One in eight babies in the U.S. is born prematurely. In the best case scenarios, these tiny infants grow up to live healthy lives, and maybe even become famous. Stevie Wonder, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton were all born pre-term.
But in the worst case scenarios, their early days are defined less by potential future accomplishments than by the all-out struggle to hold onto life.
We talk with two people intimately acquainted with pre-term babies, and the tough questions and decisions that only doctors and parents in their positions have to face.
Pediatrician Dr. Sarah Sheldon is the mother of two boys, one born ten weeks early at only thirty weeks, the other born at thirty-three weeks. They are now five and three years old. And Madge Buus-Frank is a nurse practitioner who works with very pre-term babies. She’s also written about the limits of early viability in babies born ahead of schedule.