Today I write as a part of Bloggers Unite and Prematurity Awareness. And since we are so close to Thanksgiving I'm also writing about what I am thankful for. Since Thanksgiving falls on the 25th this year, here are 25 things, related to prematurity, that I am thankful for:
25. I am thankful that there are foundations like the March of Dimes that help fund, educate and support doctors, nurses, family and friends of premature babies.
24. I am thankful that I had a beautiful, easy pregnancy with no complications… other than the premature labor. I absolutely loved every day that I was pregnant!
23. I am thankful for reproductive endocrinology. The advancement in fertility treatments is amazing. And without that, we wouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place.
22. I am thankful that Chris and I were able to openly discuss starting a family and what it meant to each of us. There were hurdles, but they were overcome and we started our journey to becoming a family together.
21. I am thankful for my mother! She has always been so supportive and loving. She admitted to me around Christmas 2008, during her 2nd visit with Aidan at the NICU, that she really needed that visit. When she left the NICU the week he was born she went home believing a baby that small could NOT survive. She never let that doubt known to me. She was so scared, but was so strong for her daughter, who was trying to be strong for her tiny son.
20. I am thankful for Chris’ family. Russell and Theresa were in Baltimore with my mom, before Chris and I could even get there. They have been there for us through the ups and the downs. And several times Theresa has flown down to help us out with babysitting Aidan while I’m at auction.
19. I am thankful Russell and Theresa bought us our crib and all of Aidan’s furniture, and I’m thankful they put up with me with delivery times! Theresa kept telling me I had plenty of time, but I wanted that crib so badly!!! I got it set up, and really, it wasn’t up very long before Aidan was born… course it was another 3 months before he slept in it but still… his room was done before he arrived. Hehe
18. I am thankful for Dr. Judd. He delivered Aidan. I’ll never forget him apologizing for arriving at the hospital wearing jeans and an Abercrombie sweatshirt. We told him he could have come in his pajamas for all we cared! Aidan was one of the smallest babies he had ever delivered, and he was worried too. But he did an amazing job at keeping me and Chris as calm as could be.
17. I am thankful for Emily. She was my labor & delivery nurse. She was young, and scared as well, and she did an amazing job!
16. I’m thankful for Lacey! Lacey was suppose to be my other labor coach, besides Chris. She had just gotten home from the hospital Christmas party when we called her. She arrived at the hospital within minutes, but was very tired. After a few hours we told her to go home and get some rest, we’d call her if anything changed. It didn’t take long before that call was made. She was there within 15 minutes and was in the elevator when Aidan’s “Code Light Blue” was announced through the hospital. She knew he had been born.
15. I am thankful for my wonderful co-workers. That includes the great auction staff we have as well. They threw us a surprise baby shower in November. They all apologized that it was so early, but it was during our November auction and the only time everyone was together… little did they know they had the best timing, as my other showers (one in Maine and one in Mass) had to be cancelled, they were planned for the week after Aidan was born.
14. I am thankful for Mercy Hospital. Everyone we met there, from the welcome center staff, to the social workers to the nurses, and doctors, they were all so supportive and nice.
13. I am thankful for Nurse Peggy. She was such a blessing. She was Aidan’s admitting nurse and often would be his nurse during the 66 days Aidan was in the NICU. She has the biggest heart and took really good care of Aidan.
12. I am thankful for Preemie size 1 diapers. They were so tiny, yet looked so BIG on Aidan’s little bottom. They are smaller than Cabbage Patch Kids’ diapers.
11. I am thankful for Trevor Ulrich. If Trevor hadn’t been born prematurely my family would never have met his
10. I am thankful for Trevor’s mom, Kelly Ulrich. Trevor’s life was taken from him at 9 months of age, by the hand of someone his family trusted, a paid and licensed day care provider. Trevor died from head trauma associated with Shaken Baby Syndrome. Through it all, all the heart ache, Kelly remains as strong as she can for her son and remains a voice for him. A voice to not let her son’s short life be forgotten and to stand up again violence and SBS. She is an inspiration for many women, including me.
