The team at Avalon Family Dentistry strives to bring you relevant and important dental topics in our ongoing Blog. There are, occasionally, topics that have nothing to do with dentistry, but are important to share. September is NICU Awareness Month.
This summer, our office manager, Cristi, became a first-time Nana. It was not an easy road. Her son, Zack and his fiancé, Leah, found out at 22 weeks that their unborn baby had complications. Their first OB/GYN told them to terminate the pregnancy as he felt the baby would not live past 28 weeks. Zack and Leah chose to transfer care to a maternal/fetal specialist who was committed to Leah and Zack’s enjoyment of their pregnancy. The baby’s condition gave her a 40-60% chance of being born alive. Of those babies born alive with this condition, 40-60% do not come home from the hospital.
Leah’s pregnancy progressed smoothly. Baby Natalie was born full-term, but her complications kept her in the NICU for 5 1/2 weeks. Most of that time was spent at St. Joe’s in Tacoma, but the last week was spent at Seattle Children’s. The experience that Cristi’s family had at the two NICU’s was very exhausting and draining. Things were not perfect. There were frustrations. Through it all, the commitment of the NICU team could not be disputed.
The NICU is not just for preemies. It is a place for full-term babies with complications. Statistics show that 10-15% of infants will experience a stay in the NICU. Cristi’s family can attest the NICU at St. Joe’s was close to full capacity the entire five weeks they were there.
This month is NICU Awareness Month. It is designed to honor the journey of families experiencing a NICU stay and the dedication of the health professionals who care for them. It is also a remembrance of all the babies who do not come home from the NICU and for those families suffering that terrible heartbreak. It is so very important that those babies are honored, acknowledged, and that we say their names! Their stay on earth may have been short, but their importance is forever!
Please consider a way to honor your local NICU and the work they do. Or consider a way to honor a baby who is no longer with us here on earth! Visit www.nicuawareness.org for ideas of how become involved.
We thank all the NICU teams who have such a heart for the work they do!