40 weeks. That’s how long women expect to be pregnant. Maybe you’ll be a little early if you were a few days early or a few days late, but you expect to be pregnant for 40 weeks. And you expect your baby to 10 perfect fingers and toes and 23 perfect chromesones.
So when your baby comes a month early, or two (or three), or on time with an unexpected genetic disorder, it is life-altering. I struggled to write in one word what that experience is as I drafted this post. It’s devastating, sad, shocking, strange, unexpected possibly, but it can be beautiful, exciting, awe-inspiring spirutual, and love. So much love.
Sometimes being a preemie is just an extended stay in the NICU before your child’s story truly begins and sometimes the story begins and ends quickly in the NICU or in the delivery room. But no matter how long or short these babies are here with us, they and their parents are loved.
For our family, the Wolfson Children’s Hospital NICU was a a 28 day blip, but those 28 days were some of the most impactful days. So many people were blissfully ingnorant to the risks and others were soberingly aware of all that could go wrong. But no matter how much they knew or understood about preeterm birth, love came in droves from friends, family, and acquaintances.
The nurses, therapists, physicians assistants and doctors showed us love and compassion but humoring us when we asked for updates every three hours even though we knew nothing had changed. They made every effort to make us comfortable in our little one-wall and three curtain unit. They gave us every opporuntiy to parent our child even when we lacked the skills to take over. The counseled us and helped us gain the skills to take over. SInce Henry came home, we have been very, very lucky to have a smaller, but otherwise normal kid.
Not all parents preemie are so lucky, which is why the March of Dimes exists. The March of Dimes provides education, training and support for families who experience preterm birth or genetic disorders. They exist all over the world, and fundraise through signature events regionally.
Here in Jacksonville, the March of Dimes of Northeast Florida hosts the Signature Chef’s Acuction and March for Babies. We were very honored to be the ambassador family for the 2018 March for Babies at Jacksonville University. We will be back marching this May.
Team Make It Rainka has set a goal of $20,000 for the March of Dimes. We would love you have you join our team and march or donate to show support.
If you can’t march or donate, show your support directly to your friends who experience pre-term birth. One in nine women experience pre-term birth in the United States. Someone you know is dealing with the effects of pre-term birth right now. Reach out. Offer help. Bring them coffee or a meal. Give them a night off. You are the difference in their lives whether you know it or not.
XOXO, Mrs. Make It Rainka