PREEMIE FACTOIDS

Did you know that over 450,000 babies are born premature in the United States every year? And 15,000,000 worldwide. Because of their early arrivals preemies are more susceptible to a myriad health issues including apnea, PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosis ) and RDS (Respiratory Distress Syndrome ). But technology and science continue to evolve. In fact, a preemie born today has a much greater chance at survival compared to only 10 years ago.  Keep checking back for more factoids.

Kye's Story

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A lot can happen in a month's time.  A three-year-old can be potty-trained, a two-year-old can learn to share, a one-year-old can start to walk, and a six-month-old can start solid food.

A lot can happen in a month... especially the final month when your twins are supposed to still be developing inside you, NOT screaming from an incubator, wondering what just happened.  My sons, Bodie and Tanner were born late-pre-term, a month too soon.  It was generally accepted that with a twin pregnancy, I would be given a medal for taking them to 38-weeks, and of course, that was the plan!  Yet as we all know, plans are a fool’s game.

I was in the doctor's office on one beautiful October morning in Chicago, getting a regular check-up... I was scheduled to work in a few hours, and fully expected to be delivering traffic reports that afternoon.  However, with the heart rates of the twins at a concerning level, it was I who heard the news:  You are going to have these babies today.

After an induced labor and hours of amazing support from my husband (and my Mom, who jumped on a plane from Seattle and made it with time to spare!) Bodie and Tanner were born at Rush University Medical Center just before midnight.  As any mom knows, the euphoria is insane... Then you realize the intensity has just begun!

For Tanner, who was born at around four pounds, it became clear he would not be coming home in a couple of days.  While they both resembled little old men... Tanner was clearly not world-ready, and he burned so many calories sucking a bottle, feeding was futile.  In went the nasal feeding tube, and I though my heart would break.  Yet here's the thing with twins... I had to be extra strong for the other guy!  Not exactly a beast at five pounds, but able to barely pass the car seat test, Bodie came home with me, while Tanner stayed in the NICU.
Knowing my breast milk was key for both, I usually packed Bodie up daily for the trips to see Tanner.  I worked on what the hubs named 'the double-football-hold' and we both hoped Tan-man could come home soon.

In two weeks, he did.  A relative giant to the other preemies he bunked with, I counted my blessings daily.  Sure there was stress... I couldn't make it to the NICU one day because Bodie needed a jaundice test.  I hired a bike messenger to take some breast milk to Tanner in the NICU.  You should have seen the look on that dude's face when I described the precious cargo!  I think it is hard to think of yourself as having stress when you see what others are going through... But every family's experience is valid, whether your baby is one month... Or four months early.
 

I have found that volunteering with the March of Dimes has been a source of strength.  So my twins crawled late, walked late, talked late, and benefited from speech and occupational therapy... Big deal!  Every NICU family is on a challenging journey.  Supporting each other can make the path a bit smoother.

When I look at Tanner, now, wolf down cheese pizza, I have to pinch myself that this is the same little guy that nearly four-years-ago couldn't drink a drop of milk.  Someday I'll explain to him and his brother how they arrived early.  Until then, I will be taking things one day... One month at a time.
 

Kye and her husband live with their twin 3-yr-old boys, Bodie and Tanner, and their adopted mutt, Bo. When not reporting at NBC 5, Kye can be found supporting the causes she cares deeply for, including the March of Dimes and St. Jude Chicago.