I'm a former TV news anchor who is raising quadruplet daughters. I don't claim to be an "expert" parent, but I think my tips, triumphs and struggles will give you some insight to my life. Have ideas for this site? Email me at email@example.com
Today hundreds of bloggers are writing posts about premature births. Every year 20 million babies are born too soon. Medical advances are giving these babies a fighting chance, but for many of them, prematurity is still a life or death situation. Last week, to promote today's event, I shared some of my story involving the premature births of my four daughters. Today, I'm taking a slightly different angle. I was born premature. I was approximately four weeks early. I've been told I spent time in an isolette so my lungs could develop properly. I've never had any developmental complications from being premature, so it never really hit me how serious being born early can be.... until I became a mommy of preemies. When I learned I was pregnant with quadruplets I was immediately informed that I would give birth early. How early? There was no way to tell. The longer my babies could stay in the womb, the better. With a fairly uncomplicated pregnancy (save for 23 weeks of bed rest), a c-section was scheduled for 32 weeks. Then at 28 weeks and 2 days, at around 4 a.m., my water broke. I was in disbelief. It was way too early! Twenty-eight weeks was a magic number. It was how far along I had to be to deliver my babies at my local hospital, rather than be immediately transferred to a hospital 2 1/2 hours away that had pediatric specialists. My tour of the NICU did not prepare me for what would happen. It's not easy seeing someone else's baby connected to monitors with oxygen tubes up her nose. It's even harder when this fragile child is your own. It took 24 hours before I could hold one of my daughters. I was able to hold Tortilla on a pillow for about two minutes while her bedding was changed... then it was right back to the safety of her isolette. It would be weeks before we could hold any of our daughters for more than a few minutes. The other day I dug out some NICU pictures for my daughters to see. I could see in their eyes how troubled they were to look at pictures of tiny babies with tubes coming out of their noses, etc. Then I had to explain to them that they were the babies in the pictures. We spent some time talking about how tiny they were and all the special care they needed. It's a lot for a 4-year-old to grasp. We have since moved from the area where we lived when my daughters were born. It is my hope that one day we can visit so my daughters can see that area... and so we can show the NICU staff how well these girls have thrived, partly due to the care they received when they were first born. To learn more about prematurity and what you can do to help, visit the March of Dimes.