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On February 1, 2012, you could say I won the lottery. I was a huge winner, even if I didn't know it yet.

At 30 weeks and 1 day pregnant, I had a beautiful - and teeny - baby girl weighing 1120 grams, or 2 pounds, 7 ounces. My pregnancy had been pretty textbook and uninteresting. It was fairly easy, in fact -- until the evening of Monday, January 31, 2012.

I developed HELLP syndrome within days, which, as described by What to Expect When You're Expecting is:

A suite of conditions that, when combined, presents a unique challenge in a pregnancy.

It definitely did present a unique challenge, that's for sure. But I suppose I'm a unique person. 

The road ahead was a scary one, but as I say, we were lucky. Lucky to trust our instincts and go to the hospital when I wasn't feeling well, lucky to have a wonderful team of doctors and nurses taking care of both me, and the baby, lucky to have the support from our family and friends. Lucky to be alive.

We spent a little over two weeks at the Sunnybrook NICU and another 7 weeks at York Central Hospital's NICU before welcoming our baby girl home.

Now that I'm a proud mom of a preemie, I've come to meet many other people who were either preemies themselves, or know someone who gave birth prematurely. And upon doing some research on preemies, I think our baby is in pretty good company. The following visionaries, politicians, artists were all premature:
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Franklin Roosevelt
  • Mark Twain
  • Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Renoir
  • Sir Winston Churchill
  • Johann Goethe
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Thomas Hobbes
  • Victor Hugo 
  • Voltaire
  • Anna Pavlova
  • Sir Isaac Newton
  • Charles Darwin
  • Albert Einstein
Pretty impressive list, and I'm continually impressed by the little successes a preemie brings. They are resilient and strong, tough mini cookies.

In addition to learning about development and famous preemies, I became acquainted with The Linden Fund. The Linden Fund is a fabulous resource for preemie parents, and is known as Canada's Charity for Premature Babies. The Fund is named after Linden, a Newmarket boy, who was born prematurely in 2003.  

To donate to The Linden Fund, you can click the link above.

"Good things come in small packages" is in fact, an understatement. Wonderful, magical, beautiful, amazing things come in preemie packages.

And that's lucky.

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