A Note from the ICEA President | Sharing Gratitude

The many of us from the Board of Directors met in person for the very first time when we got together on October 27th for an in person strategic planning meeting. The excitement of finally getting to hug, talk in person, and socialize was incredible. We all are dedicated to serving those certifying through ICEA.

After strategic planning came the fun (and a couple of challenges) of rolling out the 2022 Virtual Conference. We all felt like it was very successful. Great topics and education. If you haven’t already registered you can do so here register. You have until the end of December to view all the sessions. By viewing all sessions you will meet your requirement for re-certification. If you have any additional questions about the conference, please email info@icea.org for clarification or information.

We hope you were able to attend the Annual Meeting where we went over the successes of 2022 and future plans. As always, we encourage you to be more involved in ICEA by serving on committees. The more people involved the greater perspective we have to help serve your needs.

As was announced at the Annual Meeting, we have had a small change to the Board for the 2023 term. Dena Marchiony stepped down as Vice President for personal reasons. This has left us without an incoming President. We voted to have a suspension of the Bylaws and I will remain as President while we are adjusting board positions to fill that spot.

Moving away from organizational issues, I want to focus on the November health awareness. In November we recognize prematurity and the impact it has on a family. An early and likely fragile baby puts a huge stress on a family. The stress is mental, emotional, an financial. Families find themselves worried about baby and possibly mom/parent depending on the circumstances. There can be guilt (unwarranted but still there) in regards to the reasons for the prematurity. And there is a huge financial toll.

I have been impacted by prematurity several times with family members. My dad had an incredible story being born at about 30 weeks in 1945. I say about 30 weeks because back then they didn’t use weeks to date a pregnancy. My grandma didn’t actually know how far along she was, just that she kept telling her doctor there were two but he wouldn’t believe her. Well much to his surprise, my dad and his twin were born well before their due date. My dad survived against all odds and without very good care for premature babies. His brother did not, he died within hours of their birth. My dad had some medical issues as a result of his prematurity but lived life full and left a legacy in our area. My grandma always held a little sorrow over the loss of his twin.

In 1998, 53 years later, my niece was born at 29 weeks. My sister had HELLP Syndrome and stayed on bedrest from 25-29 weeks until delivery was the only option. At that time, I was not working in this field and didn’t really understand the impact on her. But I know now that is was very hard being in the hospital for so long and then going home without her baby. Luckily little Tori was discharged a couple weeks ahead of her due date. The medical care available in the late 90’s far exceeded that which was available in the 1940’s. Again, in 2010, my family benefitted from incredible medical advances when my nephew was born at about 25 weeks gestation. Again, I don’t know an exact gestational age since he is adopted and the birth mom didn’t know when she was due. He had a harder time developing NEC but it was likely less severe due to being fed pasteurized donor human milk.

With these family members as part of my story, I have worked to be an advocate for care for premature and fragile babies. I have helped start a milk bank in my area and work on committees to provide better care for these babies. I encourage you to find little ways to help support families dealing with prematurity.

As we enter into the holiday season, I want share my gratitude of being a part of ICEA. The dedicated and committed members, certified professionals, Board Members, and staff at IMI continue to enrich my life.

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