(Part 3: Journeys of Grief, Guilt, Guts and Gratitude)
Celebrating World Prematurity Day November 17, 2016, Thanksgiving, and YOU Our Beloved, Local and Global Neonatal Womb/Preterm Birth Community
GRATITUDE by Louie Schwartzberg-
The Neonatal Womb Community Celebrates World Prematurity Day (WPD) on November 17, 2016. Local and global communities celebrate this important recognition of our community in diverse and powerful ways! A Shout-Out to a few of our Partners:
South Africa: Minister Motsoaledi to announce government initiatives on the occasion of World Prematurity Day: Some of these initiatives include the first of its kind, largest public health scale up program ever, Mom-Connect – a mobile phone-based messaging service providing South Africa’s estimated 1.2 million pregnant women with health care information during pregnancy and through the 1st year of the child’s life. Full Article:www.africa-newsroom.com/press/minister-motsoaledi-to-announce-government-initiatives-on-the-occasion-of-world-prematurity-day?lang=en
Local/Global: March of Dimes And Little Lotus Announce Partnership In Honor Of World Prematurity Day. Little Lotus will donate proceeds of product purchases to March of Dimes during Prematurity Awareness Month.
Through November 30, Little Lotus will donate $5.00 from every purchase of the Lotus Signature Swaddle and Sleeping Bag – featuring the company’s original, handprint-inspired design – to March of Dimes to help support this critical work.
Little Lotus is a line of baby products (including swaddle and sleeping bags for newborns – 2 years) using a proprietary fabric inspired by NASA spacesuits to keep babies at the optimal temperature, helping them to sleep better. The company has a forthcoming preemie size swaddle as well, with pre-orders available soon. For every Little Lotus baby product purchased, a baby is saved by the Embrace Warmer, a low-cost infant incubator designed by Embrace Innovations, which has already helped to save over 200,000 babies around the world.
Purchase Link: https://littlelotusbaby.com/
THANK YOU passionate, committed, engaged, wise and globally collaborative Community Partners who continue to work to prevent/decrease preterm births and support the health and well-being of ALL partners in the Neonatal Womb/Preterm birth community. You gift us with your presence on this journey! The need for continued work together remains….
Premature Births Rise Slightly, First Uptick In 8 Years, March Of Dimes Reports – By Carmen Heredia Rodriguez – November 1, 2016
The number of preterm births in the United States rose in 2015 for the first time in eight years, according to data presented Tuesday by the March of Dimes. The organization also reported that racial minorities continue to experience early labor at higher rates. Preterm births increased from 9.57 to 9.63 percent in 2015, which represents an additional 2,000 babies born prematurely in the U.S., the report found. Seven states — Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah and Wisconsin — had higher preterm birth percentages than in 2014, but the report does not offer any suggestions for what caused that increase. Four states — Vermont, Oregon, New Hampshire and Washington — earned the highest marks from the organization for having a preterm birth rate at 8.1 percent or below.
The Benefits of Gratitude-Psychology Today-
Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to, for example, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants. Gratitude is getting a great deal of attention as a facet of positive psychology: Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, gratefulness—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy.
The Healing Power of Gratitude – Lisa Firestone (11/20/2015)
Through her words, Lisa Firestone explores the healing potential choosing gratitude to empower our daily lives offers to us! Please read the full article to capture the depth and expanded awareness Lisa presents.
Article summary: As an important mental health principle, the benefits of gratitude extend far beyond what we may imagine. Scientific studies have found that gratitude is associated with:
- Greater happiness
- More optimism and positive emotions
- New and lasting relationships
- Better health
- More progress toward personal goals
- Fewer aches and pains
- More alertness and determination
- Increased generosity and empathy
- Better sleep
- Improved self-esteem
Ms. Firestone states “With no downside to practicing more gratitude, it seems like a goal we would all embrace. Yet, as we aim to cultivate more gratitude, there are two questions to consider: what barriers do we face in feeling grateful in our daily lives, and how can we connect more fully to our feelings of appreciation?”
Ms. Firestone contends and recommends:
- It’s difficult to acknowledge what we have.
- Gratitude reminds us of what we lacked in the past.
