Premature babies have immature immune systems leaving them at risk for complications. In this edition of Child Wellness Wednesday, Marcie Fraser explains why they can be fatal.
"I am 24 years old I had to plan my sons funeral and I had to bury him," said Andreana Loiselle.
It's been more than one month since Loiselle lost her son Liam. She knew when she delivered him 12.5 weeks early, there were going to be challenges.
She said, "He was so tiny at first and I was afraid for him, but I was so proud of him. He was fighting, he was fighting hard."
He weighed 2 pounds and 3.9 ounces. Liam was placed on oxygen and considered stable.
"He was very alert and he would look around and try to lift his head up to look at us," remembered Loiselle.
For the next 22 days, Liam fought for his life. However, his health became critical, and he developed an infection that required emergency surgery.
"By the time he came out of surgery, the surgeon came out and told us Liam was not going to make it, and you need to think of taking him off of life support," recalled Loiselle.
Liam died of necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC. It is a disease of the bowels and intestines. Half of those infants who contract it, do not survive.
Loiselle said, "I see a lot of premature parents who say I have never heard of NEC until my child was dying from it and and that is what I want to change."
She's trying to increase the awareness of NEC by circulating a petition. Loiselle believes it's the first step in getting an official NEC awareness ribbon. She is also working on a foundation where people can go to receive information and support.
"In my lifetime I would like to make huge strides for this because there is such a disease that is so common in pre-term infants and and you wouldn't know it," she added.
If you have any concerns or questions about NEC, be sure to talk to your doctor immediately. To sign her petition, visit www.change.org.