Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Prematurity Awareness Month Fact #4:
In general, the closer to the due date that a baby is born, the better his or her chances are for being born healthy. Even a few days or weeks can make a huge difference: A baby born at 23 weeks has only a 10 to 35 percent chance of surviving and greater than 50 percent chance of a long-term disability. At just 25 weeks, survival improves to between 50 and 80 percent, and the chances of a long-term disability drop to between 15 and 25 percent. At 27 to 29 weeks, survival rates are above 90 percent, and disability rates fall to less than 10 percent. Between 34 and 37 weeks, survival rates are excellent (greater than 98 percent), and chances of long-term disability are slim -- less than 5 percent.

It was a Wednesday. My third day of bed rest at the hospital. I was still receiving magnesium and other drugs so I wasn't myself. At times I was very irritable, very groggy and of course, extremely sad. My OB decided that it would be a good idea to have one of the neonatologist come down and speak with us. Talk to us about premature babies and what to expect if we happened to end up on that path. He just wanted us to be aware and informed. I remember lying in the bed and Travis was at the foot. A very kind, but very serious woman came in and gave us the information. She told us the statistics, the survival rates, the short-term effects, as well as the possible long-term effects. She asked if we had any questions and we really didn't. Again, I was in and out and I just kept forcing it all in the back of my head. I kept telling myself, "This won't happen. I will still be right here in late November and everything will be fine". I wanted to believe that. So badly. I remember bits and pieces of what she said, but one thing that really stood out was, "If your baby was born this week he/she would have a 50% chance at life". I was floored. Speechless. Overwhelmed. Devastated.

That night Travis and I created a calendar on one of the posters my mom made us. Our first goal was 28 weeks. Travis wrote every day down on the calendar and each night we crossed one off and celebrated another day passing. Another day behind us meant a greater chance at survival. We were so hoping and praying for at least 28 weeks. But we never made it that far. We were only able to cross off three more days on our calendar. Morgan Kate was born just shy of 26 weeks.

But she's not the only one that was born that early. Or the only one to defeat the odds. Just take a few minutes and visit some of our preemie friends in the sidebar to the right. You will be amazed by their miraculous stories.