November is Prematurity Awareness Month.
I always thought the March of Dimes was a great organization, but it definitely holds a special place in my heart since our own brush with a premature birth.
My EDD was 10/3/08. Starting around 31 weeks, I just felt my body was getting ready for labor. My OB thought I was being overly sensitive (and probably one of those neurotic pregnant women!). My blood pressure was always fine, I was constantly measuring right along with my due date. No real "signs", just all mother's intuition I suppose.
My 35 week appointment was on a Wednesday. My last day of work was that Friday. That evening, Alex & I went to a furniture warehouse sale with my parents and bought a dining room table (we had just moved into our condo the weekend before). Saturday, we ordered a crib from Babies R Us. We had my parents over for dinner on Sunday. All evening I had contractions...I thought they were BH. I ate a chocolate pudding cup around 8 pm and went to bed shortly after.
I woke up around 1:30 am with terrible back pain. I went to the bathroom, got back in bed, and the pain wasn't getting any better. I didn't really feel contractions, but noticed the back pain was kind of coming and going so I tried timing my back pains. I couldn't focus, so I woke Alex. Sure enough - 5 minutes apart. I called the exchange, grabbed my bag and headed to the hospital.
I wasn't in excrutiating pain, just uncomfortable. I even walked myself to L&D and to the exam room (and the L&D room, for that matter). Upon examination, I was told I was already 4-5 cm dilated. I expected to be sent home, but was admitted and was told I would have my baby that day.
During labor, I was told my baby would be a late-term preemie. Since she was born at 36 and 37 weeks is considered "full term" (but it's really not, so I won't even get into that), we weren't sure if there would be any problems. There would be a NICU doctor in the room when my baby was born to examine her.
Amelia Katarzyna was born at 8:24 pm on September 8, 2008. Fortunately, she was perfect and didn't need to spend any time in the NICU. She had feeding issues, but that was it.
We are extremely lucky that Amelia was born so healthy. Unfortunately, far too many babies are born early. And far too many of those babies require special attention because of health problems.
It would make a huge difference in the lives of children if everyone took a minute out of their day to donate to the March of Dimes. It would mean a lot to us, and to Amelia.