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November 16, 2018

November 17 is World Prematurity Awareness Day

ICYMI I'm a #PreemieMom. Not once, but twice.

When Isabelle (my eldest) was born at 30 weeks, I sat by her isolette, and eventually her cot, every single day for hours on end. I read, I knit, I slept, I pumped. I analyzed every number and chart and beep. I asked a gazillion questions, and I questioned the answers when I didn't fully understand.

The first neonatologist we met as we unexpectedly became "Preemie Parents" noticed and advised me to always be an advocate for my daughter. I promised I would.

And so, nearly 7 years later, I continue to use this blog as an outlet to advocate for my daughters and for all babies born pre-term.

Today, November 17, is World Prematurity Awareness Day. 1 in 10 babies is born prematurely, with more than 15 million preemies being born every single year. We are so very fortunate in Canada  (and in Toronto especially) to have amazing hospitals that can care for the teeniest and sickest of babies. Even with a 9-week hospital stay, Isabelle was strong in comparison to others. Some babes and parents around the world aren't so lucky.

And so, every year on this day, I'm reminded of our little 2.5-pound miracle. And when I kiss her head every night and watch her sleep, she still looks like that baby in the NICU. And we are so very grateful.

Which is why I've aligned with local charities like HandFull Hearts, where we collect donations and create gift baskets to hand out to GTA area NICUs. This year, we're making 150 bags for 4 local hospitals. 15 bags go to Mackenzie Health, where Isabelle stayed for 7 weeks. And this year, the girls and I will also deliver Parent Comfort Kits from Take Care Kits to Markham Stouffville Hospital, where Madeline was born at 34 weeks, but didn't require a hospital stay.

It's these little gestures that bring joy to NICU parents, and a reminder from a Preemie Mom that I understand what you're going through. This is what advocacy is all about.

So today, if you know someone who had a preemie baby, give them a call, or send positive thoughts out into the universe. And if you're a preemie parent and need someone to talk to, you can always reach out to me. I mean that.

World Prematurity Awareness Day is not a sad day. It's a day to pay tribute to all our little miracles.

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