This weekend I'm going to be doing a 6 mile walk for the March of Babies, previously known as The March of Dime's Walk American. I'm sure you are familiar with this organization, its all about keeping babies in the oven long enough to cook and keeping them well if they pop out too soon.
For some reason, women in our society have huge rates of pre-term labor and complications as compared to other industrialized countries.
rate of preterm birth in the United States far exceeds the rate in other industrialized countries: 12.3% in 20033 compared with 7.7% in 2003 in Canada,4 7.9% in 2003 in Australia,5 6.2% in France in 1998,6 7.4% in the Netherlands in 1999,6 6–7% in 2001 in New Zealand,7 7.3% in 2000 in Scotland,6 and 6.4% in 2000 in Sweden.
Suggestions as to why often go along with certain risk factors but some camps feel that there is a pretty strong link between our lack of medical benefits and preterm births. I read in one article abstract that France cut their preterm birth rate in half over 15 years in part due to increased maternity leave. However, I can't link to that article unless I want to pay $30, so you'll just have to take my word for it.You might be wondering why I'm showing pictures of Kiki throughout this post...well, it's because I experienced a very scary pregnancy with him.
Let me say first, if you're currently pregnant with your first child stop reading, I don't want to scare you. ...ok, you gone yet? Now that the new-moms to be are happily worrying if they should name their baby Apple or Coco, I'll tell a quick tale about my pregnancy and the birth of Mighty Kiki (his nickname).
All was well in Sassyland, no problems to mention aside from the chronic puking that occurred early on. I think I was around 26, so not too old, no real risk factors. But around week 34 or 35 (sorry, it's kind of a blur) I noticed some swelling. Every women gets swollen during pregnancy, I'd heard stories about rings and shoes not fitting...so I wasn't alarmed. I just elevated my feet and didn't think about too much, even though I knew HB had swelling while pregnant and had been put on bedrest a few different times . I'm invincible, right?
Then, one day while in a meeting at work I thought I was going to pass out. I excused myself and immediately went to the couch in the Developmentally Disable classroom and laid on my left side. Thankfully there were no clients in there at the time.
My wonderful boss got the blood pressure cuff and checked me. She was alarmed. I don't remember the number, but she was on meds for high blood pressure so if she was alarmed, I should be alarmed.
I called my OB with my blood pressure numbers and she told me to have JimmyEW pick me up immediately and take me to the hospital. She was ordering a stress test. Kiki was ok in utero but she put me on bedrest and noted that I was suddenly measuring small. She told me that my baby would probably have to spend some time in the NICU.I was terrified. She ordered stress tests every three days to keep a close eye on him. Kiki always passed each stress test and I was at ease for that day and usually the next, but the day after that, the day before my next stress test, that was always the worst. Thank god for the fetal heart doppler we had or I would have been a mess.
I was so afraid he'd die in utero, something I was sure would break me if it happened. I would pray to God and to Kiki that he poke a hole if he got in trouble so we could know to get him out.When I was at week 36 I went to my appointment and my blood pressure wouldn't go down, I had no protein in my urine so my OB hospitalized for monitoring. While I was in the hospital I felt a little pop and started leaking fluid, Kiki poked a hole.
Through the next day nothing much happened, they gave me pitocin, the bane of all laboring women, to try to help the labor along. Then my water completely broke and I was in a world of hurt. I asked for an epidural, they gave me one and then everything went downhill from there. My blood pressure dropped really low, Kiki's heart rate plummeted, JimmyEW nearly passed out he was so scared. The doctor called for a c-section STAT and I was wheeled out.They cut me open and pulled him out in what seemed like a matter of minutes. JimmyEW and I waiting for our baby...I began to cry and say "I don't hear him crying, why isn't he crying." They took him to a little table and the nurses began massaging him and using a little bag to try to get him to breath. Finally...finally he cried.
He was 4 lbs 12 oz and 18 inches long. See the photo of him below.
He spent 2 weeks in the NICU, mostly for being stubborn and not eating, but he finally came home. When all was said and done, the bill came to over $23,000!! Thank god I paid extra for some great PPO insurance and I didn't have to pay a cent. Nothing! Not even a co-pay. Wish I had that insurance now...Clearly he's healthy now, in fact he is playing his first soccer game ever after my walk. He did get hit with RSV as a toddler, but other than that he's smart, polite and beautiful. He says and does things like:
Making Valentines Day cards for God...no clue where he got that idea.
Being a mother hen to Boogs, often chasing him around trying to put socks on his feet.
And super funny, like when I said I smelled like a boy because I used Jimmy's deodorant his reply was, "mama, you smell like poop?"
And one interesting tid bit about him is that I swear there is a face in his ultrasound picture. Not his face(eye roll), but a woman with long white hair. Freaky, huh? I got his picture and stared at that woman's face for 3 days before I finally asked someone else to look at it, my boss. I didn't show her where, I just said..."do you see something weird in this general area". She saw it right away and spooked her a bit too, but the face is there crisp and clear. I like to think it is his angel.
So, please understand what I'm about to do...it's a shameless ask for support for the March of Dimes. As I mentioned earlier, we're walking this Saturday and every dollar helps. I just thought I'd take a minute to explain why this cause is important to me. If you feel so inspired to give, click on the little badge to the right and you can donate directly through March of Dimes. If not, no worries. If there is one thing I know, I'm great at the Sell, but I suck at the Close.
Enough Already Mom!
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