BENEFITING: March of Dimes Foundation
25 weeks pregnant and contractions are a bad combination. Everyone knows that, but what do you do if it happens to you? I’ll tell you what I did, I called my doctor. Of course he had me come in, and then he wheeled me straight over to the hospital where I spent 5 days trying to stop labor. Those five days were so precious and important for my boys, but they weren’t 14 more weeks.
On July 27, 2013 Braden, Ethan, and Jace came into the world, and they were so tiny. Immediately after birth they went straight to the Duport NICU, where we would spend the next few months. The final day count in the NICU for Braden, born at 2 lb. and 6 oz. was 109 days. The final day count for Ethan, born at 2lb 6 oz. was 95 days, and the final day count for Jace, born at just 1 lb. 14 oz. was 88 days.
Those 109 days were the most terrifying and emotional days of my entire life. During the first full week after the boys’ birth my only physical contact with my children was done by reaching into their isolette with a gloved hand and delicately holding their little hands or changing their diapers. They were assessed every three hours, and that was when I had access to them. All of those minutes in between I sat helplessly next to their isolette, desperately hoping for them to get just a little bit stronger. I wasn’t able to breast feed them, or even give them a bottle for months. They survived off of IVs full of TPN for days and were fed my breastmilk via an NG tube for months after that. The first few times I held them, they were connected to so many wires and machines that it took a team of nurses to make it happen. Jace was one week old the first time, Braden and Ethan were each over two weeks old. For 87, 94, and 108 nights I had to walk out of the doors of the hospital in tears because I was leaving my babies behind.
Will and I are eternally grateful for every single piece of the puzzle that fit so perfectly together to make our story successful, and I couldn’t possibly convey my appreciation, although I try often. The medical advancements that have already been achieved due to programs like the March of Dimes are why I can share the story about my family of five. We have come so far in medicine, but there is so much opportunity to go even farther. My wish is that no little innocent child has to fight as hard as my boys did, and that no family has to go through the financial and emotional burdens that result from premature birth. I walked into the doctor’s office in July thinking I was in false labor and that I would just take some deep breathes and go back home. I wasn’t so lucky. With 15 million babies being premature every year, I am far from being alone. Wouldn’t it be amazing to change those statistics?