November 17 is World Prematurity Day and today — like every July 22 and every time I learn that someone I know has just had a preemie — I remember the days of denial, terror, tears, and emotional exhaustion as we waited eight weeks in the NICU for that elusive day when things would be “normal.” Our first baby, our first pregnancy (hard to achieve and even harder to sustain), and our first days as parents, forever begun in chaos. Normal we would never really be.
But time goes on, and 13 years later, it’s mostly like a bad dream. Because he made it, and so did we. Because we had access to medical care, and time for what preemies need most: warmth and love.
This video explains the miracle of Kangaroo Mother Care, which is so obvious if you think about it. Yes, a preemie needs help with oxygen and medication for his heart defect and his immature lungs, but he most needs his mother’s skin and heart and voice — and his father’s too. They day we were allowed to do this was the best day; once we started, we wouldn’t stop.
Premature birth is the leading cause of infant death worldwide, but 75% of preemie babies can be saved with simple solutions like Kangaroo Care and a $1 shot to help their strengthen their lungs. Learn more about World Prematurity Day and how you can help get this information and simple treatments to parents everywhere.
Note: Though this beautiful story is set in Malawi, prematurity is by no means a “somewhere else” phenomenon; the United States scored a “C” on the 2014 Premature Birth Report Card.