Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Blogging for Preemies

Do you know a baby that was born too soon, too small, unable to suck, unable to breathe on his own? Premature birth is a health crisis that jeopardizes the lives and health of nearly half-million babies each year. It is the #1 killer of newborns and can lead to lifelong disabilities. Worse: the number has increased 31 percent since 1981. It can happen without warning and for no known reason. Until we have more answers, anyone’s baby, could be born too soon.

Medical advances give even the tiniest babies a chance of survival, yet for many babies premature birth is still a life or death condition. It’s the #1 cause of death during the first month of life. And babies who survive face serious health challenges and risk lifelong disabilities.

The rate of premature birth has never been higher. In half the cases, we simply don’t understand what went wrong. We need to fight for answers. And, ultimately, preventions.

Today I blog for Emma and the millions of other premature babies, however instead of focusing on the unhappy side of our story (which you can find here, here and here), I am choosing to focus on the positive outcome of Emma’s birth.

Before Emma was born I didn’t know anyone who was or had a preemie and unfortunately since then I’ve had multiple friends in similar situations. Each time it happened my heart would break a little more because I knew the pain and fear that they were feeling. And yet each time it happened it also made it clear to me why we were “chosen” to take this journey.

Much like premature birth has become the March of Dimes’ fight, my fight has become support for parents of preemies. Unfortunately (or fortunately I guess), when Emma was in the NICU I didn’t know anyone who had been there before. I didn’t have someone to turn to who could tell me that my fears and guilt were normal. I didn’t have someone to talk to who really knew what I was going through and I didn’t realize it at the time, but no one should have to embark on this journey alone. I had an amazing support group of family and friends, but none of them had been in the same place as me and as wonderful as they were, it’s just not the same. My new goal is to make sure that no one has to feel alone, that there is someone to hold their hand or offer them advice and a tissue or just sit and listen to them cry.

Thursday evening marks the first meeting of the Rose NICU Support Group that I have spent months convincing the hospital that is needed. I have found other women with similar stories who also want to offer support to new preemie moms, I researched the *best* way to make this successful and I’m hoping (and trying my hardest to ensure) that the meeting is a success and that this group gets off the ground. I’m also hoping that the group at Rose is just the beginning and that soon my cause will be city (state? country?) wide.

I truly believe that Emma led us on this path so that I could discover this need that I am here to meet. It’s my hope that no one has to go through the trauma of having a premature baby, but until there is a way to guarantee that, I’m here to hold their hand along the way.


Jeff and Kerry said...

I think you already know this, but your involvement and support during my bed rest and early birth of Max and Wes was so appreciated by our family. Your friendship means so much to me...it's actually kind of hard to put into words. I wish there were a way for me to go back in time and be more supportive to you while you were in the hospital, unsure of what the future would hold. At the time, bringing cupcakes to a (then) stranger seemed like the appropriate and nice thing to do. Now that I know firsthand how you were feeling, it makes me sad that I wasn't there for you the way you were there for me (us) while I was in the same situation. I know for a fact that I NEVER would have made it through the first few weeks of bed rest and first few weeks after M&W were born without you holding my hand. It's something I will never ever forget, and I'll spend a lifetime "paying it forward" to those I know who are in a similar situation - all thanks to you. I love you, buddy.

The Maiden Metallurgist said...

I'm so proud to be your friend and I wish you the best. This is an amazing thing.

Rhonda said...

I think it's wonderful that you are doing this. A lot of families will benefit from your experience and compassion. I'm so proud of you! Good luck!

Trish said...

::pumps fist:: that's awesome about the support group.

Tanya said...

I'm super proud of you lady!

Aunt Becky said...

You should be so proud of yourself. I am so proud to know you. Thank you.

MoDLin said...

You are so inspirational. Good for you. I hope your meeting tonight is a wonerfully supportive and healing event for lots of moms and dads. Thank you for posting about such an important issue and for giving so much of yourself to others.

Suzie said...

To be able to take a painful experience and turn it into an opportunity to help others is truly admirable. Hats off to you Ivory...I'll keep your new endeavor in my thoughts and prayers.