Thursday, November 14, 2013

World Prematurity Day

World Prematurity Day is quickly approaching and every year it is celebrated on November 17th.  This year it is this coming Sunday and I wanted to spread the word as preterm births is very common in the multiple-births community.  I want to focus everyone's attention on the global problem of premature birth – starting right here in Brampton!
 
The World Health Organization defines preterm birth as any birth before 37 completed weeks of gestation, or fewer than 259 days since the first day of a women's last menstrual period.  According to the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation, in 2008, 7.9% of live births in Canada were preterm births.   Worldwide  - more than 1 in 10 babies is born premature. That is 15 million per year.  Over 1 million infants die every year due to complications of preterm birth.  Prematurity is the leading cause of death in newborns and the second most common cause of death in children under 5 years of age.
 
The theme colour for this Day is Purple – pay attention to some of the buildings that may be around you in the major city centres as some will join the Global Illumination Project and light up the night skies in purple!  This year I am not aware of Brampton being involved – but TPAB will work on getting the City and/or Brampton Civic Hospital to light up purple next year for 2014! 
  • Last year the NICU Parent Partners and Family Members of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, got the CN Tower in Toronto to be lit up. This year SickKids, Mount Sinai and Sunnybrook in Toronto are collaborating and the CN Tower will be lit up purple for the second year in a row!  There is a sundown vigil at the tower planned - ALL are invited to gather around the tower at sundown. 
  • Niagara Falls will also be illuminated in purple on November 17.
Dress your kids in Purple on Sunday and let all your family and friends know why!  Join us in raising awareness!
 
Please read below one of our member's NICU story as told in her own words.  I am sure many of us have been through the same story and it is comforting to know we are NOT ALONE.  Feel free to share your stories with us and let me know if you'd like me to share it on our Facebook page for other members to read.  Thanks Claudia for sharing your story :)
 

NICU days

November 11, 2013 at 12:12pm

I wanted to share my story, since November 17th is world Prematurity Day:

When I was growing up I always thought about how fun it would be to one day have multiple-birth babies. I thought about what it would be like to bring home two chubby little babies at the same time. No one ever shared with me some of the common realities multiple-birth families faced. I didn't realize the impact that a preterm birth can have on multiple-birth babies.

At 8 weeks I found out I was having twins. I was all over the place with my emotions, feeling happy , nervous, excited, scared...I was told of the realities and some of the statistics of carrying multiple babies to term and tried to remain positive that I would have term babies, but that was not to be.

At 32 weeks, gestation my tiny 4Lbs and 3Lbs baby boy and girl arrived quickly and with little to no preparation time for me. It happen so quickly, into the operating room - had to have a C-section. One of the babies was head up, and despite me being very optimistic throughout the whole pregnancy that I was going to deliver these babies naturally, the doctor strongly suggested a c-section.

My little miracles were whisked away from me very quickly where they were stabilized and received medical support .Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU); the best equipped unit to provide lifesaving medical interventions to such small premature infants.

My excitement and hopes for the future were dashed by the sudden arrival of my twins and replaced with feelings of despair and hopelessness. My husband and I could not do anything to help them. My husband and I had to stand back and let a medical team take over with the hopes that they would work their "magic". Then finally, after many almost 2 months in the NICU , Maya was able to come home with us, but then another heartbreaking event , Brandon had to stay behind.. He was having these episode where he would stop breathing on his own ... The machines he was connect to would sound off this loud alarm . So he stayed for almost another 2 weeks... During those 2 weeks, me and my husband went back and forth everyday with our 5 year old daughter and our little peanut, to visit their brother.

When I reflect on that time, 20 months ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. I felt very alone at that time, as though no one really knew what my husband and I were going through, unless they had lived it before. During our NICU time, life was not easy, as I'm sure you can imagine, seeing your child attached to all these machines is a nightmare for any parent. When we were finally all home together, as a big family... Another challenge begun ... Having not much family to help us with our children ... It was non stop all day, all night. Now, my twins, 20 months old, looking at my life... I feel so blessed, thankful and over joyed. I have 3 healthy, beautiful children...
And thank-goodness that the NICU days are behind us.

Claudia :)

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