Since the mid-90’s, our newest minority consists of the tiniest humans, born weighing less than two pounds. This award-winning 43 minute film describes the psycho-social impact of such a birth upon the family unit. We seek to explore their world and answer these questions: Who are they? Why does this happen? What challenges do they face after long term hospitalization? Will these children be a burden on society?
Watch the trailer: [flv:http://candycampbell.com/wp-content/uploads/mpbtrailer.flv 360 280]
This is a highly personal film, and it begs as many questions as it answers. It is emotional. It is intimate. Its style is human revelation, told subjectively rather than objectively, by parents and the medical experts who care for these newborns. It is more a diary than an essay, more a drama than investigative journalism. It is not about ‘litter births’, or babies from ‘druggie’ moms, or babies born with life-threatening anomalies. It’s about the average person who does everything right and still begets a severely premature child. Overall, stories of fear, pain and sacrifice give over to love, joy and hope.
Directed by Candy Campbell (read more about Candy), the fine cut received a Finalist award in the category of Children’s Health from the prestigious International Medical Media Awards, “The Freddies” in 2003.
Available now in closed-captioned video streaming, and dvd for only $19.95.
A portion of all profits will go to our favorite baby-friendly
charity, the March of Dimes.
[Scroll down for reviews]
ALSO~ Check out the BLOG, The Preemie Post, featuring info and podcasts especially for families and friends who have been through the roller-coaster of emotions that is the NICU; with parents,neonatologists and other medical professionals discussing the latest trends in neonatal care.
$1 of the sale of every film will go to the March of Dimes in grateful acknowledgment their work with families of premature babies.
Candy Campbell is pleased to be a spokesperson for the March of Dimes, California.
Ellen Tauscher, previous Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs (then US Representative from CA 10th District whose prematurely born daughter was cared for by Candy in the NICU): “I am forever grateful to the many medical professionals and technicians who provided state of the art care and heartfelt support to us in Katherine’s earliest days and weeks… Congratulations on your excellent film.”
John Rothmann, KGO Talk Radio host interviewed nurse/filmmaker/actress Candy Campbell on his show and referred to “Micropremature Babies: How Low Can You Go?”as a “stunning and important work.”
Advances In Neonatal Care states, “… an excellent source for parents to find hope in shared experiences. By watching this film, parents new to dealing with prematurity could encounter a little less fear in the whirlwind of decisions and procedures. Hearing that at least one family struggled to bond through the tangle of wires and tubes, or another mother suffered by not being able to hold the child separated from her womb too soon, or a couple felt confusion arriving home with no child in arms, new parents could anticipate and perhaps better weather the journey of assisting their premature infants to their best possible future.”
Neonatal Network writes, “ This touching video…is essential for any health care provider who is new to the field of neonatology.“
Craig Issod, Easter Seals Bay Area , VP External Affairs writes: “On behalf of the thousands of people who receive Easter Seals services, thank you for your great work on “Micropremature Babies: How Low Can You Go?” You have done a great service by telling stories of hope and promise. Thank you again for your efforts.”
Hester Schell, author of Casting Revealed, says: “Candy brings deep integrity and commitment to everything she does. Her film, HOW LOW CAN YOU GO, about micropremature births, is a must see for anyone interested in life choices, anyone needing solace who has been through this experience.”
Dr. Jon McNeff, Senior Pastor of NorthCreek Church (Walnut Creek, CA) writes: “….this film has the potential to bring encouragement and hope to parents who experience a premature birth as well as give them a reliable sense of what is happening. It is also an incredible visual “thank you ” to the medical professionals who work tirelessly to bring the fruits of research and technology together to work for the preservation of these lives. I was deeply moved to see the God given miracle of birth portrayed in such a thoughtful and gentle way. Each of the little ones you featured is much more than ‘potential life.’ Thank you so much for giving them a voice.”
Carol Geiser, BSN, RN, Maternal-Child Educator, says, “This film is very sensitive to the premature baby’s side of the story, as well as what the parents go through in the weeks and months after birth, watching their little babies go through so much just to survive. Mothers considering assisted fertilization techniques, with the inherent risks of multiple gestation, should watch this film prior to conception techniques to encourage more empathetic decisions regarding the risks of premature delivery when carrying multiples.”
