March For Babies 2014 with #TeamKmart

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kmart. I received product samples and a travel stipend to attend an event, and I received a promotional item to thank me for participating and a donation was made on my behalf to March of Dimes.

March of Dimes March for Babies with #TeamKmart Los Angeles 2014

It was almost eight and a half years ago that I turned a corner in a hospital hallway just in time to see a nurse picking up my very blue child and whisking her away to the Level 3 NICU. I hadn’t been a mother more than a couple of hours at that point and had just finished checking in on Zadey’s birth-Mom before going back to the nursery to be with my brand new baby girl.

I have never felt that kind of panic before.

Zadey’s NICU story is one that I have told. She was born at 35 weeks on September 18, 2005 and stayed for 3 weeks in the NICU before she was released to come home from the hospital on October 7, 2005. To this day, that was the longest three weeks of my life. It was an emotional roller coaster. We had moments of wondering if Zadey would make it through and we had doctors and nurses that were less than sympathetic and supportive.

March for Babies #TeamKmart NICU Baby

By the time Zadey was clear, out of the woods, and on her way home there were two things I knew for sure — I never wanted to repeat the NICU experience and I wanted to do more to help the babies that I was leaving behind, still in the NICU.

In 2012 I became pregnant with my amazing twin boys and discovered at 17 weeks along that I was having two babies, not one, and they were both boys! Immediately I began to research twins and delivery. My boys were my first pregnancy and if there was one thing that was for sure, I did not want to repeat my NICU experience with Zadey.

I still remember, very clearly, at my first “high risk” appointment after finding out I’m having twins telling my doctor, “I want to make it to 38 weeks.” She responded, “If you make it to 38 weeks and have a natural delivery, we’ll throw a party in your honor.”

I was discouraged, but as my pregnancy progressed things were going well for me. I was healthy, active, and somehow managed to escape the bed rest that so many twin moms find themselves with. That was until I developed a blood clot in my lungs at 33 weeks, after having been sick with bronchitis and hospitalized.

To properly be treated for my blood clot, the boys were served an eviction notice and I had a c-section at 35 weeks on September 19, 2012. I could not have been more devastated about my early delivery and my concern grew with the huge NICU teams that were in my delivery room. I prayed and begged, please don’t let me go through this again.

And, I did. My boys spent only 1 week in the NICU and I was only in the hospital with them for 4 days. The day I was discharged I grabbed my belongings from my hospital room, visited the NICU to kiss my boys, and headed downstairs to meet my sister who was taking me home. By the time I reached the front of the hospital I was in uncontrollable tears.

March for Babies #TeamKmart NICU Twins

It was happening, all over again. Here I was, recovering from a c-section, standing in front of the hospital crying because I was leaving empty handed. Left behind were my two beautiful baby boys.

What makes this so difficult is that I am not alone with my NICU stories. In the United States, 1 in 9 babies is born prematurely; that’s more than half a million babies each year in the United States alone!

And, behind every single baby born is the March of Dimes. Premature and healthy babies are all supported by the work, outreach, and research of the March of Dimes.

Though my stories are difficult for me to tell, I sit here today, writing to you, with three healthy and happy children. All of whom have no lasting effects from being born too soon. But, that’s not everyone’s story and knowing that keeps me quite humble.

There is one story, in particular, that I first heard about a few years ago. I hadn’t been a mother very long when a friend on Facebook shared a beautiful story about Maddie Spohr written by her mother, Heather, on her blog The Spohrs Are Multiplying. I read that first post about Maddie and immediately knew I had to catch up on her story. I sat in front of the computer for hours that night, reading every post written about Maddie while silently crying, thankful, and wishing I could reach out and hug Heather.

March of Dimes March for Babies & KMart

March of Dimes March for Babies with #TeamKmart Los Angeles 2014

The purpose of The March of Dimes is to support all pregnancies, mothers, babies, and bring those babies full-term. They do this in many ways, but the money raised at March for Babies supports programs in local communities that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies. And it funds research to find answers to the problems that threaten our babies.

Kmart, the number one corporate supporter of the March of Dimes Foundation, has launched its unprecedented fourth decade of fundraising support for the cause, kicking off its 2014 campaign with new ways to donate, and rewards for giving for Shop Your Way members.

In the last 30 years, Kmart has raised $114 million to help advance the critical work being done by the March of Dimes on behalf of newborns. And, because of their support and my own personal experiences, I could not have been more honored or more proud to join them at this years’ March for Babies in Los Angeles.

March of Dimes March for Babies with #TeamKmart Los Angeles 2014

I also had the opportunity to meet Hilary Duff, the National Spokesperson for March of Dimes.

March of Dimes March for Babies with #TeamKmart Los Angeles 2014

After the opening ceremony, which included a fly-over from the Los Angeles county fire department, the walk began. And, as I stood to the side and watched everyone beginning the descent for the 3 mile walk to support babies is when I began to see the stories. Stories that people don’t have to tell while at the March for Babies. They are written on their banners and across their shirts as they come together to walk with friends and family to celebrate or honor their own stories of survival and loss.

March of Dimes March for March for Babies with #TeamKmart Los Angeles 2014

March of Dimes March for March for Babies with #TeamKmart Los Angeles 2014

March of Dimes March for March for Babies with #TeamKmart Los Angeles 2014

March of Dimes March for March for Babies with #TeamKmart Los Angeles 2014

Get Involved and Support the March of Dimes

March of Dimes March for March for Babies with #TeamKmart Los Angeles 2014

With statistics like 1 in 9 babies is born prematurely it is likely that you or someone you know has had a baby born too soon. This is something that effects us all.

Kmart understands the responsibility we have to our babies by their continuous support of the March of Dimes, and it’s is time that I ask you for your support, too.

