Friday, November 9, 2012
#GivingTuesday - Why March of Dimes Means So Much to Me
http://wh.gov/klxh before November 18. More importantly, to donate to the March of Dimes and provide needed research, education, equipment and help for premature babies, visit the March of Dimes.
My personal journey with the March of Dimes began before my own children were born. My family has that sort of overlap in generations that happens when there are multiple generations of an oldest who is 18 years older than the youngest sibling. So I was 22 years old when my aunt had her second child at age 42. It was a high-risk pregnancy from the beginning. In fact, she was never supposed to be able to conceive in the first place following a traumatic bus accident at age 8, let alone conceive 3 times. The first ended in an early miscarriage. The second was within months of the first and was a totally healthy pregnancy from beginning to end. Although her first son was born 5 weeks early, he was perfectly healthy. The third pregnancy ended with severe pre-eclampsia at week 26 and they had to take the baby when she began to have a series of mini-strokes.
This is our first miracle baby - tiny little "A" at 26 weeks old. Eyes and lungs not fully developed. Measuring 12 inches long exactly. Weighing in at just 1 pound 7 ounces. Literally, the size of a medium banana. That is his daddy's hand. His skin was so fragile and translucent. You could see the veins and organs and he cringed at touch even as he searched for the sounds of familiar voices and eventually looked for familiar faces. He was given a 10% chance of survival at birth.
The entire extended family took turns during his six months in the NICU - taking care of his big brother so his mom and dad could be with him as much as possible, and once he was stable enough to be held, taking shifts in the NICU holding him. You see, the most amazing things happened physically with his tiny little body when he was held - his heart rate dropped, his oxygen levels improved, his frantic flailing and pulling at his wires stopped. He had several surgeries on his eyes and hernias, was revived countless times (you see he got tired of being poked and prodded and would simply hold his breath until he turned blue when anyone in a lab coat came near and he became stressed), and finally reached 5 tiny pounds and was able to come home at 6 months old on oxygen with a heart monitor and an arsenal of steroid inhalers to help his little lungs. Now, he is a perfectly healthy middle-schooler who is smart as a whip and has that go-getter attitude that helped him meet every challenge along the way - in large part due to the resources March of Dimes made available to our family and the hospital to help meet his needs.
Then along came my son and again, we faced difficulties at delivery. He was so broad-shouldered that he got stuck on my pelvic bone. I struggled a long time and finally they gave the ultimatum that they were going for a C-section and this momma gritted her teeth and made it happen, lol. But when he came out and they laid him on my chest I knew something wasn't right. He was breathing but he was not breathing in a deep and normal way - he was doing a shallow pant that I just knew wasn't right. I insisted they take him and that he wasn't breathing right and when they checked him over, they called for the NICU nurses to come take him as they were sure he was only 35 weeks even though we were 100% that he was a full 38 weeks. (Below he is looking for me and listening to my voice while the nurses are hooking him up - they put on oxygen mask on right after this picture was taken.)
Posted by April S.