November is Prematurity Awareness Month and today in particular is World Prematurity Day. (Have you seen any pictures of buildings lit up purple today? That is why.) Although we are pretty aware of prematurity every day over here, it is especially meaningful to make Noah pose for pictures like this today. :)
Can you believe he will be 6 in just a month?! In some ways the NICU seems worlds away, and in some ways I can still picture every detail.
I must admit I'm not entirely clear on the goals of the whole "awareness day" thing. . . The numbers being shared today are that 1 in 10 babies are born too soon, and that complications related to preterm birth are the largest cause of infant mortality worldwide. So there is that.
But here are some much more personal things when I think "awareness" and prematurity. Some I am very glad for, and some not so much.
I am aware of:
-What things like surfactant and TPN and EPO and PICC lines and so on are and what they actually do.
-What it is like to hear your phone ring and it be instantly connected to wondering if your baby is okay.
-The horrible feeling of not being able to hold or care for your own baby.
-The awesome awesomeness of NICU doctors and nurses.
-What it is like to thank someone for saving your child's life.
-What it is like to receive gift after gift and be able to do nothing except say thank you.
-What it is like to be part of a special little community that you can only be a part of by going through the same thing as the others in it.
-What it is like to be able to say "I understand" in a very difficult circumstance and actually mean it.
-What it means to be "emotionally exhausted".
-That the phrase "the power of a mother's touch" is more than just a cliche.
-What it is like to literally just sit and listen to your child breath and be thankful for each and every one he takes.
-A new level to what it means to be part of the body of Christ and to be "lifted up in prayer".
-That you can be really, really excited about words like "normal" and "ordinary".
-That the combination of snuggling, breast milk, and countless prayers can have a result that looks like this: