Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You'd never know... (National Prematurity Awareness Day)

Take a look at our two happy, healthy babies above. Charlie and Lily play, laugh, clap, cuddle and throw their sippy cups like any normal toddlers. But there are plenty of things you'd never know just by looking at them.
  • 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.


happy_wife said...

What a beautiful post...a truly beautiful post to your three children.

Becky said...

That was beautiful Brooke. You have amazing babies and they have come so far since birth. Thinking of Annaleigh today and sending extra love your way.

Anonymous said...

Your post is wonderful -- I will support the March of Dimes forever because of Charlie, Lily, and Annaleigh. Charlie and Lily are truly amazing and I will always remember beautiful Annaleigh. I recently added her to our remembrance book at church. Thanks to you and Joe for sharing your stories and beautiful babies with us!


Aunt Rhea

Jessarella said...

Ok, that just made me cry. Look how far they have come. Thinking of your sweet Annaleigh today.

March of Dimes said...

Thank you for sharing your story, a touching tribute to your beautiful children, Charlie, Lily and Annaleigh. We really appreciate your support in helping to educate others about prematurity. Thanks for all that you do.

~Christine, March of Dimes

Brian and Crystal said...

Great post! Still gives me chills when I think back to those times we (Crystal) were in the hospital trying to hold out for as long as possible. It was amazing how similar our lives were going up until that point. It has been such a pleasure to keep up with you guys and for you to keep us all updated on everyones progress! I only hope that one day, our little premies will be able to meet yours, and Annaleigh can keep an eye on them!
Take care and keep up the good work! You two are an inspiration to us all!

Anonymous said...

God Bless you my sweet angels...
You certainly got the tears going again...
All My Love, Auntie :) xoxoxoxo

Susan Bearman said...

Your story is so much like the story of my 24-week preemie twins. A boy and a girl, 1 lb. 8 oz. and 1 lb. 10.5 oz. Today is their 19th birthday, and you'd never know. But we know. We will never forget. Best to you and your twins.

Layne said...

I've been following your blog since Charlie, Lily and Annaleigh were born. I work in the NICU and I knew what they were up against but I was praying my hardest for them. I cried and cried for Annaleigh and cursed NEC for the millionth time.

It's been a while since I've commented but I still follow Charlie and Lily and I still think of Annaleigh. I"m know pregnant with my first child, a little girl and I'm still working in the NICU. Your post was a beautiful addition to National Prematurity awareness day and I was so touched by it that I linked to it from my own blog.

Thank you for continuing to share your stories and your babies with us!

~Layne (Neonatal Nurse Practitioner)

Lydia and Kate said...

What a beautiful post and such beautiful babies! We're happy to among such good company on theBump awards! Congratulations!!