Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for MedImmune. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.
My friend, Amanda, found out she was pregnant with her son after trying to conceive for 2 years. She actually had an appointment to meet with a fertility specialist when she received the happy news.
While her pregnancy was a blessing to her and her husband, it quickly became very scary. Amanda went into labor prematurely, and gave birth to her baby boy 72 days before his due date. He weighed only 2 pounds, 10 oz.
I remember reading the news on Facebook that night. I was so heartbroken for her. I prayed that her son would make it through, and he eventually did. After 56 days in the NICU, Amanda was finally able to bring her baby boy home.
A few years later, Amanda announced that she was pregnant again. She ended up going on bed rest pretty early into her pregnancy, because she was at high-risk of having another preemie. Her second son was born at 30 weeks, weighing 3 pounds, 5 oz. After spending 36 days in the NICU, Amanda got to take her son home.
Amanda’s kids had a rough start, but they are doing very well now. They are happy and thriving, and getting into trouble often like little boys do.
Amanda and her family have walked in the March for Babies each year since her first son’s birth, and have raised a lot of money towards their cause. I have walked with them every year, except for this year, as the day of the walk was Kayleigh’s due date, and I was still very pregnant!
World Prematurity Day
November 17th is World Prematurity Day, and I know Amanda and her family will be reflecting upon their own journey as parents to two premature babies. Their story turned out well, but for many others it doesn’t.
Each year worldwide, 13 million babies are born prematurely, and more than one million preemies have died just this year from the serious health challenges they face. The current rate of prematurity in the United States is 12.2 percent—one of the highest rates of preterm birth in the world. Let’s all take a moment on World Prematurity Day to remember and pray for those that didn’t make it, and to celebrate those that did.
RSV: A Risk to Preemies
As preemies often have specialized health needs, there are increased risks that often come with premature birth. Prematurity disrupts a baby’s development in the womb and often stunts the growth of their most critical organs, leaving preemies susceptible to a variety of illnesses and infections, especially during the winter months. There is one seasonal threat in particular that poses a threat to infants.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common seasonal virus, contracted by nearly all children by the age of two, and typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full-term babies. Preterm infants, however, are born with undeveloped lungs and immature immune systems that put them at heightened risk for developing severe RSV disease, often requiring hospitalization.
· RSV infection is more likely to root in premature lungs where developing airways are narrowed and especially fragile
· Preterm babies carry fewer virus-fighting antibodies—a precious gift from mom that all infants need while their own
immune systems mature after birth
Amanda had to be extra cautious with her children when they were babies. She had a monitor in their bedrooms that alerted her if they stopped breathing. They also used nebulizers to help them breathe. They were at high risk for RSV, and that was a very scary thought.
Here is a great infographic with lots of useful information on RSV. Please share this with any new Moms and Dads you know, to warn them of the risk of RSV. You can also find information on RSV Protection here.