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March of Dimes Iowa's Fundraiser:

The Boxleiter Family- 2016 Ambassador Family

March of Dimes Iowa's Photo
March of Dimes Iowa's Photo

BENEFITING: March of Dimes Foundation

EVENT DATE: Sep 29, 2016

March of Dimes Iowa


In May of 2014, we were thrilled to discover we would be welcoming a new member to our family, and our daughter, Anna, was soon to become a big sister. However, in October, everything started to change very quickly at just 27 weeks into my pregnancy.

In the middle of the night on October 28, my water unexpectedly broke. After waking Chris and calling our midwife, we rushed to Finley Hospital in Dubuque. They confirmed that I was in labor, and after receiving a steroid shot to try to develop our baby’s lungs, I was in an ambulance on the way to Iowa City. While the doctors hoped to keep me hospitalized and slow down labor, tests showed that I had an infection that was affecting us both. Our daughter Amelia decided to make her appearance without anyone else in the room on October 29th at 1:53am, and after the nurse ran in and hit Code Blue on the wall, Amelia was quickly whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

At only 2 pounds, 8 ounces, Amelia was in Bay One of the NICU- the area reserved for the sickest babies. While her first 24 hours were stable, things went downhill very quickly. She was in Respiratory Distress and was placed on a ventilator and was given two blood transfusions as well as two rounds of surfactant to help her lungs. Amelia was fighting against so many complications- being diagnosed with a heart PDA and PFO, as well as a congenital heart defect called PVS, hydrocephalus, and a grade 3 brain bleed. After three weeks of ups and downs, it seemed that things were headed in a better direction, but Amelia started having more spells. It was discovered that she was suffering from Late Onset Sepsis as a result from the infection that I had right before she was delivered. Her PDA re-opened and her hydrocephalus worsened, and she also began retaining fluids- affecting her heart and kidneys. She also had brain surgery to place an Ommaya Reservoir into her brain so that doctors could easily remove excess cerebrospinal fluid to relieve pressure. Day by day she fought off infection and stabilized. Finally, after 88 days in the NICU, Amelia was discharged home on oxygen, multiple medications, and a heart apnea monitor.

Today, Amelia is still followed by many specialists, including the High Risk Clinic, a Gastroenterologist for her liver, a Cardiologist for her heart, Neurosurgery for her brain, Ophthalmology for her vision, and Physical Therapy for her development. She is monitored closely with her Chronic Lung Disease and BPD, and we work hard to protect her fragile system from any viruses.  Amelia is developing a little ahead of her adjusted age, and is thriving with all of the amazing support that she receives. She is our little miracle- strong, feisty, determined and happy. We are absolutely humbled and honored to be serving as the 2016 Signature Chefs Auction Ambassador Family, and to be giving back to an organization whose mission is inspired by all babies, those born healthy and those who need help to survive and thrive. The research conducted via the March of Dimes and the work of so many compassionate medical professionals is a wonderful partnership. Without the research done by the March of Dimes to help babies like Amelia fight, our story may have had a very different ending. We encourage each of you to consider getting involved in this important mission, and look forward to sharing our story in the coming months. We want our story to provide hope to other families and individuals, to encourage support for this wonderful cause.

With sincere gratitude,       

The Boxleiter Family- Shayna, Chris, Anna, and Amelia



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