By Dave Andrusko
Today is World Prematurity Day, intended to raise awareness of preterm birth. The numbers vary, according to sources, but estimates are in the annual range of 15 million babies worldwide who will come early– more than 41,000 premature babies will be born premature today.
That’s one reason you’ll read stories like Danielle Hearns, now 32, whose son Cameron was born eight years ago at 26 weeks.
The story, by Kathy Armstrong, does not sugarcoat the many problems that can be associated with an early delivery. On November 4, 2009, Danielle was rushed to the hospital, having awakened to find herself bleeding quite heavily.
“Within 10 minutes of arriving, I was told the baby was coming and if I didn’t deliver there would be a very high risk to him,” she explained. Cameron weighed only 2 Ibs, 1 oz.
Danielle, who was the mother of three other children, recalled being transferred to the National Maternity Hospital on Dublin’s Holles Street. “He was wheeled in to say goodbye, it was horrible, I was on a ward with other mums and their babies and mine was in a different hospital.”
But Cameron’s condition went from bad to worse. “Two days later, We found out he’d had a grade four brain hemorrhage.”
The staff prepared her for the worst. “A doctor told us he would probably be severely disabled, he would probably never walk or talk and would probably never be able to suck his bottle or feed himself,” Danielle told Armstrong. “ I remember thinking we should be grateful he was alive but I was worried about what quality of life he would have.”
Six years later, Cameron has only mild cerebral palsy. How does that affect him?
“He’s still a bit behind other kids but not by much,” Danielle said. “He’s the boss of our house.”