Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Prematurity Awareness Day

My first son was born at 21w2d gestation.  He weighed 12 ounces and was 10 3/4 inches long.  He looked perfect.  He had eyelids, eyelashes, fingernails, toenails, beautiful translucent skin, and his heart was beating strong.  Because of his extreme prematurity the doctors did nothing to save our baby, but put him in our arms so we could cherish every second of his life.

I’m okay with it.  I believe he was meant to join our family for those few precious moments but that his spirit was too pure to need the mortal experience.  However, I believe that his death could have been avoided.

I know that my ignorance had a great deal to do with the outcome of my pregnancy, but my doctor’s clinic that refused to let me speak to the doctor and dismissed my pains and concerns as overreactions of a first-time pregnant woman also contributed to the ultimate loss of my son.  The nurses I spoke with had no faith in a woman’s ability to understand her own body, and pushed statistics and probabilities into my face like there were no exceptions.  Their refusal to let me speak to the doctor was obviously a protocol set in place to save the doctor from wasting time on petty complaints or unfounded concerns, but a woman should never be denied speaking to her doctor because the nurses don’t believe her story.  That clinic made me feel like an annoyance instead of a worthwhile individual.

Being led to believe I was experiencing bladder infection spasms and that I could not possibly be having labor pains this early, I did not seek other help or take action until it was too late.

I hope that women will learn enough about the risks of prematurity that they will be proactive during their pregnancy.  I hope that women will educate themselves enough to know when something is wrong.  And, I hope that nurses and doctors will learn to trust their patients when they come to them with real concerns.  I hope they will advocate for the baby and care enough to be too careful instead of not careful enough.

I believe that with awareness and education some baby’s lives can be saved.  Let’s spread the word and help more children survive in the future.

Visiting Dan's grave.

The girl’s giving kisses to their older brother.
Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.


  1. What an amazingly strong woman you are! I lost one of my twins at 24w2d after my water broke at 20w5d. I had an infection. I was at the doctor the day before and had mentioned a strong odor and discharge and she said it was normal in pregnancy. I believed her since this too was my first pregnancy! If only we both had known, maybe our boys would be here right now! ((Hugs)) Stay strong mama! your girls are beautiful!!

  2. i too went to the dr when i thought my water broke and something was wrong and was told that it was just discharge and nothing was wrong! After i was sent home i still knew this wasn’t right so a few days later i followed up again and was fortunate enough to get to the hospital in time because here my water had broke early (back when i tried to tell the hospital something was wrong). My son was born 25w5d on july 6th 2010 weighing in at 1lb 10 oz. we finally brought him home Oct 18th 2010. he now weighs 9lbs 6oz and is still on oxygen but doing amazing!

  3. With my 1st preemie I had been in the hospital at 22wks because my OB noticed me contracting at an appointment (props for her being proactive), At about 27 wks I called the oncall OB because I knew I had lost my mucus plug (not my first baby). I was blown off and having semi regular contractions but was told they were braxton hicks since they didn’t hurt. I was admitted at 31wks dilated 4 and 80% with a bulging sack. I delivered at 32 weeks, maybe I would have made ti longer had the on call OB showed any concern when I called. With my 2nd preemie the ONLY time I initiated contact with my doctor and a visit to triage was the day I delivered my daughter… I wasn’t having regular labor symptoms I just knew what i was experiencing was wrong and fortunately my OB told me not to take any chances and come in. They didn’t think i would deliver but kept me because i was contracting a lot I was only at a 3 but my water broke, there was blood and placenta. I could have had my baby at home that day if i hadn’t been taken seriously.

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