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