I can speak for many of us when I say, I never really notice the dangers or numbers of premature birth. That is, until I was faced with learning about the situation myself. My cousin had a premature baby a few years ago, and though I became aware of the dangers when her child was born, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. On June 22, 2012 I had went into labor at 33 weeks pregnant. At first, it didn’t seem like a big deal to me, I was foolish enough to be excited that my babies were on their way. In my mind it wasn’t a huge deal since I had been prewarned by my doctors that premature birth is common with twins. What they didn’t inform me in the beginning is the number of babies that gain their wings due to premature birth. It wasn’t until I reached the hospital that night that I was informed of the dangers of premature birth; before the EMT’s got me off the stretcher I was surrounded by nurses, and two doctors, that was the first sign that something was going terribly wrong. They informed me that I needed a series of shots, steroids, in order to give my babies a better chance to live, but they couldn’t promise anything. Next they got me into a hospital gown and in the hospital bed. Hurriedly they began setting me up on Iv’s to get me started on magnesium. Eventually, they stopped me from going into labor. I had been telling my doctor for about two weeks prior to this event that I had been feeling like I was going to go into labor and was informed by my doctor that it was “only braxton-hicks contractions, nothing to worry about, when you’re carrying twins you’re bound to feel like you’re going to go into labor.” I was enraged. I had been informing them for weeks, WEEKS, that I felt like I was going to go into labor early and my opinion was just brushed off because doctors are considered to be the “experts.” I was pissed that I could’ve lost both of my babies because they wouldn’t listen. At this point, I was officially put on bed rest even though I had basically put myself on bed rest weeks ago when I first started feeling really bad.
A week later I went into labor again, this time it was unstoppable. It was time, at 34.3 weeks pregnant I had to prepare myself to hopefully welcome both of my babies into the world. Somehow I had known that whole day that I was going to go into labor. I kept telling my brothers that I would, we even had little bets going on when I was going to go into labor. I was on the phone with my brother, a marine stationed in Japan, when I interrupted the conversation and told him I needed to go lay down and I would talk to him later. As soon as I laid down, I got back up, I tried to go to the bathroom, ran bath water but needed to sit down immediately. When I sat down I jumped right back up and asked my brother to get my to my moms job (she’s a nurse). As soon as my mom saw my attempt at walking to get her, she dropped everything, yelled “oh shit! it’s time.” Then ran to get another nurse so that she could get me to the hospital. I had to have an emergency C-section, the scariest day of my life. Even worse, as soon as they got my babies out, I heard the doctor say “Dad can you go with the babies please?” I had watched plenty of C-section videos to prepare me for mine and at the end of each one, the mother got to see her baby. Why wasn’t I getting to see my babies? A few hours later, after I had got out of recovery, I was informed that my “baby A” (JaNiyah) was having a lot of problems breathing, the steroid hadn’t helped her as much as it helped her sister. I was terrified. I had just had two beautiful babies and wasn’t allowed to see either one. Two days after having my babies, I was allowed to see “Baby B” (Jaleia). A week later I was allowed to hold my beautiful JaNiyah; a happiness that was ripped away from me just two hours later when her stats had dropped and she was taken away from me again.
Our hospital stay lasted nearly a month and 4 1/2 months later I am watching my beautiful premature babies are starting to scoot, one is nearly crawling. We are one of the luckier set of parents, but not everyone is as fortunate as us.
Babies born before 37 weeks risks are further heightened by health complications due to underdeveloped organs, muscles, and immune systems. They have a greater chance of getting sick, and generally need more care than most newborns. Prematurity is the largest killer of babies under the age of five, after pneumonia and claims more than one million newborns a year.
Say a prayer for every baby that has lost their lives to prematurity, say a prayer for that family as well. Say a prayer for every baby and their family who fights a battle due to the premature birth. Give thanks to God for the babies that survived prematurity and live their lives like term babies.