Saturday was world prematurity day, Many, many thanks to all of you who wore purple and who took the time to tell others about prematurity. It is a very real problem worldwide and in the United States.
In other parts of the world far too many babies that are born prematurely die because of the lack of adequate medical care. Even without the most advanced medical techniques, like the ones that saved Virginia, many of these babies can be saved with simple education and care. Many babies die of jaundice, diarrhea, dehydration and simply because they cannot maintain their temperature. Simple medications, basic warming isolettes, phototherapy lights, and even education about kangaroo care could save many of these babies.
In the last 20-30 years in the United States there has been tremendous improvement in the outcomes for premature babies, especially among the smallest and sickest babies. With that said, the crisis of prematurity has gotten more and more troubling. The rate of premature birth in the United States is among the highest in industrialized nations. There are many reasons for this, but none of them should be excuses not to push for more awareness, funding and education to improve these statistics. It is important to note that most of the time a premature birth is of no fault of the mother or family. I still struggle with guilt, but I know that I did everything I could have done to have a healthy full term baby. I fought hard for every hour of my pregnancy and would have done ANYTHING to spare Virginia of all she went through while in the NICU and all she continues to go through.
Below is a photo of Virginia from last year on world prematurity day and then again this year. She is pictured with the same beanie baby lamb in both photos.