It’s World Prematurity Day.
As you can imagine, this day in honor of prematurity awareness is near and dear to my heart. With Andie turning 21 this month, it’s especially poignant this year!
Recently I was visiting a dear friend in her new home in Plymouth, Massachusetts. As we drove the rural roads visiting farm stands and cranberry bogs, I shared memories of numerous visits to Plymouth when the kids were little.
With fragile lungs, Andie was at risk from a common cold, so in turn Tucker stayed home from preschool, and I created a “homeschooling” preschool, which included several trips to the reenactment village of Plymouth Plantation.
One particular November day really stands out. The kids were bundled in thick coats, hats and mittens and after stirring soups and helping saw logs at the plantation, we headed to the Mayflower. It was late afternoon and close to dark as we disembarked from the ship.
The kids were tired and it was time to head home, yet a crowd was gathering nearby. So with Andie in my arms and Tuck holding my hand we headed in that direction. A man was hurrying that way, and I asked him what was happening.
“I’m from the March of Dimes” he said, shifting his clipboard to his other hand in order to shake mine. “It’s World Prematurity Day and we’ve lit up Plymouth Rock in the signature purple.”
I stopped right where I was standing.
I squeezed Andie more tightly as chills covered my being from head to toe.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
I could hardly speak, but managed to tell him that the young child in my arms had been born at 25 weeks, weighing just over a pound and a half.
He reached out and squeezed my hand. “Please join us,” he said, and together we walked over to join the crowd gathered around the purple rock.
We experienced more “Preemie Magic” recently when Andie and I were interviewed on the Mothers and Daughters Podcast.
The timing felt remarkable and so special given her big birthday!
The best part was hearing from the kid’s most wonderful babysitter who arrived in our lives like an angel soon after Andie returned from the hospital.
“I enjoyed this very special podcast this morning, sipping coffee, watching the November sun stream through the kitchen windows. Your story is magnificent and I never tire of hearing it. Yours is the voice of advocacy, instinct, and peace in the midst of chaos. Your story should be required listening for anyone dealing with life coming out not as intended. You’re an incredible story-teller and person, and what a treat to hear your girl and her perspective! I loved hearing Andie’s “grown up” voice (I still see her scrunch her face and say “Tuuckeerrrrrrrr!”) Love and gratitude to you both.”
Please note: This podcast is our story, told from Andie and my perspective and may be triggering for those who have experienced loss. If you’re seeking support in that area, please reach out as I am happy to share resources.
Over 15 million babies are born prematurely each year. The impact on families is significant. If you or someone you know is needing support, please reach out. You are not alone. I’m here to offer support or direct you to resources that can help.
With blessings on World Prematurity Day.