Preemie Awareness Day

November 17 was Preemie Awareness day.  When I was pregnant with my twins it never really occurred to me that I would have “preemies”.  I know there is always that chance, especially with twins but I had a great pregnancy with my first and was cruising right along in my pregnancy with the twins.  When my water broke in the middle of the night, without any warning, at 32 weeks I went into panic mode.

I had just been given a level II ultrasound and everything was looking great.  I had been going every two weeks to level II appointments and was going to start going on a weekly basis, just because I was getting into the final 8 weeks.  Even the evening before my water broke I had not shown no signs I was going into labor.  In fact, I had just been at a friends Halloween party for the kids and felt absolutely fine.  That night then at 3:30 am I awoke very suddenly running into the bathroom and quickly realized my water had broke.  My 4-year-old daughter was asleep and my husband was working at the fire department.  My husband came home and my mom came by to be there for Megan when she woke up and off we went to the hospital.

After arriving at the hospital, I was instantly hooked up to all the monitors and my doctor said I was dilated and that we were having our babies that day.  Anna and Ethan were born at 12:06 pm and 12:17 pm that day, each at 4 pounds 1 ounce.  Thankfully they were both healthy, although I do think Ethan had a lower APGAR score than Anna.  Overall we were very lucky.  They spent 3 weeks in the NICU before being sent home.

Anna Preemie
Anna shortly after being born.
Ethan Preemie
Ethan at 1 day old.

The biggest concern at that point was the fact that they were preemies and it was the end of November.  We were in cold and flu season and in what the CDC has deemed at “RSV Season”, which is November through March in North America.  Our twins were approved for a series of shots that were given on a monthly basis through March at their pediatrician’s office.  These shots were to help boost their immune system to protect them against RSV.  The injections worked so well, they never even got a cold that winter!  Thankfully our insurance covered these injections because each injection was thousands of dollars.  However, there are many people who do not have insurance or their insurance may not cover this particular thing.

Did you know that worldwide, 13 million babies are born early every year, including more than half a million in the United States?  Prematurity disrupts a baby’s development in the womb, often stunting the growth of some of the body’s most critical organs.  Because their immune systems and lungs aren’t fully developed, preemies are more likely to develop infections and are more susceptible to respiratory problems.

One virus in particular that parents of preemies should know about is respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV. Nearly all children contract RSV by the age of two, often causing relatively minor symptoms that mimic the common cold. However, preemies are most at risk for developing much more serious symptoms, including a serious respiratory infection (severe RSV disease) from the virus, because their lungs are underdeveloped and they do not have the antibodies needed to fight off infection.

RSV InforgraphicHere are some ways to prevent RSV:

  • Wash hands, toys, bedding, and play areas frequently
  • Ensure you, your family, and any visitors in your home wash their hands or use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid large crowds and people who are or have been sick
  • Never let anyone smoke near your baby
  • Speak with your child’s doctor if he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy may

For more information on RSV, including symptoms please download the World Preemie Day/RSV Awareness fact sheet.  You can also visit RSVProtection.com.

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

1 COMMENT

  1. I also had a preemie who was born at 33 weeks, but they took him because, he had growth retardation and only weighed 3lbs 9ozs and dropped down to 3lbs. On his second day of life his lung collapsed and had a chest tube and was on a respirator that vaporeted. I was not even allowed to touch him and he was my fourth child ( including my husband). I remembered them calling him an interesting case and I told the woman I did not want him to be interesting, just normal. But, after a week he was off everything except the feeding tube. He was in the NICU for 5 weeks and he got the RSV shot even though, he was born in March, and they started giving them to him in November, 1 every month for 6 months at over $1000 a piece too. But, like yours he did not even get a cold that year and thank God for good insurance we did pay a dime and I think they should be a fund for the shot for preemies. Now, he is a healthy 10 year old. Thank you for posting this.

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