
My Maddie was born in my 28th week of pregnancy. She was in the NICU for ten weeks, but she came home and thrived, and yet prematurity still was one of the primary causes listed on her death certificate SEVENTEEN MONTHS after her birth. I get sick and angry and cry every day because my daughter isn’t here anymore, and she should be. She should be.
I am not saying this to scare parents to be. I’m saying this because knowledge is power. Prematurity is a crisis than can effect anyone. But, it is also something that everyone can help fight against. November is Prematurity Awareness Month, and today is Fight For Preemies day. Go here and learn what you can do to help prevent prematurity. Wee babies are amazing little fighters, but they shouldn’t have to be.
I hope that some day, that newlywed couple picturing their lives doesn’t plan on their child being born prematurely, because prematurity will no longer exist.
Fight for preemies…fight for Maddie.