To be honest, I struggle with the idea of NICU “awareness” month. It makes it feel like spending time in the NICU is a preventable situation - implying that the moms of babies who do spend time in the NICU had a choice and chose wrong. And yes there are certain conditions that place a baby in the NICU that are preventable (i.e. drug withdrawal), but most situations are unknown or known but unpreventable. Unfortunately, there is a huge lack of research in the field of preventing preterm labor.
You may be wondering why I am talking about preterm labor on our farm page. Well family is one of our core values and preterm labor has greatly impact our family and me as a mom. Just before 32 weeks pregnant with Cooper, I went into preterm labor. After being in labor for a week, they were unfortunately unable to stop him any longer and he was born at 32 weeks and 5 days. We were in the NICU for 32 days, 3 hours from our home. Nick commuted on weekends, while I worked from the hospital room.
Cooper was the best case scenario for a baby born 2 months early. He just needed to gain weight and learn to eat, but it still wasn’t an easy 32 days. And for the first year of life Cooper was much more susceptible to illness, contracting croup twice, RSV, pneumonia, and many ear infections resulting in an additional hospital stay. (I am happy to report that at.3 years old he was in the 85 percentile for height and weight and is doing very well.)
When we found out we were pregnant with Tucker, I dove into researching how to prevent preterm labor (since we never figured out what caused the labor with Cooper). The more time I spent searching, the more I realized there is very little research done on preventing preterm labor. The main prevention method that has been used for decades had only be studied on less than 2,000 young white women and the results were less than convincing. Not to mention this method cost $700 per injection after insurance and I had to get 18 injections over the course of my pregnancy.
When I asked doctors questions like “what if we just monitor my progesterone levels and supplement if they drop, instead of just injecting it?” They told me there weren’t any baseline data on what progesterone levels should be during the course of a pregnancy. I was shocked. This was an idea I got from my time researching cows in college. How could we have more information on pregnant cows than pregnant humans?
So during the rest of the month of September, we are going to help raise money for the March of Dimes and their very important efforts researching ways to help prevent preterm labor. Click here to learn more about their research efforts. We will donate 25% of each bar of Cooper's Lavender Essential Oil Goat Milk Soap sold to the March of Dimes.