Little Babies Matter Too!

Every woman dreams of a healthy pregnancy. Every woman also dreams of an easy one…one lacking swollen feet, excessive weight gain, countless stretch marks, and negligible energy. But if you were to ask any mother if she had to choose between healthy and easy, I guarantee you that she would choose HEALTHY any and every time.

Yes, we all have a tendency to complain when our waddles get a little to wide (a consequence of water buffalo breadth hips), our bellies block any reasonable effort at shaving, and our swollen feet refuse to fit into anything but granny shoes-all legitimate complaints in my book. But, what would we trade for a healthy baby? What would we give to deliver on-time without any complications? What would we vow if we could keep our infant out of the neonatal intensive care unit, tube and wire free?

Maybe you’ve never thought about it, but lately this has been weighing heavily on my mind. Every year about 450,000 babies are born too early. That’s 1 in 9 babies. Unfortunately, that was my baby! I admit, a premature delivery wasn’t on my “worry list,” and it’s not because my list was short! Santa Clause would have even had trouble keeping up. No, for some reason everything else landed on my irrational, OCD, hypochondriac list; then preeclampsia took me by surprise, and my body and my baby’s life by storm. If I could have done something differently I would have. 3 pounds and two ounces is too tiny for any little one to make a grand entrance into the world. Intubation tubes, heart rate monitor lines, feeding tubes, incubators…these life saving interventions brought both comfort and terror.Care For A Sick Child In The Pediatric Icu

Could my emergent c-section at 32 weeks have been prevented? No one knows. Even in today’s medically advanced world, preeclampsia is still a mystery. My risk for developing sudden and severe onset preeclampsia in future pregnancies is literally the flip of a coin. 50:50. It’s a chance I’m willing to take, but not one that I take lightly. After 9 weeks spent in the NICU with my daughter, I know the fear, exhaustion, and grief that prematurity brings. When the tiny twin next door doesn’t make it, or the micro-preemie down the hall is whispered one last loving farewell from his devastated mommy…it’s all too much to bear.

If I don’t know what to do…what can I do? Of course, there are known contributors to premature deliveries such as tobacco use, alcohol and illicit drug consumption, and a lack of prenatal care; but, none of these apply to me. I don’t drink, smoke, pop pills, or shoot up with anything other than infertility medications. And, since In Vitro Fertilization is our ticket to parenthood, my prenatal care starts at day zero. I take prenatal vitamins, exercise, try to eat healthy, and limit my stress. Yet, none of these have been shown to reduce the risk of preeclampsia.Birth

So, in an effort to protect my future pregnancies I’ve decided to look beyond myself. Now, I’m pushing researchers and the health care community for answers by partnering with The March of Dimes. I want to know what causes preeclampsia. I want to know if there is anything that I can do to prevent it; and if not, what can be done to treat it more effectively? If I am destined for another preterm delivery (one that could happen at an even earlier gestation) I want my preemie to have the best chance not just at survival, but at a healthy life free from neurological complications, breathing problems, visual and hearing disturbances, and developmental delays.

My desires may seem unrealistic, but I know them to be possible. Just 60 years ago my grandmother whispered goodbye to her preemie son only moments after he was born. 60 years ago she was told that there was nothing that they could do to save his life. 60 years later, my healthy 2-year-old daughter is living proof of the life saving advancements developed by the medical research community and largely funded by March of Dimes. All I’m asking for are more answers…quickly!Girls Kissing Mom's Belly

I can’t do it on my own. Please join me in making a difference for pregnant mothers, unborn babies (my own included), and preemies by walking with me this May 9th, 2015 in the March for Babies or by sponsoring me. Start your own team. Be a corporate sponsor, or sign up to raise awareness in your community. My dream is that 60 years down the road preeclampsia and preterm deliveries will simply be a thing of the past.

Click this link to donate/sponsor The Mom in Me, MD or to learn more about the March for Babies:

http://www.marchforbabies.org/themominmemd

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5 thoughts on “Little Babies Matter Too!

  1. My baby was born right on time but at around 24 weeks, I discovered that he wasnt putting on as much weight as he should have. I was injecting Fragmin for 8 weeks straight and stopped a week before my due date. Sugar levels, preeclampsia and certain other issues play a significant role in premature birth but then what about babies that dont put on much weight in mum’s womb..what could be the reason really? Hope you can post something around that. I am happy to contribute.

    • IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) and SGA (small for gestational age) are two incredibly important issues as well! Thanks so much for pointing that out. I would love to address that in an upcoming blog. March of Dimes also works to prevent both of these issues. We do know quite a few contributing factors, but probably not everything yet!

  2. I’m surprised your risk is as high as 50% – mine was given as 30-40% by my high risk ob, which I still think is high! Were you on aspirin or any of the other treatments during pregnancy, out of interest?

    As to IUGR – yep, had that too. My personal and completely non-scientific theory is that my body developed PE to “fix” the placental problems, but that’s probably not supported by any medical evidence. 😉

    • I wasn’t on Aspirin since the preeclampsia developed suddenly and I delivered within 2 days of being diagnosed. Yes, it is an incredibly high risk! For future pregnancies aspirin has been recommended now.

      • Yes, I’ve pretty much been told I’d be on everything – which I already was during my pregnancy (*sigh*). At least PE does tend to be later onset in further pregnancies and aspirin (and the other stuff) has shown some good trends towards at least delaying the onset in high risk cases.

        It still does make it difficult for me to even think about having another child though – I was hospitalised at 25 weeks, having started anti-hypertension medication at 24 weeks, and then managed to get to 27 weeks… but so much of that (particularly the hospitalisation part) was due to luck, and I worry that I might not be as lucky second time around. I could get past 30 weeks… equally I might not get to 25. I’ll definitely be buying a home blood pressure monitor if I do get pregnant though!

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