A week and a half ago a friend shared with me that one of her best friends was inpatient, 29 weeks pregnant with premature rupture of her membranes. My heart immediately sank. I could envision the tests the doctors were doing, the IV medication she was receiving. I asked if she had received steroids for the baby's lungs, a little boy. Mom was having intermittent contractions that I explained were not braxton-hicks to get her baby turned from the breech position to a head down position. Those contractions were real and would likely be making changes to her cervix. Her admission length could be long. Her due date was in January. She was feeling sad for her friend having to be in the hospital that long. During this conversation with my very smart, well educated friend I realized she was quite unfamiliar with the seriousness of her friend's situation and the real possibility that her baby would likely be born prematurely.
A week ago my friend's friend delivered her baby boy just before the 30 week mark. He weighed 3lbs 3oz. He is on nasal cannula, IV medications, and has a NG tube. He is precious and beautiful. He has been doing kangaroo care with his Momma. He's small but mighty. And he has a long road ahead of him. He will likely be in the NICU until January, closer to his due date, barring any complications. The day we were talking about this sweet boy I learned that his Momma would be discharged home the next day. I told my friend that that day would be incredibly hard for his Momma. I encouraged her to reach out with a text message or phone call to let her know she was there for her. There are few things more unnatural than delivering your baby and going home without them. I shared with her that on my discharge day I became so upset that I became physically ill. I knew Hanna and Rachel were where they needed to be but I wanted them home with me.
We continued on with our conversation about what the NICU road might look like, the challenges he will face and the emotional toll this journey will have on her friend, for years to come. At one point she said "I'm glad she can go home, instead of being in the hospital all that time. She can get ready for his homecoming, and have her baby shower." I completely understand that she didn't realize what she had just said. I quickly and a bit abruptly said "It's not better that she's at home and he's in the NICU. He would be much better off inside her womb developing in the the environment created for him." I may have seemed harsh and angry but I reacted from experience. My heart reacted. I'm sorry, but I'm not sorry for the reaction I had. I hope that my reaction conveyed just how serious his premature birth is.
She has seen pictures of my girls, and knows their story. She's seen it, and heard it many times. And she's always been empathetic. But in one moment, during one conversation I realized how unaware she truly is of the seriousness of prematurity.
I was asked to write about Prematurity and raising awareness this month. As we spend our 10th year raising awareness on the epidemic of Prematurity I wasn't sure how I could say it any more clearly than I have in the previous years. How I could continue to make our story important and impactful. It was in that moment during that conversation that I knew... it didn't matter how I said it. It just mattered that I say today, tomorrow, next month and next year. And I have to continue to share our story and raise awareness until the is a cure found.
I wish I could save this precious boy and his Momma and Daddy from the road ahead of them. I can't change the course they're on but I can do my best to change the course for others. So this year, and every year to come I will raise awareness during the month of November on the serious issue of premature birth.
Thank you for all that you do to raise awareness for premature birth. I agree, too often I feel people don't understand how serious the situation can be. It is inspiring that you are in your tenth year of sharing your story and trying to fight premature birth.
Wow. I realize that people who are not involved in MOD and who have not experienced prematurity or any kind of NICU stay just can't understand how much better off a baby is inside his mother no matter how inconvenient it might be for that mom to have to be in the hospital but for someone to have actually SAID that do you amazes me. Yikes!
I'm so glad you educated your friend. I know she didn't mean any harm but it's comments like that that show us who much more awareness needs to happen.
Thank you, Karri for all that you do to raise awareness, to raise funds, to support families who are going through this. Thank you for making it your mission, for making your story and your girls' stories mean something and make a difference in this big world.
So much love to you always,
Karri, I am so glad you know this person and that sharing your knowledge will hopefully change her thought process and help her friend. No one really gets it, and I find that when I advocate people don't understand or think I don't know what I'm talking about, since Abbey wasn't premature nor was Josie. Thank you for everything you do to raise awareness, by simply saying what needs to be said and for your continued fundraising and efforts.
Love and Hugs
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