Lauren McKenzie, now 11 years-old. Her mother, Tara McKenzie, submitted these photos. “I recall getting so much hope and relief from seeing ‘before & after’ photos of former premature babies when we were in the NICU when Lauren was born,” said Tara McKenzie.
McKenzie continues, “Our daughter was born 6.5 weeks early and was in the University of Michigan NICU for 10 days. She was released to home care with oxygen for 6 weeks. She weighed 5 pounds and gave us quite a scare. But she thrived and is now at the 99 percentile for height and is a competitive swimmer.”
Infant mortality is unacceptably high in many places within the United States. One of these places is Michigan. There are only 11 states where a baby is more likely to die before their first birthday.
Within Michigan there are even cities with infant mortality rates higher than several under-developed countries.
We know that babies born too early or too small are more likely to be beset with complications after birth and less likely to survive, but there is much more to the phenomenon.
We invite you to share a story about a baby that was too small or too early or about infant loss as part of our coverage of infant mortality.
Share your story here. We will post stories here and on the State of Opportunity website.
Tyler Phillip was stillborn January 14, 2004 at 30 weeks. At my eight month appointment the doctor was unable to hear a heartbeat so he sent me for an ultrasound.
There was no heartbeat at that time, and I would have to give birth the next day. He was born weighing 1 pound and 1 ounce. I had to demand an autopsy because it was not protocol to do one. The autopsy revealed a blood clot in the placenta.
I had no idea this could even happen.
I was living in Greenville, Michigan at the time. Because it was such a small community, there weren’t any options for me to talk to other parents or even attend grief groups. There were a few things I was given by the hospital but none of them were local, just online.
One thing I noted was how no one - not even my best friend and my husband at the time - could talk about it with me.
Now I know of many places for support but I really think hospitals can do a much better job of helping parents who suffer a loss.
My husband and I divorced - over the loss of our son and a few other things - and I moved to Ann Arbor for a job. A few months after that I read an article about a blood clotting disorder called Factor V Leiden. It mainly affects white women of European descent, is a genetic mutation, and can result in mild to severe blood clots.