We hope everyone is wearing purple for preemies today. It's getting to be a big day in the world and there are a few facts we'd like to point out:
pProm happens to 150,000 women in the US annually and is a leading cause of premature birth; it is a factor in 40% of premature deliveries.
The biggest complications of pProm are infection and premature birth. The longer latency a woman has (time between rupture and delivery) is beneficial and gives the baby time to develop further; however, infection is a significant concern and can be fatal to mom and baby if not closely monitored.
The following medical therapies are very helpful in pProm pregnancies / neonatal stays: prenatal course of steroids, surfactant, high frequency ventilation, and nitric oxide treatment up to 40% if necessary. A level IV NICU with these capabilities must be involved in all pProm pregnancies as premature births are anticipated.
They say 1 in 10 babies is a preemie. In my family, it's a lot different. Maybe we have a black cloud. But- just for grins I'll describe the largest part of my family and how prematurity has impacted us.
My maternal grandparents had two children, neither of whom were in the NICU or were born prematurely. 0%
They had four grandchildren, including my sister and I. Two of the four were born prematurely and spent time in the NICU after birth. 50%
There are four great grand-children. All four spent time in the NICU after birth. Three of the four were born prematurely. 75%
Prematurity and birth complications have been a huge burden on our family. While we are strong and we understand prematurity, it is a tough thing to see. We wonder: will we ever be able to take home a "termie", right after birth, like normal people do? For my sister and cousin and I, this is a real concern.
I am so proud that the little dragons will grow up with someone like their Auntie Rachel, who is a survivor of their journey as a micro-preemie born 30 years ago. She is such an inspiration to us. And we have her parents who always told us when the little dragons were in the hospital, "They get bigger", and "Keep a journal, because you will forget". How very, very true.
Here's to World Prematurity Day 2013, and all the amazing doctors, nurses and families who make up this community. We are proud to be a part of it.