Sunday, November 17, 2013

World Prematurity Day

November 17 is World Prematurity Day, which is apparently observed all over the globe. Perhaps you've not heard of it before, I know I never have. But today I'm seeing pictures on Facebook from all around the world of buildings and landmarks that are being lit up in purple to observe this special day. It's pretty neat. Mostly it just brings awareness that prematurity is a world-wide problem, as well as celebrating, honoring, and remembering babies that were born too early.

When Elsie was born, we had dozens of phone calls, texts, visits, and messages from parents of preemies, or friends/relatives of preemies. Everyone wanted to share their story and give us hope. We loved hearing each and every story. It gave us comfort and hope in a very scary time. Until Elsie's birth, I wasn't aware of how many people I knew that had premature children. Turns out that there are quite a few, and probably a bunch more that I'm not aware of.

Not all preemie stories have happy endings, however. To all of the families with stillborn angels, late-term miscarriages, preemies with severe health problems, or babies who died after birth, my heart aches for you. I don't want to say anything else, it's all too cliche and trite. But know that we love you and grieve with you.

For whatever reason, our special preemie is doing well. Her biggest setback currently (at least I feel it's her biggest setback) is her dysphagia, or her eating disorder. Being dependent on a feeding tube is not fun. I've been having lots of thoughts about it lately and wish that I had been more informed before Elsie's gtube was placed. But it's something that can and someday will improve, so I can't complain too much. She's making small bits of progress here and there, I just need to be more patient. A good thing is that she really enjoys picking up her own food and putting it in her mouth, and she's getting old enough to be doing that better and better. She doesn't eat it, she just chews and sucks on things like pretzels and licorice, but it's still a big step towards eating. Our most exciting moment lately was dipping a pretzel in ranch dressing, and she seemed to enjoy it quite a bit, and swallowed it. Most of the time when she has any food in her mouth, be it purees, milk, or pretzel crumbs, she spits it out. So swallowing a tiny bit of ranch dressing was pretty exciting.

It's blurry but I was in a hurry to capture the ranch dressing moment.

And more exciting news: Elsie finally got strong enough and had the desire to roll over from her back to her tummy. She's been able to roll from side to side for quite some time now, but never all the way onto her stomach. I figured she would do it when she was ready. And last Tuesday, she did! We were so proud and so excited. The first day, she did it once; the next day, three times; and every day after that, she can do it almost effortlessly. I know to most parents, rolling over is not a huge deal. I mean, Evje rolled over pretty early, and I took it for granted. But I'm pretty dang excited about Elsie being able to roll over. It means that she's catching up developmentally to where she should be.

In celebration of World Prematurity Day, here's a few pictures from Elsie's days in the NICU. Seems like forever ago, but sometimes it also seems like just a few weeks ago.

And here's our little sweetheart, happy and healthy at 10.5 months actual age, 6.5 months adjusted age.

To me, Elsie's story reminds me to never give up hoping and believing. Never stop believing in miracles. I don't, because I live with one. Happy World Prematurity Day. Hug a preemie that you know today!


  1. Ruth, she looks amazing! It's so fun to see her progress. ~Tandy (from the NICU)

  2. Hi Tandy!! I'm so glad you're still following our blog. I know it sounds silly, but I kinda miss seeing all of you fabulous nurses. We'll have to come visit sometime!

  3. Who cares about what "other people" think? Rolling over and swallowing Ranch dressing are HUGE!! I think I've mentioned before that instead of milestones, we call them inchstones and they should be celebrated for the Awesome and Glorious accomplishments that they are! I'm going to eat something with Ranch dressing just to celebrate! ;D

    1. You're absolutely right. They are awesome and glorious inchstones! Thanks for celebrating :)