Janelle Green was born prematurely at 32 weeks at four pounds and five ounces. As an adult, Green is an advocate for babies born prematurely.
Green, an instructor in the English department, recently partook in the annual March of Dimes celebration of World Premature Day at the University of Alabama at Birmingham hospital on Nov. 17.
March of Dimes is an organization created in 2007 in order to further research on the causes of premature births, miscarriages and other
There is a branch of the organization in each state working under the national organization.
The causes of premature birth are still greatly unknown. According to Green, many people attribute it to women smoking or drinking during pregnancy. They can still cause premature birth, but most women who have premature births do not drink or smoke.
“My mom is the poster child for doing everything right that you’re supposed to do," Green said. "She’s a very straight and narrow person and yet here I was."
Green reached out to March of Dimes Alabama chapter on Facebook looking for ways to get involved.
Green painted four tapestries that were raffled off to raise money for the research that March of Dimes conducts. She also made 106 poetry broadsides for each family who participated. Poetry broadsides are typically a 4 x 6 card of a photograph with a poem overlaying it.
“It was fun, it made
As a part of the event, Green spent time with women in the UAB Women & Infants center where the March of Dimes Alabama chapter is based out of.
Green said it was a wonderful and humbling experience getting to interact with the women whose children were in the neonatal intensive care unit. Green said she loved the event and is looking forward to it next year.
According to March of Dimes, over 500,000 babies are born every year either prematurely or with some other sort of birth defect. The March of Dimes gave Alabama an F on its most recent report card in terms of how many babies are born prematurely.
Another aspect of premature birth that motivated Green to get involved with the program was a recognition of misunderstanding and misperceptions on the issue. According to Green, many people think that preemies are more prone to cognitive issues which
Green said there was a big stigma that is still present today that is associated with preemies.
Green grew up with her cousin who was also born prematurely. Green's cousin William was born around the 28 to 29 week mark at about one pound. They didn’t have the same perspective as a preemie that the stigma would indicate.
“If he was allergic to everything in the yard, I was allergic to half. He would come back with a rash and I would come back covered in hives, Green said. "But we were normal kids, we didn’t care, we didn’t notice."
Green attributed a lot of her positive upbringing to her supportive and loving parents.
“Some preemies have it rough, I didn’t have it rough," Green said. "My parents were so loving and so kind and so patient with me. I was always the smallest kid at least up until like nine, but I was a normal kid."
Green said she was always a little smaller than most kids her age, but that did not stop her from doing things that kids her age were doing. Green loved softball as a kid and ended up being an all-state pitcher in high school.
Green played softball her first year at Auburn. She has found a new hobby in kickboxing and said she thinks it is a quicker and easier way than
“We could never compare being born prematurely to a child being born with