One in eight babies is born premature; 12% of American babies are born at 32 weeks gestation plus. 1.5% are born between 28w and 32w, and 0.5% are born prior to that. Some live; some die. It's a truth that no one talks about in health class. Infertility? Someone else's problem. Prematurity? Won't happen to my baby.
Why is it that we forget? Why is it that we dont think about the 13 million babies born worldwide who are delivered prior to their due dates?
I'm a mother to that 0.5%. Every single baby I have carried has come into this world prior to 28 weeks. Although we were super close- 28 hours close- to that 28 week mark, all of my birthed children are 2nd trimester babies. Expert medical care... Outstanding prenatal care... And still, in our developed, middle class world, there was nothing that could be done.
Prematurity isn't someone else's problem; it's mine. And it's yours too. We are a community; one premature baby impacts all of us. And something can be done; research can be funded. Answers CAN be had. But it takes more than one OB willing to risk his license or professional associations. It's more than just changing ACOGs mind about what constitutes the risks of pregnancy and a problem like IC. It's you and it's me. Speaking out.
Speaking out on behalf of the babies who don't have a voice because prematurity took their lives. Babies like Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander. Babies like my uncle. Babies like those blogged about on many of the blogs I follow.
Speaking out on behalf of the babies who we are grateful enough to hold in our arms, kicking and laughing and playing, in spite of the incredible odds they faced by being born too soon. Babies like Bobby and Maya. Babies like me. Babies like Bobby's godmother, Jody, and Sonja's quads. Babies like my nieces and my younger cousin's youngest son. Babies, again, whom are parented by writers of some of my favorite blogs.
You have a voice. I have a voice. And, one day, God willing, they will have a voice too. But, until they do, it is our responsibility to make sure that people know. Prematurity isnt the punishment of a drug using mother or the poor and destitute. It is a problem for all of us. It is a problem for those of us who dont worry about putting dinner on the table and those who struggle for every meal alike. It is a problem for white, black, red, yellow, purple, and every color inbetween. It doesnt care what your country of origin is or how often you attend religious worship.
It strikes us all. And it brings us to our knees.
And it is time to fight back.
Because, really, if we dont, who will?