Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Preparing for the March of Dimes Walk for Babies

You may have read the other stories I shared about my passion for March of Dimes and the impact they have had on those around me.  If you haven't, please take a look and read the story below and consider how many people in your life may have been impacted for the better by March of Dimes and the work they do.

Giving Tuesday - Why March of Dimes Means So Much to Me
Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk
Nathan's Story - An Extreme Preemie
A Rare Story of Monoamniotic Twin Boys
My NICU Baby - Severe Chest Compression

Where are we at with our goals?
Our walk is on Saturday and we are still trying to reach our goals and do our best to "be the change you want to see in the world".  
My personal goal is $1000 and I have raised $805.  The Princess has a personal goal of $200 and has raised $124.  Our whole team has a goal of $3000 and has raised $2017.  If you have it in your heart to contribute to March of Dimes and help us reach our goals, you can donate directly to March of Dimes at any of the links above which is the secure March of Dimes website.  You can donate through PayPal or by credit card and I cannot view any of your payment information.  Your support is much appreciated!
So what have we done to raise these funds?

  • Emails, Phone Calls, and Personal Asks - friends, relatives, co-workers, business contacts
  • FaceBook Posts and Challenging our FaceBook friends to match certain amounts.

  • Bake Sale - 10 dozen shortbread cookies, 2 pounds of fudge, 20 dozen cupcakes, 2 dozen brioche and 16 loaves of artisan breads.

  • Soda Fountain
  • Change Collecting
  • Business Sponsorships
  • Silent Auction - my aunt donated a $120 package of grass-fed, antibiotic-free pork and chicken that we used for a silent auction at my work.

Why did we start our own team?
While it runs far back in our family to support March of Dimes, we didn't really become moved to greater action until my cousin was born at just 26 weeks gestation.  As an extreme preemie, his chances for survival at birth with medical intervention as it was at the time were about 10% and rose as each day passed.  This spunky little spitfire hit setback after setback and just kept fighting.  And fighting along with our family were the excellent doctors and nurses of the NICU he spent his first 6 months of life in.  After surgeries and struggles and oxygen tanks and nebulizers and all that happened in that first year, we were moved to action to support other families like ours who didn't have the support mechanisms, resources, and support systems available that they did.  In the months we spent at the hospital, we got to know other families and their babies and shared in their struggles, heartbreaks and triumphs as well.  So we started walking and fundraising with small goals and as part of other teams.  In the years that followed, the lives of others around us continued to be touched by prematurity, birth complications and all that comes with it.  We tried to connect with these families and help them navigate the complicated system and languages of the NICU world and our appreciation for the March of Dimes continued to grow.  
I was just a few months pregnant with my daughter walking for another March of Dimes team.  Six weeks before my due date I started running a fever, lost my mucus plug and started having contractions.  We headed to the hospital and by the time I was settled I had started to have breathing problems.  I spent a horrible week in the hospital fighting what ended up later being identified as CMV (cytomegalovirus).  I had symptoms similar to pneumonia and had contractions most of the week.  

Because of the stage of pregnancy I was in, I was borderline on whether or not they should give me anything to stop the contractions if I dilated any further.  An amniocentesis and 3D x-rays (which was fairly new at the time) determined that the baby's lungs were fully developed and it was decided to let labor progress naturally.  At the beginning of 35 weeks, the contractions ceased and I was well enough to go home.  A couple of hours before I was to be released the contractions resumed and dilation progressed.  Long story short, Ms. Independent arrived the next afternoon.  While we were separated initially due to fears of me transmitting whatever I had (test results had not been successful in identifying what I had yet), she was able to go to the normal nursery rather than NICU.  She did have to be drip-tube fed for the first week because she had no instinct to suck and she was slightly jaundiced but was able to come home with a "glow light" and just go in for testing every day.  
Both of these amazing kids turned out to be perfectly healthy, smart-as-a-whip kids and inspired us to start our own family team because we had such a network of supporters and those with premature babies who wanted to take part.  Both have taken part in the walk since they were riding along in strollers and look forward to it each year.

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