Almost a year ago, my sister was admitted to the hospital. She was 27 weeks pregnant and had a routine prenatal appointment on a Wednesday. That day her blood pressure was a little higher then normal and her doctor wanted to monitor her, so he asked her to come back in two days later for a quick check. We weren’t worried- Red was healthy and her pregnancy was completely normal up until then. But during that check on Friday, her blood pressure was even higher and they found protein in her urine. She was put on strict bed-rest all weekend, but things weren’t any better that Monday. In fact, her liver was starting to fail and an ultrasound that day showed the baby was smaller then she should have been. She was sent immediately to the hospital. Red was told that the best case scenario was that her baby could stay in for 2 more weeks and be born at 30 weeks gestation.
But the base case scenario wasn’t meant to be- for the safety of the baby and my sister, the baby had to be born soon. Sweet baby Lala was born the next day at 28 weeks. She weighed 1 lb 14 oz and, against all odds, was as healthy as a micro-preemie could be. But even a healthy 28-weeker is a sick, fragile baby who has to fight just to keep breathing. Lala spent over 10 week in the NICU gradually learning all the things that we take for granted- how to breath, how to suck, how to regulate her temperature and a million other things most babies learn in utero.
Lala is going to celebrate her 1st birthday very soon. She’s army crawling everywhere and has the brightest smile you’ve ever seen. Lala is a peanut- she’ll hopefully be a little over 13 lbs when she turns 1- but she’s a healthy kid. She’s an absolute delight and to simply meet her is to love her. She is an honest to God miracle and brings more joy to our family then you can imagine.
Today is World Prematurity Day– did you know over a million babies a year die from complications related to prematurity? That number is simply staggering to me. Today and everyday I’m so very thankful for my sweet, strong, feisty niece. I’m also thankful for organizations like the March of Dimes that have spearheaded the fight against prematurity to give babies like Lala a chance at life. I urge you to read about prematurity because you never know when it may hit close to your home.