Stop Comparing My Baby

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Wow! I cannot believe it’s been 10 months already! Demi has blessed each of us in more ways than I have time to recite.  It’s extraordinary how I never knew what to expect when I first learned that I was pregnant.  I wasn’t sure how I would fair being a new mommy and all, but man I could never imagine my days without her.

Ten months ago today, Demi was born.  Three months early (27 weeks gestation), Demi came into this world hollering at the top of her lungs and breathing on her own at just one pound and 14 ounces.  Her entire body fit in the palm of her father’s hand.  The most majestic miracle I ever witnessed belonged to me.

 

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The horrifying memory of being forced to give birth early is also my sweet reminder of God’s favor, grace and mercy.  You see being a parent is already scary enough, but being a parent of a premature baby, you never know exactly how things will unfold.

For Ignacio and I, and of course our families, we weren’t sure if Demi would have health problems or even fall below average in learning and motor skills.  It really didn’t matter.  Once she made her grand debut, we all promised to be the “village” that will always protect, love, care for and teach her to be the most amazing person God created her to be.

So on this 10 month anniversary of Demi’s birth; I’m reminded that November is also Prematurity Awareness Month.  Just because a baby is born a few weeks or even a few days early, that doesn’t make the child premature.  A baby born at 37 weeks gestation or earlier is declared premature.  Premature babies may remain in the hospital (NICU) up to their original due date.  In Demi’s case, she was scheduled to stay in the NICU until April 14, but due to God’s amazing grace, she checked off every stage of healthy requirements a full month early.

When I tell people how old Demi is they are shocked because in contrast to the sizes of same age full term babies, Demi looks like she may be 3 months old.

 

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Here’s the thing… sometimes people just don’t know what to say or how to react when you tell them you have a premature baby.  Their thoughts immediately run to the left thinking the worst. Don’t believe me?  Okay, here’s what I’ve heard people say or even ask me when discussing Demi:

She was born so early.  Will she be slow?

Well, at least she doesn’t have one of those ‘preemie’ heads.

When will she start crawling and walking?

At least she’s at the hospital and you can sleep before she comes home.

Are her organs and stuff working right?

Oh goodness! That’s a real baby?! I thought it was a doll!

Oh wow! She’s so teeny tiny! She’s probably going to always be a little runt.

I really could keep going, but I think you get the picture.  And no, I’m not kidding.  At first it bothered me.  I would run back and tell Ignacio and fuss a little, but then I realized it’s just the nature of people being people.  I’m sure you’ve been there before when you’re just not sure what to say.

Like when someone dies.  What’s the first thing that falls out of your mouth? Say it with me… “I’m sorry for your loss or, well, they’re in a better place.”  How do you know that?!  Understand where I’m going here?  So yeah, I had to suck it up and stop worrying so much myself and ignore the less sensitive things people were saying or asking, because really, they just didn’t know what else to say.

Demi is a miracle baby.  Let me explain…

As a premature baby, Demi spent her first few weeks connected to a feeding tube, sleeping with “baby aviators” to protect her eyes from the light which was reducing the chances of her getting jaundice.  She endured constant poking and probing, being isolated in a box, drops in her eyes, needles and more needles.  It was hard watching our sweet angel go through so much, but we understood that it was all necessary.

According to March of Dimes’ 2016 Premature Birth Report Card, Mississippi preterm births are standing at 13.0%.

In Mississippi, the preterm birth rate among black women is 44% higher than the rate among all other women.

March of Dimes also grades each state in relation to the number of preterm births and guess what grade Mississippi received?

F – Preterm birth rate greater than or equal to 11.5%. Score greater than 3.0

Preterm birth increases in the U.S. for the first time in eight years

While I have no idea why preterm births are so prevalent in the states such as Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, I’m not allowing statistics, and other preterm cases determine the health and growth rate of my child.

I mean, look at my baby girl now! Over 14 pounds and growing, this gorgeous little angel is our pride and joy! No medical problems whatsoever, she’s right on target, learning all kinds of things.  Mimicking and trying to walk/run, because she refuses to crawl.  I’m so amazed by her and what she’ll do next.

I will say that I am grateful for the charge of being a preemie mommy.  It’s the most rewarding responsibility I could never ever regret.

So in honor of Prematurity Awareness Month, remember never to compare babies… just give them all the love and care they deserve.  Oh and if you know one… HUG a preemie mommy today!

Blessings.

 

WORLD PREMATURITY DAY IS NOVEMBER 17, 2016.

 

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MAMALOGUE is LSherie’s true stories of mommy life with a preemie.

Follow Demi Jade on Instagram and SnapChat @iamdemijade

 

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