In October 2015, my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child. In January 2016 we found out that our bundle of joy was a sweet baby boy! Oh how we were thrilled, as most first time parents are.
However, our excitement quickly turned to fear. In February 2016, I was rushed to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS due to extremely high blood pressure. The medical team decided that it would be best to monitor me until I reached 36 weeks gestation. Once again, life took a turn, my health started to rapidly decline and within 48 hours I was rushed into the OR for an emergency C-Section. At 12:00 p.m. on February 22, 2016, a miracle was born. Jordan Kinglsey Sanders entered this world at 25 weeks + 1 day weighing a whopping 1 lb 1 oz.
Jordan was immediately rushed to the NICU where he would spend the next 8 months of his precious life. My entire world was flipped upside down. I was thankful to God for sparing my life, but how could I rejoice when my son was fighting for his? Our NICU journey was definitely a rollercoaster ride; up and down. Unfortunately, that ride came to an earthly end on October 30, 2016 at 5:07 a.m. An Earthly end, yes…but a Heavenly beginning. As I held my sweet boy while the medical team unplugged all the machines, I imagined Jordan running into the arms of our Heavenly Father---perfectly healed.
For the second year in a row, the U.S. preterm birth rate increased—racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities within that rate got worse. Premature birth is the leading cause of death in children under 5 worldwide. On a more personal level, the preterm birth rate among black women in the state of Mississippi is 46% higher than the rate among all other women. For this reason, I have made a personal decision to educate others on prematurity and life in the NICU. Prematurity is a complex issue, but together we can make strides towards healthy pregnancies.
All my love,
NaToya Sanders, Mom of a Miracle