Today marks World Prematurity Day, and you may have recently gotten information in the mail from March of Dimes regarding making a donation. That is up to you, I’ve had years where I donated ($x per week my first child was premature), and others where I haven’t given anything, instead supporting local charities at this time of year. The rate of premature birth has gone up more than 36% even since I was born, and 1 in 9 US babies is born premature. This is actually a ridiculous rate and many, MANY less developed countries have lower rates.
This features prominently in my mind right now as I deal with multiple complications from this pregnancy, the last arriving after my post on Friday, as I spent 3 hours in the hospital being monitored for high blood pressure. I am monitoring at home now and get to do other ‘fun’ things (aka not really fun) and deliver ‘samples’ to the hospital Monday morning. Thrills, right? When my doctor said I was going to be monitored, my assumption was that I was going to have a nurse take my blood pressure 4 times and then go home. No, I was in a hospital bed (talk about a numb butt), hospital gown, had doctors and nurses ask me a lot of seemingly unnecessary questions (umm why do you need to know xyz about a baby that’s not going to be born in this hospital?!?), got jabbed for blood samples (the bruise is huge and still hurts) etc. I also was having contractions the longer I sat there (nothing to eat or drink, but that was my preference, I didn’t want to have to stay there for them to bring anything, but had I realized that they were going to have me there 3 hours, I would have-dehydration leads to premature birth).
Since I’m just over 36 weeks, obviously we have the minimum that is needed for lung function, and so on, but my first was born after that ‘time’ and still had to have photo-therapy, repeated blood tests for jaundice, had issues nursing, and in general just scared the crud out of me–being a first time mom. With my second I was determined she’d make it to 39 weeks, and she did. With this one? I just honestly don’t know. If my blood pressure stays elevated they may decide to go ahead and deliver–not my preference of course. They might also put me on bed rest. Makes it kind of hard to take care of your other kids, right? My second had swallowed meconium and actually ended up in special care, but was full term, pink, nursed well, and so on. I was a lot more confident with her, of course, but she was healthier, too. I’m guessing that substituting salty snacks like popcorn, pretzels or cheese and crackers for sweet snacks during gestational diabetes has launched this particular issue. I’m trying to weed those back out, and eat less again (because I was adding in cheese or saltier meats for my ‘extra’ my doctor had allowed) and hopefully that will help. Guess why I was eating sweeter foods? Yeah my blood pressure was a touch high at the beginning of the pregnancy, so I ditched the saltier foods. It’s a lose/lose. I did discover, however that coughing raises it, as well as the kids being rowdy. When it’s quiet and I’m not coughing? Perfectly normal. So.. yeah. I’m guessing that the ‘sample’ tests will show that and I’ll be okay to keep going as normal–but you never know.
I really REALLY don’t want another premature baby. I remember the lack of nursing that led me to pump for 3 months before being TIRED of it and insisting the munchkin get her food ‘on tap’– best decision ever, by the way, to be ‘mean’ to my 3 month old and force her to nurse. However, I just recall the insanity of that time and do NOT want a repeat of it. Premature babies can have so many issues, from hearing loss to slower development, and I don’t want any of that. I don’t think anyone does, of course, but especially now with 2 other kids needing my attention, I’m not sure how well I can take care of a newborn, let alone a preemie ;-). I keep busy, that’s for sure! Every baby deserves 40 weeks (or at least 39 if they can get them)–so that they develop as fully as they were meant to. If you’re pregnant– take care of yourself first. Keep your fluids up, eat healthy snacks and follow Dr’s orders. If you’re planning on becoming pregnant, take your pre-natal vitamins (even the gummy ones are good) and do your best to keep yourself healthy, drop bad habits, and exercise. All of these things make a world of difference to a baby–and to you in the future. Click the link at the beginning of the post to find out more.