- Challenge your critical inner voice. – Act grateful and be more accepting.
- Practice mindfulness.
Psychologist Jack Kornfield recently said in an interview, “The cultivation of mindfulness… really allows us to become present for our own body, for the person in front of us, for the life we’ve been given. Out of that grows, quite naturally, the spirit of gratitude.”
Awaken your sense of wonder. Kirk Schneider who authored the book Awakening to Awe wrote: Awe is the sense of amazement (humility and wonder) before the mystery of life… Awe is not just a cheap thrill, or a stunned helplessness; it is an appreciation of the whole of life—the fragile as well as the exalting. Awe inspires us to see through the pettiness of life, and connects us to the grand picture, the “great adventure;” and this adventure has remarkable potential to lift us, to heal us, and to give our lives meaning.
Wikipedia: Haiti: The country is located on the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometres (10,714 sq mi) in size and has an estimated 10.6 million people, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the second-most populous country in the Caribbean as a whole.
Healthy Newborn Network reports that in Haiti 34% of infant deaths are due to preterm birth complications. http://www.healthynewbornnetwork.org/country/haiti/
In Haiti, 37,000 babies are born too soon each year and 2,700 children under five die due to direct preterm complications. http://www.everypreemie.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Haiti-2.pdf
Haiti: Kangaroo Care – Simple and effective support for premature babies By Jennifer Ocquidant (May 06, 2014) http://www.msf.ca/en/article/haiti-kangaroo-care-simple-and-effective-support-premature-babies
In 2011 Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) opened a new obstetric emergency hospital in Delmas, a busy neighbourhood in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. The 143-bed facility treats pregnant women with severe complications, offering a maternity ward, obstetric surgery, family planning and psychosocial support. It replaced MSF’s previous emergency obstetric hospital that was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake.
For years the Haitian health system has struggled to manage the demand for emergency obstetric care. Most private medical services are too expensive for the majority of people. The Delmas hospital is a haven for pregnant women with complications who require specialized, free emergency care. MSF offers medical services comparable to western countries like Canada. The high demand for its services makes the hospital a very busy place.
On a recent visit, I was particularly impressed by the kangaroo care ward. Kangaroo care was invented by a Colombian pediatrician as a way of dealing with a lack of incubators for premature babies at his hospital. He decided to test a new method whereby the fragile premature infant is held continuously and directly skin-to-skin with its mother. Since MSF works mainly in resource-poor settings, the decision to include this method in its medical projects was no surprise.
Simple method yields good results: Simple but revolutionary, this method seemed like a miracle solution to help get premature babies through their difficult first weeks. Permanent contact with the mother’s skin helps infants maintain an adequate body temperature, allowing them to feel a womb-like protection and to gradually gain weight. Their growth and development are regularly monitored. Besides being born prematurely, the babies must be healthy to participate in the program. New mothers must attend an information session on the method and follow the protocol.
I watched the mothers stretched out next to each other in a room buzzing with activity, going about their business with small bundles attached to their chests. I noticed one mother who had not one small bundle on her chest, but two. The pediatrician explained that she gave birth to twins prematurely due to pre-eclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure in pregnancy. Common among Haitian women, this can be fatal to both the fetus and the mother. The only remedy is to induce labour.
Christelle, 19, gave birth to twin babies at the MSF hospital 28 weeks into her pregnancy. Her daughter weighed 940 grams and her son only 720. The twins had to be treated in the neonatal intensive care unit for two weeks. Only after they had stabilized could they come to the kangaroo care ward.
“During the day, I lie with my babies on top of me and nurse them every two hours,” Christelle explained. “While it’s difficult, this method seems to be working because my little girl weighs 1,425 grams now. Unfortunately my son had complications and had to return to the pediatric ward. But he’s doing better. I went to MSF because the other hospitals weren’t equipped to handle complicated deliveries like mine. This hospital is very good. The employees stay positive and help the patients a lot.”
With two new babies, life won’t be easy for Christelle. Her family wants her to go back to school, so the babies may have to go to and live with their grandmother. But Christelle says she is confident about the future.
