MOMS Orange County CEO, Pamela Pimentel, shares her own personal encounter with premature birth and how the experience directly affects her work to improve the birth outcomes of babies in Orange County.

My 2nd child, Annemarie, was born 10 weeks before her expected due date.  After being introduced to this world prematurely at just 30 weeks, Anne Marie spent the next 4 weeks in the hospital in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).  Everyday, I would look through that glass at my tiny child, my own flesh and blood, having to rely on machines for survival.  It was one of the most heart-wrenching experiences I’ve ever had to face.  Here I was, a Registered Nurse with professional experience in the NICU, surrounded by the love and support of my family and friends, yet I felt very much alone and utterly helpless as a mother of a very sick baby.

Having gone through the experience of having a baby be born sick and being able to truly understand the trauma and emotional burden on a family was the final push for me and what really sealed my drive and passion.   I vividly remember the devastation, the fear of not just my own mortality but the fears of its impact to my family, a fear of the unknown and the haunting anxiety wondering what the long-term effects of a sick child might be.

Truly, it was then that I thought, “If my work can help prevent even one baby from being born sick and prevent the subsequent heartache and trauma on a family, I can go home happy.”  To this day, what drives me is the deep and abiding belief that a baby born sick can unearth a lifetime of struggle, but when a baby is born healthy—all good things in life are possible.

Pam’s daughter, Annemarie, recently graduated from University of San Francisco with her Bachelors Degree in Nursing and is currently a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurse at UC Irvine Medical Center – the very same hospital she spent her first weeks of life years ago.

Do you have a personal story to share about your encounter with preterm labor/premature birth?  Click here to share with us.