Nina is eight years old.
I have a daughter who is eight years old. Her name is Sidney.
Nina’s mom was a healthy young woman when she became pregnant with Nina.
I was a healthy young woman when I became pregnant with Sid.
Nina’s mom and I should have had identical pregnancies.
Neither one of us had histories of preterm birth.
We both carried singleton babies.
We both had access to the best prenatal health care in Ohio.
But somehow the births of our daughters, eight years ago, were radically different.
An average pregnancy lasts 40 weeks.
Sidney was born at 39 weeks a great big ball of screaming baby. She weighed 7lbs 12 oz.
Nina was born 9 weeks early at 31 weeks and weighed just 2lbs 15 oz.
Sidney came home from the hospital with me 4 days after she was born.
Nina fought for 5 weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit of a hospital before she eventually came home to her parents and big brother. For months and years after her birth her parents waited for the other ax to drop but her health has remained exceptionally good for a child born at that size.
I was able to meet Nina and her mom yesterday and hear their story. I walked away with these tidbits:
Not one researcher can answer the question why it is that so many women in the United States deliver babies way too early. Women who should, according to all the statistics, deliver a healthy baby.
But statistics fail us and babies are born every day way too soon.
We believe that bringing our children into the world in America they will be armed with every advantage imaginable but yet we fail at just that- bringing them into the world.
That is why there are groups like the March of Dimes. Groups that bring stories like Nina’s to people like me. They bring these stories in the hopes that by the telling of stories we create a society that deems this as unacceptable.
One out of every 9 babies are born too soon.
We have put men on the moon and we have invented a modem that will connect us with each other every moment of every day.
One day we will discover the cause of preterm birth.
Until then Nina and her mom will continue to tell their story.