Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The tiniest bundle of joy

The survival of this girl is a miracle to me.

Her parents named her Amillia - which means resilient in Latin, a fighter and hardworking - to reflect her survival against the odds.

She weighed 10 ounces (284 grams) at birth, one month earlier than the date considered viable for most babies, at just 21 weeks and six days gestation. Babies under 14 ounces were thought to stand no chance of survival. Amillia spent a little under 22 weeks in her mother's womb, a world record according to the University of Iowa which keeps track of premature babies born throughout the world. Babies who go to full term are born at 37 to 40 weeks. Initially, doctors held little hope for her survival. She measured just 9.5in (241mm), about the length of a ballpoint pen. Amillia was breathing without assistance and even made several attempts to cry when she emerged.

For a short video clip, click on Watch Amillia at 22 weeks at this link (same as above).

She was supposed to go home yesterday but her doctors are said to worry about possible infections and say they want to keep her a little longer in the hospital. "She's like a real baby now," her mother, 37-year-old teacher Sonja Taylor, told the Miami Herald. "Now I can feel her when I hold her."

Against all odds

Amillia Taylor shouldn't be alive. She was born at less than 22 weeks - in the US, where babies aren't considered 'viable' until 23 weeks. But her desperate mother lied to doctors about how far gone she was, and Amillia is now the most premature baby to have ever survived. Aida Edemariam reports on her extraordinary story and asks: should we be saving such tiny babies? ... You hope everything will turn out fine, of course you do: but you already know you love this baby anyway, and you know that nothing is going to change that. Not a doctor's grim predictions today; not a teacher's pessimistic evaluation tomorrow; not the fact that your friends' babies can do more, and earlier. You have that one, precious person and the world will be brighter and better because of it. ...
A thoughtful article

My best wishes go out to this little and very brave creature. I sincerely hope she continues to beat the odds.

Previous tiny babies:

The smallest on record in 2003 was a US baby who weighed just 11 ounces at birth. Twenty years ago, approximately 20% of babies weighing less than 1,000 grammes (2lb 2oz) at birth survived, compared with 80% today.

Cheney: US will leave Iraq with honour

"We want to complete the mission, we want to get it right and then we want to come home with honour," Mr Cheney said, in a thundering speech that may have been aimed in part at critics of US policy within Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government.

John F. Kennedy said the same thing about the war on Vietnam, another undeclared war of aggression the USA waged.

Was this scene in Saigon April 1975 an example of "leaving with honour"?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins, an American journalist whose articles I always read with great pleasure even when the topics were depressing, has passed away. She had a powerful pen and a big heart that shone right through the words.

... Boy, will we miss Molly Ivins, the writer and happy agitator who succumbed Wednesday [Jan 31, 2007] to cancer -- a disease, she said, not sparing herself from her own lashing wit, that "can kill you, but it doesn't make you a better person." Yes, we will remember her for being raucously funny, always at the expense of the wealthy, the powerful or the Texas Legislature.

But because she made you laugh and broke all the rules of polite commentary ... Molly made you forget how deadly serious she was about politics, democracy and social justice. ...

[Molly Ivins:] "Keep fighting for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce."

An archive of articles she wrote between April 2000 and January 2007 can be found here.

Her memorial site is here.

We will miss you Molly. Rest in peace.