Don Schwartz, Cinesource Magazine writes,“The message is clear: loving care makes the biggest difference which, of course, applies to all children. Such care was also evident in making the film.”
Michael Brown, award-winning Filmmaker & Director, says, “What’s amazing to me, is the details are already in place – perfectly formed hands – wow! Very well done. Kudos!”
Thanks to our friends at Cinesource ! Check them out: http://cinesourcemagazine.com
Overlooked & Underrated Docs & Features
Micropremature Babies: How Low Can You Go?
Get out your handkerchiefs. Produced and directed by San Francisco Bay Area writer/actress/teacher Candace Campbell, “Micropremature Babies” introduces us to the world of premature births, as of circa 2003. Campbell interviews mothers, parents and healthcare professionals about their experience of taking care of newborns, starting with those born after 24 weeks of gestation.
Yes, you’ll need those handkerchiefs. The parents relate the rainbow of emotions that arise in response to pre-term birth – the pain, fear, anger, and joy. We learn about survival rates – starting with the 24 week birth and increasing with every additional week of gestation – and the health risks and challenges survivors and their caregivers face. We learn about the improvements in technology that enable improving survival rates. And we see happy, loving children who would not be here had it not been for that technology and for…well…., obviously there are countless parameters that effect both survival rates and the subsequent health of survivors. One of the social workers interviewed commented to the effect that, in her opinion, the most significant factor in survival and optimum health has to do with the environment the child finds at home. One of the physicians interviewed seconded that thought. The message is clear, loving care makes the biggest difference which, of course, applies to all children.
D. Schwartz October 21, 2010
from Advances in Neonatal Care-10(2):100-102, April 2010. doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e3181d5c393
Video Review- Micropremature Babies- How Low Can You Go?
by Deborah Volat, BSN, CNM
Intimate and candid, the video Micropremature Babies—How Low Can You Go? created, directed, and produced by NICU nurse Candy Campbell brings parents and healthcare providers inside the anguish and triumph experienced by many families of extremely premature and very low birth-weight (1500 g) babies. The audience gains some perspective into what is personally involved in sustaining lives that would not endure without technological assistance. The film shows parents who were grateful for the technology, and others who felt their hopes for a “normal” child had been deflated. Always, it seemed,these parents were fighting for tentative outcomes and were forced to redefine their expectations.
The human instinct to protect and nurture is underscored as the film follows several families who recount fighting for survival of their little ones. We can all share, on some level, the urgency and desire to persist through the shock and fear, sacrificing, praying, and the urge to do everything to hold longer the littlelife these parents have promised to protect. In spite of anger, feeling doubt, guilt, and “beat down,” these“ parents tell of their vigilance through the tremendous crisis of a premature birth. New for modern parents is the multitude of medical options and related consequences that must often be managed for the lifetime of the child. Initially, some of the featured parents are still expecting their child to be “fixed.” But whether cerebral palsy, blindness, or simply delayed speech, there are inevitable hurdles that this film can aid parents of premature babies to navigate. In the film, we hear from doctors, social workers, and nurses who work with these families. Neonatologists from renowned medical centers, such as Alta Bates in Berkeley and the University of California San Francisco, give light to the medical realities. Like parents, they are persistent but not always as optimistic. One neonatologist reminds us to recognize the spiritual nature of the relationships we have to these fragile lives. Another encourages parents to ask their physicians specific questions about the problems their babies will have, the first hint into the realities of families not interviewed or shown. A social worker discusses that technology can only bring these babies so far. It is the environment that often makes all the difference for these children, she asserts. Does every child who receives life-saving interventions receive the same care in the months and years following their birth? The video did not address this, and I was left wondering. I was left with other questions as well.
