African American women are 1.5 times more likely to have a premature birth than any other ethnicity. African American babies are being born too early at the highest rates no matter the parents income, education, prenatal care, or marital status. We want to hear from you! We are looking for stories from African American mothers who have an experience with a child in the Nicu. You do not have to be the perfect writer. Every story is eligible to be included in the book. We are looking for women to share their life experiences and circumstances while they were pregnant and the impact stress had on their newborn being premature or in the neonatal intensive care unit. How did you feel while your child was in the nicu? Is there anything you wish you would have been told? Is there anything that could have helped you be more stress free during your pregnancy? Did you suffer from depression? Has the nicu experience changed you? We want to hear from you!! The Deadline is October 31, 2017 at 12:01 AM and the winner will be announced November 15, 2017. The winner will receive a free beauty treatment such as Laser hair removal, Permanent makeup, or a Hyperbaric Session for free at De Vries Cosmetic Centre in Las Vegas, NV. Include Name, Contact Information, Age of child now and gestation of child when in the nicu.
I sit here tonight as a mother of three children that have spent what seemed to be endless days in the NICU and as an African American mother. I have noticed that there is a need for awareness for premature infants and a cry for help for support from minorities. We make up majority of preterm births globally and yet there is a need for education on this topic in low income areas. Why is that?
Why is it that every time we turn on the television we see ads on premature infants and infant death mortality but there is no support in the areas that need it most. During my time in Houston, Texas I was having preterm contractions and was refused the Progesterone shot treatment to prevent preterm contractions. I had to relocate to California at 30 weeks’ gestation to receive the proper treatment and still had my daughter, London, at 34 weeks’ gestation in 2014. Medical treatment with or without insurance should not matter when it comes to saving an unborn child life. Did her life not matter?
At this time, I did have insurance so that was no excuse to why I did not receive it. I have had the same shot treatment for 3 pregnancies and ended with the same result……The NICU. According to an article I found on CDC.gov non-Hispanic black preterm babies consist of 13.39% of preterm births in 2015 compared to 8.8% non-Hispanic white preterm babies. Hispanic preterm infants are 9.13% of preterm infants born before 37 weeks nationally.
I make this promise to all my mothers of preterm infants that we will come together and support one another and bring a platform where we can all unite and empower one another. Our trials from the NICU doesn’t end the moment we are discharged and walk out of the hospital with our baby. We all share a story and want to tell it and I am here to tell you that it needs to be heard. Numbers show that even the educated black woman with the best jobs still are facing high premature infant rates. Why is that? Why is there not enough research being conducted in small communities to see what is triggering these high preterm birth rates.
Every day is a struggle to be a minority in America. Maybe living in this society is enough high tension to send a black mother into preterm labor. 1 in every 3 black men are in jail during some point in their lifetime. If the pregnant mother is going under undo stress from her child’s father being incarnated is that not enough to send a mother into preterm labor? With everything going on in American right now I think it is safe to say that not every black man that is arrested is a criminal.
Let’s take into the fact that she is pregnant and having complications and cannot keep up with her bills. With an overdue electricity notice or rent notice not put a woman under undo stress? Let’s talk about the mother that has children already and is struggling because she is on bedrest to take care of her children but there is nobody that she can turn to because in our culture you have to be strong at all times. There is no room for weakness, nor hand-outs.
Let’s talk about why we are having babies at high rates in low income communities and why the previous efforts didn’t work. I promise to dig into the facts and figure out a way to help support the mothers who need it most and can’t get the support they need. Glo Preemies will not only find a way to get the nation attention but to make sure that we all talk about it. If we help our mothers when the stress begins to become just too much maybe, just maybe, we can finally decline the rates of preterm births of our beautiful babies.
Support.Empower.Beautify. Our NICU Families
"Beep, Beep, Beep" "Swish, Swish, Swish" the first sounds that you here as you walk into the NICU for the first time. As You walk in you are met with a sink where you have to properly wash your hands before entering to see your infant. There are posters along the sink to remind you of how to clean them the right way. As you walk in you see some nurses examining babies, monitors beeping, and other nurses inputting information into their computers. You are not bothered by how hectic it is in the room because all you are searching for is your child name or familiar cry that you was only able to hear for a few minutes before he was rushed away.
I have had 3 children in the last five years and all of them was premature infants. At the age of 21 I was in college in Louisiana and planning to become an ob/gyn. That was short lived after I became pregnant with my son during my last year in school. I had lost 25-30 pounds with all of my pregnancies due to non stop vomiting and nausea. Can you imagine living for 8 months without being able to eat or drink anything including water or you was doomed for the trash can? With my first child I had to move home to California at 32 weeks pregnant because I was considered High Risk. I had started to go into preterm labor at 28 weeks and the doctors was not sure why but knew that every day counted. I had him 2 weeks after returning home at exactly 34 weeks gestation.
I was scared and nervous during those first few weeks watching him smile in the incubator with tiny monitors attached to him to make sure he remained stable. I was at his side 22 hours of every day until he was able to come home. Only time I left the hospital was during 7-8 am and pm when the nurses changed shift. How could I go home and relax when I had my first child in the hospital still?
Years later I became pregnant with my husband and I first daughter. It has been 3 years since I was pregnant and I felt that this pregnancy might be different. This time it was completely worse. I lost 30 pounds, no medication either FDA approved or not didn't work for my nausea and the doctors tried everything. I was hospitalized for my vomiting constantly and had preterm labor once again. My middle child was born at 34 weeks and 2 days gestation.
With her Nicu stay it was easier but still heartbreaking to watch your baby suffer. She had mini ALTE episodes where her heartbeats would become irregular and cause her to gasp for air. This was the scariest part to me because every breath I closely monitored. Even though she is 2 now and haven't had an episode since she was 8 months old I am still cautious over her and her irregular heartbeats.
My last child who is now nine months old brought joy to my life. I did lose 30 pounds with her, constant vomiting, in and out of the hospitals, but most importantly she showed me strength. My water bag started leaking at 26 weeks pregnant. I was hospitalized for 4 weeks and I discharged myself and came home until I delivered at 36 weeks. She was the longest one I held in and my water had been leaking for 10 weeks now but somehow the fluid never got low around her.
You are not alone, I have been "let go" by doctors because I was too sick for them and they couldn't find a resolution. I know the feeling of being alone and that nobody understands where you are coming from when you say, "yes, I had my baby. I might be fine physically now but emotionally I am far worse". I know tons of mothers who would trade being pregnant for a few more weeks than to watch their child in a incubator waiting for the doctor to release your precious baby home.
You are strong. You are powerful. I know that you will never be the same after you leave the NICU but take your experiences and turn it into something positive. I know you are frustrated and overwhelmed with emotions. It is ok to feel alone but don't be afraid to ask for help. I know in minority communities seeking help for PTSD or PPD is looked upon as a mental illness and shamed against. We need to break the pattern. Let's Heal our mother's and not frown upon them. Next time you see a new mom ask her exactly how she is feeling and let her express herself openly. If you know someone who just had a premature infant offer all the support you can and never forget to ask how are they doing".
"Your preemie will grow up, but you will always be a preemie mom"
Founder Glo Preemies
"A Voice for Preemie Mom's"