Today more than 1,400 babies in the United States (1 in 8) will be born prematurely. Many will be too small and too sick to go home. Instead, they face weeks or even months in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU). These babies face an increased risk of serious medical complications and death; however, most, eventually, will go home.
But what does the future hold for these babies? Many survivors grow up healthy; others aren’t so lucky. Even the best of care cannot always spare a premature baby from lasting disabilities such as cerebral palsy; intellectual disabilities and learning problems; chronic lung disease; and vision and hearing problems. Half of all neurological disabilities in children are related to premature birth.
Although providers have made tremendous advances in caring for babies born too small and too soon, we need to find out how to prevent preterm birth from happening in the first place. Despite decades of research, scientists have not yet developed effective ways to help prevent premature birth.
In fact, the rate of premature birth increased by more than 20 percent between 1990 and 2006. This trend and the dynamics underlying it underscore the critical importance and timeliness of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign. The rate fell to 12.3 percent in 2008 from 12.7 in 2007, a small but statistically significant decrease.
We throw these fundraisers with the high hopes of bringing both awareness and help to the families and children affected by prematurity. We really do have faith that with education and the funds the crisis of prematurity will be addressed. The March of Dimes and the committee of The Black Bib Affair believes that premature or not your baby can grow up to be fantastic. Here are a few examples of some famous and fantastic individuals who were born premature.
Sir Isaac Newton:
British mathematician, astronomer, and physicist. Born 1642. Estimated I.Q. 170. On Christmas Day in the house of Woolthrope, a three pound baby, newly born, rested on a pillow near his mother. He was alive but fighting for breath. Frightened old midwives went for the doctor remarking, “The baby’s as good as dead. It’s a miracle if he lives until we get back. Such a tiny mite, he is.” Later Isaac would remember fondly his mother’s remark, “You were so tiny that you might have been put into a quart mug!” This tiny mite came to be known as one of the greatest scientific geniuses of all time.
Ballerina. Born 1885 and lived 46 years.. As a premature infant she “. . . was so weak and puny that her parents had her baptized three days after birth. She spent most of her time in the next few months . . . wrapped in cotton wool.” She ultimately became and was proclaimed the worlds’s most famous ballerina.
Famous American singer Stevie Wonder became blind as an infant due to a condition known as retinopathy of prematurity. This is a common condition of preemies and takes place when the blood vessels in the back of the eyes are not fully developed and detach from the retinas. He has recorded more than 30 Top 10 hits, won 21 Grammy Awards (a record for a solo artist), also one for lifetime achievement, he has won an Oscar for Best Song and been inducted into both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters halls of fame. Opera star Luciano Pavarotti once referred to him in a concert as a “great, great musical genius”.
Physicist (Nobel Prize Winner 1921).. He contributed more than any other scientist to the 20th-century vision of physical reality. Albert Einstein, famous for his great contributions to math and science, was born premature in Germany in March of 1879. He was once quoted as saying, “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.” This rang true for Einstein, who experienced small beginnings in a time where neonatology was virtually non-existent, and went on to make outstanding achievements. He contributed more than any other scientist to the 20th-century vision of physical reality.
Writer. Born 1835. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, entered the world 2 months early, weighing only 5 pounds. It was 1835, a time when preemies could not be expected to live. In fact, his mother wrote, “A lady came in one day and said you don’t expect to raise that babe do you. I said I would try. But he was a poor looking object to raise.” Despite his premature birth, Mark Twain would live to become one of the most famous personalities in American literature.
French Poet and Novelist. Born Feb 1802. Died May 1885. Although there is no positive proof that Victor Hugo was born prematurely, it is likely judging from several descriptions of his birth and infancy. His mother described him as “no longer than a knife.” in fact, it is said that Victor’s coffin was ordered from the carpenter at the same time as his cradle. He later told Alexandre Dumas that even at 15 months he could not hold his head erect. Like many preemies, Hugo was determined to live and make his mark on society. He went on to become one of the greatest writers of all time as well as a major figure in French politics. His best-known works are the novels Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
Award winning actor, film director and activist. Born Feb 1927. He was born on the high seas. As he was premature when he was born, he was not originally expected to survive the boat ride. His early career started out in Broadway and broke into Hollywood in the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle. He was the first male black actor to be nominated for an Academy Award and first to have won an academy award for Best Actor. He has directed several film with the most successful being “Stir Crazy”.
German astronomer and mathematician. Born 1571. Estimated I.Q. 160. He had a bad start in life as he was a seven month baby and seven month babies were proverbially thought to be weak in body and mind. As he grew, however, his body became strong and his superior intellect evolved. He became the Principal Mathematician to the Emperor and a founder of modern astronomy and physics. He elucidated the Copernican concept of the Universe.
Napoleon Bonaparte: French Emperor
Voltaire: French writer and philosopher
Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Impressionist painter
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: German poet, dramatist and novelist
Thomas Hobbes: English philosopher
Michael J Fox: American actor
Jean-Jacques Rousseau: French writer and philosopher
John Keats: English Poet
Charles Darwin: British Naturalist
Pablo Picasso: Cubist Artist
Thomas Hardy: English novelist and poet
Franklin Roosevelt: 32 President of the United States
Johann Goethe: German writer and a pictorial artist
D H Lawrence: English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter
Thomas Hobbes: English philosopher
Sir Winston Churchill: British Statesman
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