9. I am thankful for Dr. Brian C. He’s an AMAZING pediatrician. We were not satisfied with the care Aidan was receiving at his first pediatric office so we called Dr. C. He met with us before we brought Aidan, asked all the right questions in regards to him being a preemie, and has continued to be a great doctor! His staff is wonderful too!
8. I am thankful for all the home health aid we have received. The first months Aidan was home we had a home nurse visit once a week. Then at 3 months old Infants and Toddlers have come once a month. We’ve had wonderful help from Sue, Melanie and Mary. They have helped Aidan reach all his milestones and at 22 months of age, we no longer adjusted his age, he had caught up to his actual age.
7. I am thankful for Giraffe Isolettes. Aidan spent many, many days in one. The Giraffe isolette is usually reserved for the smallest and sickest babies. It provides better warmth and access to the tiniest of preemies.
6. I am thankful for the Ronald McDonald House. Aidan was in a NICU that was and hour and a half from our house. Aidan’s weight was so low that we qualified to stay at the Baltimore RMH. We were able to stay within a few miles of Aidan for days at a time. Everyone should spend at least one day at a RMH volunteering; your faith in humanity will be restored. There are many beautiful people at the RMH. Families of sick kids that stay smiling, despite what they are facing. Our lives may have changed when our son was born, but it changed again staying at the RMH. I’ll always hold it in a special place in my heart!
5. I am thankful for Nicole, the March of Dimes Eastern Shore Division Director. The March of Dimes means a lot to me and Chris. We met Nicole last year at the Signature Chefs auction, and again with the March for Babies in April 2010. This year I was part of the planning committee for this years Signature Chefs Auction which was a great success because of the hard work and dedication that Nicole and her staff and the fellow planning committee has put into each and every event they host. She is a kind soul with a big heart as well.
4. I am thankful for my health. We still do not know why Aidan decided to arrive 12 weeks and 1 day early. My pregnancy was moving along perfectly. Every appointment was picture perfect. We’re lucky that there were no other complications that would have jeopardized Aidan’s health. And I was able to heal quickly, deliver naturally, and was able to be with my son the same day he was born.
3. I am thankful for my family and friends. My family tells us often how proud they are of Aidan and they recognize the dangers he did face being born so early. My friends have been a constant form of support and love as well. I have friends that I have never even met in person, just online, and they have shown such love for Aidan. Without them, this journey would have been unbearable.
2. I am thankful for Chris. I can not even imagine what he was going through while standing beside me in the triage room when I asked if I was going to have my baby and Nurse Emily said “yes, I think so”. He stood beside me, holding my hand, assuring me that everything was going to be ok. He held my hand as our son was born. He went to the nursery once Aidan was stabilized and got to see our son before he was life flighted to another hospital. He stood by my side, and by our son’s side as he laid in the isolette, covered in wires and tubes, hooked to monitors for 66 LONG days. He held me every night that we went home without our son. He smiled the entire drive home from Mercy Hospital the night Aidan was released. He has remained by our sides, helping any way he can, and becoming a better father every day, which is pretty amazing, since he’s been a perfect dad since day one! There is no better father for Aidan than Chris!
And the #1 thing I am thankful for:
I am thankful for Aidan. My 27 week 6 days, 2 pound 7.8 ounce, 15” long preemie. My 66 day NICU graduate. My Sagittarius instead of a Pisces. My blond hair, blue eye boy. My free-spirit. My strong minded, and strong bodied toddler. My non-anemic! (finally figured that one out-he has thalessemia) My non-adjusted age 23 month old! The sweet boy that waves, says bye and blows kisses when you leave. The little baby that didn't weigh as much as two loaves of bread at birth. He sings "wiggle wiggle wiggle" and "moon moon moon". He loves his Momma, Daddy, doggy, 2 kitties, his Grammie, Grammie V, Grandma and Grandpa. He loves his Aunt Michelle and Gary, Dale, Lacey and Zac too. The little man that loves spicey food, coconut and pumpkin pie. A son who's love for life and learning reminds me every day what is important. MY AIDAN!