Doctors Without Borders: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is the world’s leading independent international medical relief organization, implementing and managing medical projects in close to 70 countries worldwide and with national offices in 21 countries.
We are grateful for the many INNOVATIONS our Partners create:
This article reveals several recent innovations empowering the health and well-being of Women and Children, and the Neonatal Womb Community. One such innovation comes to us from India!-https://thinkprogress.org/could-technology-prevent-so-many-women-and-children-from-dying-preventable-deaths-6c91ef53e31d#.8vs9gkgoj
A Bracelet To Monitor Newborns’ Body Temperature-
Some innovations — like the Hemafuse — are developed because of the cost barriers the developing world faces to high standards of care. Others come out of specific market needs.
Ratul Narain, founder of the company Bempu, developed his device after extensive observation and consultation with pediatricians in India, which has the highest rate of death due to preterm babies in the world. One of the main reasons for the high death rate is low birth weight, and a corresponding high risk of hypothermia — if a baby’s temperature drops even a bit, they will start burning necessary body fat, putting them at severe risk of brain damage or death.
In the United States, for example, such children are kept in the hospital until they’ve gained enough weight to leave without constant risk. But in India, many families don’t have that luxury, and the only hope is constant vigilance 24 hours a day — a tough ask for an exhausted new mother, particularly one with a job, a household, or other children to care for.
“Practically, that has limited accuracy, and the mother has to be trained on it, and she has to do it, and she also has to sleep,” said Narain. The problem is deceptively simple: the babies need to be watched constantly to ensure that they’re warm enough. However, in practical terms, constant, accurate attention is a difficult ask.
In response, Bempu developed a simple bracelet that accurately monitors the baby’s temperature full-time and acts as a warning system. Retailing for about $27 dollars, it provides round-the-clock protection for two months — the time when the baby is at the highest risk.
“The bracelet sits on the wrist of the baby and monitors it, and it blinks a soft blue light if the temperature is okay,” Narain told ThinkProgress. “If the baby is hypothermic at any time, it sounds an alarm and blinks a bright red light to wakes up the mother so she can warm the baby through kangaroo care [which is where she holds the baby next to her chest.”
Bempu is also working on developing a bootie that will help babies with apneas by ‘flicking’ their feet to remind them to keep breathing — currently, in India, the standard is crowded neonatal wards and harried nurses.
We don’t have to travel the world or become a professional athlete to give back. There are endless and unique (like you!) ways we can contribute to the health and well-being in our communities. Today we want to Shout-Out (Seahawks Sunday) to someone we respect and honor:
We are Grateful for SEAHAWKS Defensive End – Cliff Avril & Ravens Elvis Dumervil.
Hey Cliff and Elvis! We are so GRATEFUL for your generous work in Haiti! For every sack Cliff records this season Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril will donate money to build a house in Haiti, the Carribean country that was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew, a natural disaster that according to a recent Reuters report has claimed 1,000-plus lives. Cliff stated “For every sack I get this year, including the two I already have, I will be donating to build a house in Haiti, especially in those areas that got flooded,” Avril said after a Monday practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. “Those houses can withstand through hurricanes, and earthquakes as well.” Avril, whose family is of Haitian descent and whose Cliff Avril Family Foundation helped rebuild and open an elementary school in Haiti just last month, has teamed with New Story Charity on the house-building effort, a project he was introduced to by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil, who also has Haitian roots.
Gratitude colors our lives in big and small ways. Today, as preterm birth community partners, we want to express our gratitude for our opportunity over the past 25 years to share this life journey together and with our Neonatal Womb partners. Daily, we find ourselves recharged and healed within the arms of Mother Nature who has recently blessed us with the presence of an exquisitely large and magnificent Owl as we walk and run along the nature path behind the Mill Creek Towne Center in Mill Creek, WA. Twice recently the mysterious grey and white owl has swooped past us, brushing our cheeks with air propelled by massive wings. Head swiveling as she lands, the Owl stares intently into our eyes. We are overwhelmed with gratitude at being “seen” and recognize this as a sign that all people from all walks of life will someday be seen and cherished as the exquisite creations the Universe intended. When that happens, and unconditional love rules, we will enjoy the human experience at its full potential.