Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thankfulness Day 17: World Prematurity Day

Today I am thanking God:

- for my two miracle premature babies;

- that my babies were born in a major hospital with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit - access to good health care is the biggest predictor of survival in extremely preterm babies.  In high income countries 10% of extremely premature babies do not survive while in poor countries it is 90%;

When I say they were premature this is what I mean...
I think that is Ashlea minutes after birth

- for all the technological advances over the years that have lead to the development of equipment such as ventilators, humidicribs, medication pumps, cpap and the many, many other things involved in keeping premature babies alive - and which kept my babies alive;

A very sick Ashlea - puffed up with fluid and in kidney failure 

- for the amazing staff at our NICU and all the units world wide who take such good care of these tiny precious lives - and who also look after their fragile parents;

First Audrey cuddle - 6 days old

- for our universal healthcare system which means we have not paid for any of this (can you imagine the cost...?)

Audrey - a few weeks old - still 10 weeks preterm - LOVE this pic!

- for the precious life lessons that came from the NICU as I got a glimpse of what really matters;

About 9 or 10 weeks old (still 3+ weeks before due date)

- that I got to take both my babies home - not everyone gets that.  Realising how close we came to losing a child changed my perspective forever.  I will never underestimate what a great blessing it is to have all my children living with me;

6 weeks  corrected
Audrey at home, Ashlea still in hospital

- for the delight it is to watch these two grow up and experience life to the full.  I know there are no guarantees in life - the nursery definitely taught me that - but I am thankful for how far they've come and for what is;

About 8 weeks corrected - just before Ashlea came home from hospital
So much cuteness

- that Audrey is healthy and that the lasting effects of her premature birth appear to be mild. She does have dyslexia but considering she was born in heart failure and nearly lost a leg (from the hip) in her first week of life we can deal with dyslexia;

Around 12 months (9 corrected)

- and for giving Ashlea a delightfully stubborn, persevering nature that has allowed her to overcome many hurdles, reach many milestones never thought possible and get enjoyment out of every moment of her life.

Around age 3

It has been strange writing this post.  The first thing that comes to mind when I think of prematurity and the NICU aren't words of thankfulness - but tears of thankfulness.  It is almost impossible to put into words how thankful I am - for these two precious miracles and all the many people who have helped us on our journey.  Even though for us the NICU was 7 years ago it seems a lot closer - I think because it was the beginning of our new lives.  Our new medical / disability / complicated lives that have unexpectedly turned out to be richly rewarding, blessed and good. Biggest lesson from all this?  It's OK to not get the fairytale ending.  The real life ending is pretty darn good too!

Age 5


Anonymous said...

Why haven't you posted about being thankful for your oldest daughter?

Sylvia said...

Oh my goodness! How tiny and fragile they were! They are definitely the most beautiful and precious things to be thankful for! As for universal healthcare- I really don't understand why it's such a big controversy over here in the US! I guess we are just not used to being forced to do anything!

Julie C said...

Day 17 Today I am thankful for = a very very very very rare invitation to enjoy an evening out, a bbq under cover, a fire pit undercover, a pool and tv, cheese/crackers/steak/onion/salad/ hot potato and gravy, cold champagne to start and a hot cup of tea to end and making new friends via our gorgeous daughters new friends from QLD. I am thankful for modern medicine and c section births which has saved so many mothers and given life to so many premature and full term babies including my 3, myself and siblings. I am thankful for the continuing advances in these areas. Julie C ps Al thanks for sharing this day.

Alison said...
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Alison said...

Anonymous - don't panic - she will get her turn. There are still 13 days left to be thankful!

When she does have her turn and you see her big overdue healthy baby picture you will realise why she did not get mentioned on World Prematurity Day!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, seeing all those people working hard to save the precious lives of the girls is really a reminder to be thankful. Now those girls can be an inspiration (like they are) to others.

I am so thankful for the free healthcare too. Imagine having to think about money, when people are already feeling sick and shocked with ill-health. Wouldn't it be great if the entire world had excellent healthcare for free!!

from Fay

Big brother, Little sister. said...

What a journey! Is Anon, Emma hacking into your blog ;) Looking forward to some big fat term baby pics! Your twins are very precious indeed xx

Alison said...

Ha ha Bron - she is definitely smart enough!

melissa date said...

1. Love this post- so very much to be thankful for when it comes to NICUs.
2. LOL Bron and Alison- looking forward to reading Emma's guest blog post!!!
3. I am sooooo behind and need to put in some serious hours of thankfulness :/ It's not that I can't think of anything to be thankful of- just fitting in he writing time is proving to be a challenge!!

Deb said...

That's so encouraging, Alison. What beautiful girls. It reminded me that 9 years on I'm still thankful for the nurses and doctors that watched over my premmie too.

The Trousdell Five said...

Yes! To all of it! So much to be thankful for considering their start in life. I feel the same way :) said...

We adopted twins who were born prematurely, so I can relate to your thankfulness for care in such a critical time.