First EVER WORLD Prematurity Day 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's a BIG day!!
The very First EVER WORLD Prematurity Day

Did you know 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in her life - an awful, powerful statistic, right?!? Did you also know that 1 in every 8 babies will be born too soon and very sick? The statistics are the same, but yet the awareness if FAR from the same!! I'll admit being one of the guilty ones that did not give it much thought...UNTIL it happened to me! These babies deserve help and awareness too. Today, and everyday, I honor the million babies worldwide who died this year because they were born too soon, and the 12 million more who struggle to survive just like our very own Allison Grace.
November 17 is World Prematurity Day when we focus everyone’s attention
on the serious problem of premature birth.
 If you don't already, PLEASE consider supporting the March of Dimes. It's because of research and advances in medicine, through the March of Dimes, that Alli is alive today! One of the ways that they indirectly, but GREATLY, helped Alli was through the funding and research that brought a synthetic form of "Surfactant" into existence.
 From the MOD website on Surfactant
"Premature babies are at risk of many serious medical complications. One of the most common of these is respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). Babies with RDS struggle to breathe because their immature lungs do not produce enough surfactant, a protein that keeps small air sacs in the lungs from collapsing. March of Dimes grantees helped develop surfactant therapy, which was introduced in 1990. Since then, deaths from RDS have been reduced by two-thirds."  
First of many things that helped save Alli 
Surfactant only begins to be produced in a baby at 24 weeks gestation. Because Alli was severely growth restricted and the size of a 20-21 weeker, PLUS had a double whammy of NO amniotic fluid, which is a key factor in the development of the lungs, she required 3 doses of surfactant. This is simply the first, and one of many advances in neonatology through the funding and research from the March of Dimes, that helped save our baby girl!
So, what did I do wrong and
Why the lack of awareness!??!!??
I put those two together because, very simply, for some reason prematurity is still taboo! I think a main reason for it being taboo is because it is seen by the general population as "the mother must have done something wrong." Let me set the record straight...I took my vitamins and went to every doctor’s appointment on time. I steered clear of certain foods and drinks. I did not smoke, drink, or take drugs. I did everything right and the 100's of women that I've met through our journey did everything right, but it still happened to us! It can happen to you as well. With the statistics that of breast cancer in women, chances are, you or someone you know has been greatly affected by prematurity. And if not, God bless you, chances are you soon will!  
 Spreading the Word
This year we're having to spread the word from home! Sadly, being a preemie DOES NOT end the day you are discharged from the hospital. Most preemies, especially those born 28 weeks and less, will have lifelong battles, or at the very least, battles for many years to come. Alli is still considered EXTREMEMLY "Medically Fragile." She is not allowed out in public unless for doctor’s appointments, which are thankfully only 3-4 times a month now! A simple cold is more than likely not a major concern for us or our "typical" children to fight. This DOES NOT mean that I secretly snicker when your child is sick or I tell Anna Claire and Ava to, "Suck it up, your sister has been throughsoooo much worse."  Although, I am secretly drenching my arms and hands in hand sanitizer behind their backs.  If they run a fever and are feeling bad, of course I'm worried and want to make them better as well, I'm their parent and they have my heart. But, for Alli, and millions of other premature babies around the world, a cold could mean life or death and at the very minimum, a fun hospital stay at Children's! So, please forgive me if my house is off limits until at least May or June and if you ARE allowed to come over you are asked to scrub in like you are attending in the OR and are then screened by the CDC for any germs! I've seen my baby fight for her life and I'm so thankful to God for HIS miracle and her warrior spirit! I'd just rather not see all that again!  
 Exciting Things to Come
There are tons of exciting things and future projects for prematurity to come out of the Belin home!!!! Would I erase prematurity from my family!?? Um, NO! That doesn't mean that I ever enjoyed watching my baby battle for life and her continued battles, but prematurity changed our lives....and only for the better. We are a closer and stronger family! Alli has made us better parents and brought John and I even closer than I could have imagined. It made us realize what absolutely matters in this life and the things we were chasing absolutely DON'T!! I think I heard in the beginning of our journey that the divorce rate for parents in a medical crisis with their children was something like 95%! I'm thankful again, that we were not another casualty of this war, and if anything, emerged stronger than ever! With that said, this winter John and I will be busy working on several projects we have in mind for the next few years, regarding sharing Alli's story, helping parents in the NICU, and spreading MORE awareness of prematurity! Very soon, this blog will just be our families blog, as it should be, and a new blog AND foundation in honor of our Alli will be birthed.  

We hope you will continue to join us on this journey and if you have not, sneak back into that closet and grab something purple to wear in honor of these precious babies!!!

And if you've never had the chance to watch Alli's video-here it is again! It ends in May because I "thought" we would be coming home soon...however, we had to stay for 3 more months! I'll also be updating this video this winter!

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