Thursday, November 13, 2008

November is Prematurity Awareness Month

November is Prematurity Awareness Month.

A little more than 6 years ago, I learned that my first baby would be born too soon at 34 weeks gestation. My precious cargo, Grace Ann, entered this world early because of my preeclampsia. She was my biggest baby weighing in at 3 pounds, 14.5 ounces, and 17 1/2 inches long. She had difficulty breathing, eating, and growing. To this day, Grace still deals with issues related to her prematurity, but nonetheless is doing well in first grade. Can she really be 6 already? Wow! I'm eternally grateful for Grace and the wonderful neonatal care she received.

A little more than 4 years ago, I learned that my second baby would be born extremely too early at 27 weeks gestation. My tiny peanut, Meghan Rose, was born a preemie because I developed preeclampsia yet again. She was unbelievably small to me weighing in at just 725 grams, aka 1 pound, 9.5 ounces, and 13 inches long. She was called a micropreemie, and proved herself to be a fighter every scary step of the way. Today, she is in kindergarten, and keeping up with her classmates even though she is still very tiny. We're happy she is growing, albeit ever so slowly, but she is happy and quite the character...ever so feisty like she was in her incubator.

Every day 1 in 8 babies born in the U.S. arrives too soon. Premature birth can happen to any pregnant woman. It is a serious, common, and costly problem. The March of Dimes is leading the campaign to reduce premature birth by supporting research and by educating the public and health care providers.

In tribute to the miracle baby survivors of preeclampsia, please consider donating to the March of Dimes. I would be so proud if you could. Grace & Meghan thank you too.

Jen, mom of Grace & Meghan

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