Recently, I've been asked rather frequently by well-meaning (I hope) people why we participate in March for Babies. Considering that we did not have a "happily ever after" story to share, some feel that it's weird, or that we should focus our efforts more on organizations centered around SIDS.
March of Dimes is a cause that I am passionate about. For two very simple reasons, gratitude and hope, we walk with March for Babies. March for Babies is the only walk that remembers, honors and celebrates babies.
Being born premature greatly increases a baby's risk of SIDS. By reducing the rates of prematurity, we can reduce the risk of SIDS. Not only does March of Dimes fund research in premature labors, births and babies, but, they also fund research in newborn and infant health. This includes SIDS.
Research done by March of Dimes has resulted in medical advances that gives even the littlest and sickest babies hope. Matthew benefited from two medications developed as a result from that medication. One, helped his lungs continue to develop outside of the womb. It allowed him to have the ventilator removed, it allowed him to come home without oxygen. It allowed him to breath on his own. The other medication he received closed "holes" in his heart. It allowed his heart to work as it was supposed to and properly pass blood through his body.
This research gave us 70 days with him. 70 days of hugs, kisses, diaper changes, cuddles, naps, adventures and memories. All things we may not of had if he had been born 20 years ago. I have nothing but gratitude for the amazing doctors, nurses and March of Dimes for the time, pictures and memories we have of Matthew.
After Matthew, we had three consecutive miscarriages. The outlook for having more children was not bright. We had no desire for Kaitlyn to grow up as the only living child in the house and this was heartbreaking. How do you have one healthy, normal pregnancy followed by a premature birth and then three miscarriages? It didn't make sense. There were not any answers, just despair.
But, more research, more studies, more findings came to light and with the addition of a very simple medication daily and a less simple medication (that we had to fight for) weekly, we had Samantha. Full term. Healthy. She brought so much happiness and joy with her.
Just over two years later, her baby sister was born, ginormous. Also, full term, healthy and with a head full of hair. The medication we had to fight for with Samantha was almost standard procedure in mother's who have had a premature birth. We didn't have to fight, it was easier to get and ready to go when we hit 16 weeks. This is because of pregnancy research.
I am incredibly grateful not only for the time we had with Matthew, but for the two little girls that we had after. For the healthy little girl that came before them all. For the memories, the laughter, the priceless photos and family hugs.
We have three daughters. One day, they may decide to get married and have babies of their own. I want to be sure they have that choice, that option. I would never want to watch them suffer through miscarriage, prematurity or infant loss. The progress made in the last 10 years is astonishing. Premature rates are decreasing all over the nation and that is amazing. The advances in care for premature babies is also improving as astonishing rates. Not only are babies surviving today that may not have 20 years ago, but they are thriving.
In 23 days, we will be a part of the Greater Capital Division March for Babies in Sacramento. We will proudly walk with our amazing team, decked out in our matching team shirts and sparkly team bows and we will know that we are making a difference.
#whyiwalk : I walk out of gratitude for all that research funded by March of Dimes has given our family, but also out of hope that we continue to reduce prematurity and increase how many babies are born both healthy and full term for future generations.
March for Babies - 2014