World Preemie Day should also be called Heroic Moms' Day. I told the 40-some mom's of babies admitted to the newborn unit that we were celebrating the survival of premature babies today and asked these four if I could take their pictures. Because behind every surviving Preemie is a mom who suffered the pain of birth and the shock of the unexpected timing. Who gets up every 3 hours around the clock for months to squeeze milk from her breast and pour it through a tube. Who prays, grieves, hopes, strives.
The top picture is our current tiniest baby W, born at 980 grams. She's a week old and fighting on, with pink shriveled stick-like limbs and as you can see an occasional outburst of protest. The second baby P we have nearly lost several times in the last 3-4 weeks, with infections and a connection in her heart that should close at birth but sometimes doesn't in preems. I know how the night has gone from this mom's face when I arrive. The third is our rock star baby V. When I started I found her having been revived over and over by the nurses. She was born at 26 weeks and weighed 900 grams. Now she's close to tripling that and has moved into the less acute room. And at the bottom is little R, the only surviving triplet born at 29 weeks. He'll be 2 weeks old Monday and we are really pulling for him. It is not easy to mourn the loss of two babies (the two girls died between the delivery room and admission but the boy, who was the smallest and sickest looking, somehow held on) while caring for a third one.
Today we salute the survivors and solemnly remember the many we have lost. Each story gives us hope that we can improve care and see more smiling moms. Jesus gave special attention to the smallest, the weakest, the most vulnerable. I think these babies will be sitting at the head of the table at the feast of the Kingdom!