SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - When a baby is born premature, a family’s world can be turned upside down. November is Prematurity Awareness Month. So, in recognition of that, the March of Dimes donated 50 care packages filled with everything from fuzzy socks to crossword puzzles, and tissues to parents who spend countless hours with their babies in the NICU.
"Oh, is that funny?" says mom Vanessa holding her newborn.
For a mother, anything her newborn does is a little miracle.
"So this is our boy Ezekial,” says Vanessa showing off her little miracle. “He was 3 pounds, 10 ounces."
But Ezekial is only one of three miracles. There's also sister Eleana, and little Evelyn. Triplets, three little miracles, born nine weeks premature at Sharp Mary Birch.
"I spent three and a half weeks upstairs on the fourth floor, admitted. Um, it was hard,” adds Vanessa holding back tears. “I carried the triplets until 31 weeks and three days, and we've been here ever since, I'm going on about 40 days."
Forty days and counting in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital. And Vanessa, with a two year old at home already, is here six to nine hours a day.
"I come between 10 and 11, and I'll leave about 5 or 6. It just depends. Sometimes it's just hard to leave," says Vanessa.
On this day, the March of Dimes is here delivering care packages. A little comfort for parents trying to navigate the emotional roller coaster of life in the NICU.
"It's great, the nurses love our babies, and the doctors are amazing,” says Vanessa. “It's just some days are hard because this is what you come to every day. And every day I just want to hear, 'Your babies are ready to go home.'"
That day will come, just like it did for Kristina and Mia.
"She was born on July 31st, and she was supposed to be born on November 3rd. She was born 1 pound and 9 ounces," says mother Kristina holding her little Mia tight.
Mia was 14 weeks premature.
"This kind of puts it into perspective of how small she was,” says Kristina showing a picture on her phone. “That's my husband’s finger, and that's her little hand. Her fingers don't even wrap around the tip of his finger."
The difficulty of having to leave your baby in the hospital, and the trust that a parent has to have in the nurses who care for them is overwhelming and at the same time, very comforting.
“Yes, it is extremely overwhelming, depressing,” says Kristina. “But you bond with these people here and they become family, they really do. That's why I’m back here today to visit my primary nurse. We will always be grateful for everything they did for us here."
Mia was part of a March of Dimes study when she was in the NICU at Sharp Mary Birch. Each year more than 22 thousand babies never make it out of the NICU because of complications with premature birth. The awareness and research by the March of Dimes is determined to put an end to that.
You can join the March of Dimes effort to help mothers and children at the March for Babies. Learn more here.