There are two times a year when we honor our son publicly. Two times a year we ask for family and friends to join us in remembering Matthew, in honoring his life and giving back in his name.
The first is the March of Dimes March for Babies. The second is his birthday and the balloon release we do for him in honor of his life. This year his birthday falls on a Saturday, so his balloon release will be on August 6, 2011.
March for Babies is an opportunity to be surrounded by other families that have went through the hardship of infant prematurity and had both amazing, uplifting experiences and those who have suffered the ultimate loss of their child. By walking with the March of Dimes we have the opportunity to do a few things; raise awareness about infant prematurity, raise money to fund the research to end prematurity and to celebrate his life.
Matthew's biggest risk factor for SIDS was the fact that he was born premature, and that he suffered from Chronic Lung Disease as a result of my water breaking so early and him going so long with such minimal amounts of fluid. He slept on his back, he was breastfed, we don't smoke, we had an oscillating fan in the room, no blankets near him, we keep our home cool, he was loved so much. His one risk factor was caused by the fact that he was premature. Ending prematurity can help remove another risk of SIDS for babies everywhere.
When my water broke, we were told that more than likely I would develop an infection in 24 hours, deliver and he would be too young to make it. We were told over and over again we wouldn't take him home, he wouldn't make it. Instead, I proved them wrong. I stayed pregnant for 10 weeks. Sure, I was stuck in a hospital bed for those days, I missed Kaitlyn, I missed out on birthdays, I spent my 25th birthday enjoying a 20 min wheelchair ride, I missed the fourth of July, I missed out on most of the summer. But, it was all worth it because when he was born, he cried. Something we were told he would never do. He spent 26 days in the NICU before he came home. We had a total of 70 days with him, hugging him, kissing him, changing him, singing to him, rocking him, nursing him, taking him to the park, the zoo, the pumpkin patch, Old Sac and being loved on. I do believe that if it were not for advances made by the March of Dimes we would not have been blessed with those 70 days and those opportunities. I want more families to have those opportunities and more.
I want an end to prematurity. I want an end to infant death. I want an end to high risk, complicated pregnancies. I want answers. I want babies to grow old. I want families to stay together here on Earth.
This will be our 4th year walking. To join our team or to donate in Matthew's honor, or to do both, check out our team page.
This year we will be doing things a little different. Instead of ordering shirts, we will be doing iron on transfers that we'll sell for $5, with 100% of sales going to the team. This way I don't have to worry about sizes or delivering them, I can just mail them out :) I will be working on a front and back design and I would like to do them on either white or black shirts. Any preferences from team members? If you have an design ideas you'd like to see this year, let me know :)
Don't forget to sign up! It is an event that is incredibly important to us and we look forward to seeing you in 128 days on April 30.