Now through June 21, 2014, donors can contribute in-store at any Kmart and online at the Kmart March of Dimes page, with 100 percent of funds raised benefiting the March of Dimes.

This year, Kmart rewards its Shop Your Way members who donate in-store with a coupon for five percent back in points on their next qualifying in-store or online merchandise purchase. Also new this year, Kmart introduced a collectible puppy figurine, available in-store or online for just $5, with $1 from each sale benefiting the March of Dimes.

I can promise you this… my participation in this years’ March for Babies event has renewed my commitment to support other NICU parents and to remember all those babies I left behind, still struggling, while I took home my healthy babies. Please, get involved and support Kmart in their effort to support the March of Dimes and their commitment to ensuring healthy full-term pregnancies.


  1. says

    At least your babies came home with you. So many babies born prematurely don’t make it home. I am very happy you are supporting this very worthy cause!!

  2. says

    I know that feeling of heart break so well. My middle son was in NICU for a few weeks when he was born and had several trips back to the hospital for his 3 months of life. I love march of Dimes!

  3. says

    What an amazing cause, love that so many rally behind it! I consider myself lucky for going home with my twins, when so many other friends and parents of multiples didn’t. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking that would be!

  4. says

    Thank you for sharing your story! Your daughter Zadey has the same birthday as mine. I never had to experience having my babies born several weeks early but I can only imagine what families goes through when something like that happens. March of Dimes is a great cause!

  5. says

    The picture of your Zadey reminds me of my little who had to spend a week in the NICU. She had so much against her it was so sad to see her hooked up to tons of stuff. She was a month early.

  6. Daisy says

    Thank goodness for the March for Babies! It’s such a great cause. One of my best friends raises money for them and it’s a cause that is close to our hearts.

  7. Shauna says

    What a great cause.. kudos to you for being a part of it. I am sure it felt great to be a part of something that is doing something to make a difference.

  8. says

    My little niece recently graduated from the NICU after 71 days. It is heartbreaking and frightening for the family. Luckily my niece had amazing doctors, supportive nurses and los of great family to cheer her on. I donated to March of Dimes this month ! Thank you for walking :)

  9. says

    Having babies in the NICU has to be incredibly stressful. I can’t even imagine. It’s great that you are supporting March of Dimes to help others who are in that situation.

  10. says

    That’s great that your twins were only in the NICU for a week! My newest niece is in the NICU right now and probably will be for a few months since she was born at 28 weeks.

  11. says

    I can’t imagine how it felt to leave the hospital and your babies not come with you! You are certainly a strong, amazing mama!! I checked on the dates for the March for Babies events in my area and I’ll either be out of town or they have already passed. Hopefully I can participate next year!

  12. says

    This is such a great event and it benefits such a great cause! That is so cool that you got to meet Hilary Duff there. Your babies are so cute in those pictures!

  13. says

    The March of Dimes is such a great cause. I can remember being asked to collect dimes for them but never gave it a thought of what the dimes were for. I am glad the March of Dimes is available to help parents.

  14. says

    It makes me smile to see you participating in this event. I’m so glad your little ones have grown into such awesome little beings and I’m glad you can connect with others through events like this

  15. says

    I am so happy to hear that all of your babies made it home safely and thank you so much for sharing this event and your story. It’s amazing how many people are willing to help others.. and thank you for the chance to do the same!

  16. says

    That’s wonderful that your babies are okay and that they didn’t have to stay long in NICU. March of Dimes is a wonderful organization and we’ve done a few walks for them ourselves as part of teams.

  17. says

    I can only imagine the pain of separation for mother and child when the baby needs to be in the NICU. It’s great, though, that organizations like the March of Dimes is there to help women through pregnancies and beyond.

  18. says

    I consider myself so very blessed that my twins only stayed in the NICU for 12 hours. The only reason they went in was because the delivery was so fast that the fluid didn’t all get squished out of their lungs.

  19. says

    I know a girl who just took her daughter home from the NICU. It was rough watching their family struggle though it.

    I so hate that the doctors we less than comforting to you. That’s a horrifying time for any family!

  20. says

    What a wonderful cause. I’ve learnt more about March of Dimes through The Spohrs Are Multiplying. I love that you’ve shared your story too

  21. says

    we walk each year in memory of emery amelia, my friends little girl. and for so many others who share stories like yours, and hers. <3

  22. says

    What a powerful story and thank you for sharing. The March of Dimes is an instrumental organization for mom’s in need. I can’t imagine the thoughts and feelings of going home without my boys. Your an extremely brave women as so many are!

  23. says

    Aww, how sweet that you sat and caught up on Maddie’s story. I’ve done that before too…when I have come across something that touched my heart.

    This is a great post!

  24. says

    My daughter only had to spend a few days in the NICU after being born and I was so blessed that she didn’t have to spend anymore. My niece ended up spending several weeks there after being born 8 weeks earlier. The March of Dimes is a great organization.

  25. says

    My best friend went through the NICU with all 3 of her babies because of premature delivery. It was definitely heart wrenching to watch her go through the worry with each one, but thankfully, they are all doing great today! Kudos to Kmart for being such a huge supporter of March of Dimes!

  26. says

    I never had a preemie but my last child was in the NICU for a few days for low blood sugar. I was not prepared because I had no idea a non-preemie that wasn’t born with a birth defect or something could need to go the NICU. I was an emotional and physical wreck and it was only a few days (although it felt like years). I can’t even imagine what some of my friends went through with their preemies and low birth weight babies.

    Oh and your twins are ADORABLE as babies!

  27. says

    I think it’s absolutely awesome that you got out there and supported this cause! So glad your baby boys made it safely through the NICU!

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