Welcome to full time motherhood. Our daughter was born premature, late pre-term thirty-five weeks and five days. She was born at a low birth rate, less than the recommended minimum of five pounds, eight ounces. Inevitably, she was sent to the NICU shortly after birth due to her having low blood sugar, which was a result of her low birth rate.
Fortunately, within hours she was able to achieve and stabilize her sugar levels. Our daughter would only spend a total of three days in the NICU before being prepared for discharge.
During our stay in the hospital I would repeatedly make visits to the NICU to spend time with my daughter. We would practice latching with her, have lots of “Kangaroo time,” (also known as skin to skin contact, where the diapered baby lays on the mother’s bare chest) and sometimes just watching our little princess sleep.
Just by entering the NICU floor we immediately were overwhelmed with how fortunate we were, as many of the other little princesses and princes had far more challenges. Our daughter didn’t require breathing assistance, or the more critical care other preemies were receiving around her. We were and are indeed very, very grateful.
According to the March of Dimes 1 in 10 babies are born prematurely and in New Jersey, the preterm birth rate among black women is 47% higher than the rate among all other women. The disparities in the premature birth rate within the black community in my “humble opinion” is an epidemic.
What are the causes? How do we improve these statistics? Knowledge is power, and we need to make ourselves informed to do our part in finding solutions.
My home state of New Jersey earned a “C” on the 2017 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card. Find out more about prematurity and information specific to your state by clicking on the link below:
World Prematurity Day is observed on November 17th, a day after my due date (go figure)! All in all, we have become a part of a very honorable group, “Parents of Preemies.” A “sacred society” in my view. We are proud members! Preemie Power!!!
Yours on this journey,
Crystal D. Charley-Sibley, MBA
Founder of Melanin and Motherhood, Co-Founder of Queen Village LLC, is a community activist, women's empowerment speaker, a first-time mother, and wife, chronicling her journey of motherhood!