- You'd never know that they were born 15 weeks premature.
- You'd never know that they weighed 1 lb 8 oz and 1 lb 13 oz at birth.
- You'd never know that rather than snuggle them after birth, my husband Joe and I watched nurses force air into their lungs to keep them alive.
- You'd never know that they were 2 weeks old before they were held by their parents for the first time.
- You'd never know that for the first month of their lives a machine did their breathing for them, because their lungs were too underdeveloped to it on their own.
- You'd never know that they were fed with tubes for the first 10 weeks or so of their lives, because they weren't strong enough or coordinated enough to suck on a bottle.
- You'd never know that they used to stop breathing dozens of times a day.
- You'd never know that they spent 95 and 99 days in the NICU before coming home.
- You'd never know that are actually triplets, and that their sister Annaleigh passed away when she was 8 weeks old from NEC, an intestinal infection found in premature babies.
You'd never know. But now you do.
Charlie and Lily were not alone in their battle with prematurity. Every year, half a million babies in the United States are born too soon, too small and very sick - that's 1 in every 8 babies. Since 1981, the rate of premature birth has risen 30%, and in half the cases it is not understood what went wrong. The March of Dimes is leading the fight for answers, and ultimately, prevention.
Today, November 17th, is National Prematurity Awareness Day. You now know the story of our babies. If you have a story of your own, please share it today in support of March of Dimes. Visit March of Dimes Prematurity Awareness to join the fight against prematurity. We need to fight - because babies shouldn't have to.
Charlie - one day old.
Lily - one day old.Our Annaleigh. 6/27/09 - 8/22/09.