This video is an excellent source for parents to find hope in shared experiences. By watching this film, parents new to dealing with prematurity could encounter a little less fear in the whirlwind of decisions and procedures. Hearing that at least one family struggled to bond through the tangle of wires and tubes, or another mother suffered by not being able to hold the child separated from her womb too soon, or a couple felt confusion arriving home with no child in arms, new parents could anticipate and perhaps better weather the journey of assisting their premature infants to their best possible future.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ from Neonatal Network, Sept-Oct. 2009, Vol 28 (5)
Reviewed by: Amanda N. Ranft, MSN, ARNP, RNC-NIC This touching video chronicles the NICU journey of micropremature babies (from the parents’ perspective) as they struggle to survive and thrive from birth to discharge and beyond. Filmed in the early 2000’s, there are some outdated developmental care practices and equipment, however, it does not detract from the information provided. This video is essential for any professional health care provider who is new to the field of neonatology. It is appropriate for novice physicians, nurses, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, and other staff who will be charged with the care and support of micropreemies and their families. Follow the journey of five families as they discuss multiple hurdles they overcame as a family unit while their micropreemies were cared for in the NICU. Mothers freely discuss how the signs and symptoms of premature labor differ significantly from labor at full term, and neonatologists provide insight into the possible causes for the onset of premature labor. The mothers also describe common treatments for the cessation of premature labor and their significant side effects.
Candid discussions are held regarding the emotions felt by parents as they realized they were facing the premature delivery of their children. Overwhelming shock, guilt, anger, fear, and blame were common themes among the mothers. Fathers struggled with the possibility of losing not only their child, but also their life partner. As the imminent delivery occurs, parents speak to the despair of not being able to immediately see or hold their newborn infants. They go on to describe the initial shock felt upon entering the NICU environment and seeing their tiny children with many tubes protruding from their bodies.
Parents then discuss issues regarding fear for the children’s survival and candidly admit there are times they detached from, or did not bond with, their children as a means of self preservation. Additionally, parents voice concerns regarding the stress and strain the premature delivery placed on their marriages and the feeling of despair when returning to their “empty” home.
Once the babies have persevered through the NICU stay, challenges present in the discharge home and continued follow-up care for micropreemies. Parents speak to feelings of concern when others are not able to relate to their special babies and celebrate their unique successes. Mothers also admit feeling a twinge of jealousy toward others for having had healthy babies. Parents discuss their emotions when coming to terms with the fact that NICU graduates have unique needs for follow-up, home equipment, and training, the potential for multiple hospital readmissions throughout early childhood, and delayed developmental milestones with which they need to cope.
In addition to the gripping stories of the families, neonatal staff also provide a historical perspective on the advances in the field of neonatology that have contributed to the survival of much smaller, earlier infants. Statistical data on long-term survival rates are also presented. The ethical dilemmas presented by delivery of micropreemies and advances in fertility treatments, such as multiple implantation to “guarantee” success, are also discussed.
Join these NICU graduates, families, and staff as they chronicle their unique journeys. Struggle with the families and their children as they turn tragedy into triumph.
The Production Team
DP: Steve Bolter has a degree in photography and many years experience as a freelance videographer and photographer for corporate and nonprofit groups worldwide doing promotional, educational and commercial shoots. He works as a freelance video editor when he isn’t globetrotting or rock climbing with his wife, Cindy, and their two children.
Final Editor: Jonathan Parra has been editing film and video professionally the past ten years. He recorded sound for two years prior to making the switch to picture editing. He is San Francisco’s Film Arts Foundation Avid technician and tutor. His editing credits span a range of projects from narratives, documentaries, shorts, features, independents, and corporate projects. He also Directs and is currently working on a music video for an emerging rock group. He has a degree in Political Science from North Carolina State University.
Titles: Greg Solis, author and editor extraordinaire. Check out his website, you sci-fi fans: http://www.hadrianpublishing.com
Sound Editor/Composer: Patrick Bowsher, composer, sound designer,and guitarist, has degrees in Music Composition, Performance and Audio Engineering. He works as composer and sound designer at Film Arts Foundation in San Francisco. He has composed, orchestrated and performed scores for film, TV and theatrical venues worldwide.