November is World Prematurity Awareness Month. Over the last 20 months or so, I've become an (unofficial) Preemie Advocate; that is, I don't work for a Foundation or a Charity, but I understand what it's like to give birth early, and start a parenting journey with a premature child.
There are challenges, that's for sure, and there are joys -- that I can guarantee. Born at 30 weeks, Isabelle is an "older" preemie, and while parents of full-term kids can't imagine giving birth 10 weeks early, I can't imagine having a 23 or 24 weaker. And it does happen. And many do survive.
Over the past few decades, doctors and nurses have done extraordinary work. Babies that were once in very fragile states have a much better shot at life nowadays, and that's thanks to research, education and awareness.
Of course, I didn't (intentionally) cause my child's premature birth. I got sick, and she had to come out. Not to say that anyone goes out to harm their child with premature birth, but there are some factors to consider if you're pregnant, like no drinking and smoking, for example.
We're very fortunate to have spent time in two local hospitals that took amazing care of us. We still visit for follow-up; think of it as a developmental check-up. It's an incredible process and we've learned so much because of these visits.
November 17 is World Prematurity Day. In Toronto, the CN Tower will go purple in support. I encourage everyone this month to wear the colour of Preemies. And think about babes like Isabelle and how far she's come.
Spread the word about premature birth, and if you know someone who has had a preemie (there are a lot of us around), make sure they have support, help and love.