I'll admit, until yesterday, we didn't even get The Learning Channel which hosts the reality show "18 Kids & Counting" featuring the Duggar family from Arkansas. Their 19th baby was born earlier this week. 15 weeks early. While I'm pretty sure I'll NEVER be able to relate to having 19 kids, I can absolutely relate to having a micropreemie.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I LOVE a good soapbox. My main soapbox issue has always been (and will likely always BE) animal welfare. But the soapbox of premature birth is running a close second these days. When news broke of the Duggar's new baby, there were headlines like, "Baby Arrives Early - Doing Well" and comments from network representatives like, "mom and baby need as much rest as possible." In my mind, those statements perpetuate the idea that preemies are simply small babies. That with time and rest, they'll be just like a term baby. As someone who knows how incorrect that is...it makes me incredibly angry with the media. But what's new?
Sarah was born at 27wks and believe me, of all the things we did during her 109 days in the NICU, "rest" was at the bottom of the list. And while I would agree that overall she did "well"...that's all relative to the situation. She did (and is doing) well for a baby born 13wks early who had no amniotic fluid for a month prior. Preemie parents live in a world of ventilators, cannulas, PICC lines, O2 sats and countless specialists. We have to learn about things like intraventricular hemorrhages, chronic lung disease, patent ductus arteriosis, retinopathy of prematurity and necrotizing enterocolitis. To put it simply...we worry every minute that our child might die. And sadly, many do. So to see something as serious as a premature birth glossed over...gah!
I wish the Duggars well and pray that Baby Josie is a fighter. They have a long hard road ahead of them.