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November 17, 2020

World Prematurity Awareness Day

Today is World Prematurity Awareness Day. 

30,000 babies are born prematurely in Canada every year, and 1 in 10 babies born worldwide are born too soon. I am a proud mom to not one, but two, preemie babies.

And since 2012, when Isabelle was born at 30 weeks Gestation, I have become an Advocate, raising awareness, sharing our story, participating in panels and working with health care professionals to help everyone understand sone of what a preemie parent goes through. 

In 2017, I was incredibly honoured to speak and break ground at the new Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, alongside business and government leaders, and Isabelle-- a preemie NICU grad -- who spent 7 weeks in the Mackenzie Health NICU. 

Photo: Valeria Mitsubata Photography

Being a preemie parent -- especially a first-time mom -- comes with its ups and downs. If I'm being completely honest, I often try to forget about those months spent in the hospital, what some nurses and doctors said, certain processes and even the smell of the sanitizer in the NICU (it has a different smell to me). 

But then I bring up old pictures and I remember. Not just the terrifying moments, the fear and anxiety, but also the joyous occasions: the day the neonatologist told us she was off oxygen, my Birthday when the nurses put up a special message for me at her cot, the beautiful lifelong friendships we made along the way. 

And I'm grateful. 

While there were challenges, there were many babies who were sicker or required more care. We are fortunate.

Over the years, we've been back to the NICU where Isabelle got her start many times, and it's truly a place that brings me comfort. Odd, right?! And I can't wait to see (as a visitor) the new NICU at our new Vaughan Hospital when it opens next year.

To all the preemie parents out there, especially the new moms, I see you. If you ever need to talk, I'm here. 

Today, we light up the world purple in honour of our smallest miracles. May you go on to do big, bold things. 

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