June 2, 2007 we were a happy, blissful, naive family. Our daughter, Kaitlyn had turned 2 1/2 the month before, we were happily married and I was 23 weeks pregnant with a little boy we had decided to name Matthew Jackson. My belly was rapidly growing, we had been enjoying the summer and all the heat that it brought, I was managing an apartment complex and our dog was going to turn 4 at the end of the summer. All was well. Nothing in the world could possibly go wrong. Life was fantastic.
I went to bed around 10 that night and within 12 hours, things were not so perfect.
My water had broken in the night, it was confirmed after an emergency trip to Labor and Delivery. I was laying in a bed, when the perinatologist came in with her recommendation. We should induce labor to reduce the risk of infection, since my body was going to force it soon anyways, and have a peaceful goodbye to our son. I couldn't. How could I give up hope based on the words of just one woman. I didn't care what kind of degree or education she had.
10 weeks of strict hospital bed rest and our lives turned completely upside down. By the last few weeks he had measly a pocket of fluid near his mouth to help him grow and teach his lungs to work. Then, he decided he was ready to be born. That same doctor was in the room when he cried. A sound she said he would never make, the breaths she said would be limited to just a few in his lifetime. He was born. He was there. He cried. He was alive.
Thanks to a nearly 4 week NICU stay, the amazing staff and the advances in medicine we brought Matthew home. He saw his nursery that we worked so hard at. He cuddled with his sister as she read him stories. He had diaper changes, late night snuggle sessions, learned to breast feed, see the park, walk through the outdoors, visit the pumpkin patch and meet so much of the family that loved him and expected to watch him grow.
Often, I've been asked if we would have chosen differently on June 3rd had we of known the outcome. Would we have spared ourselves the pain of the sudden loss after the long hospital stay, the sacrifices, the roller coaster of the NICU, and the trauma we went through the morning of October 15. The answer is an easy No. I would have done double, triple or infinity times that length of time standing on my head if it meant just one moment with him. Those 10 weeks and the memories created in them have to last us a lifetime.
A decade or two ago, we wouldn't have had those 10 weeks. The medication and techniques he needed to survive the first month of his life, just were not available then. The medications and techniques used to save his life are available because of the work the March of Dimes does. That is why we started walking.
The March of Dimes is also responsible for the research that encouraged the use of the medication we used to get Samantha to full term in pregnancy. Without the p17, she may not be here at all. That is another reason we walk.
Around the country, every year the March of Dimes hosts March for Babies. March for Babies raises funds and awareness in the community to save the most innocent, babies. The money raises stays in our community for research, for health, for babies everywhere. We walk so more babies can go home healthy to be with their families. We walk because no parent should ever have to pick out tiny suits, tiny dresses or tiny coffins. No parent should ever have to take a "Baby's 1st Christmas" bib to the cemetery. We walk to save lives.
You can help. In so many ways. Below, I'll share them with you.
1. You can join our team. This is our 5th year walking, which I think is amazing and awesome. To join our team, you just have to go here and sign up!
2. You can donate to our team! Our goal this year is $10,000. I'm happy to raise that $1 at a time! Just go to our team page to donate!
3. You can like our facebook Team page: Matthew's Team and share with your friends to spread the word.
4. You can buy a team shirt! The way I do them is I create the design and high quality transfers. I sell them for $5 with all $5 going straight to our team. I send instructions on how to put them on your shirts with the shirts. I do it this way because it's so much easier and cost effective that getting everyone's sizes and waiting for the printed shirts to come in, and this way you can pick if you want it V-neck, long sleeve, short sleeve and so on! Designs will be ready by next month!
5. You can buy a ticket to our Taco feed and Auction Night! Details are coming soon!
6. You can donate a prize to our Auction (value $50 and higher) or Raffle (value $10-$49)
7. You can start your own Matthew's Team in your area!
Raise money, Raise Awareness and Raise Hope!