This month is Prematurity Awareness Month, and today is being observed as Prematurity Awareness Day. Working as a nurse in the NICU, I come across a lot of preemies. I have seen pass through the doors of our NICU in the three-ish years I have worked there babies at many different stages of gestation. We have the 35-weekers, considered late preterm, who didn't quite make it to their due dates. We have the stable 32-weekers, who spend a month or two in the NICU but come out relatively unscathed. We have the 24-weekers, who were born very, very early and don't always make it. And we have everything in between...babies who spend only a few days in the NICU, babies who spend a few weeks in the NICU, babies who spend several months in the NICU. We have babies who go home on medications and oxygen and monitors and babies who go home with no remaining adverse health conditions at all. Every day in the NICU is different, and we have some really, really great days, as well as some really, really bad ones. There is nowhere else I would like to spend my working hours though...there is something about that place.
During this month, I think of all of our happy endings and how it was largely through the work of the March of Dimes that such happy endings were possible. And I think of the unhappy endings, and the babies we have had to say goodbye to. I think of the stories here in the Blogosphere, of babies like Maddie, Annaleigh, Noah and Talia, Jack, and Ames, who are no longer with us, and babies like Charlie and Lily, Simone, and Charlotte and Katie who came home from the NICU to the loving arms of their families.
It is because of my wish for more happy endings that I am proud to support the March of Dimes in their efforts to fight prematurity. And during this month of November, I think of all the preemies I have known, amazing babies born into amazing families filled with love and hope. And I vow to continue to fight to save the preemies, with the help of my NICU peers and with the help of the March of Dimes.