BENEFITING: March of Dimes Foundation
EVENT DATE: Dec 13, 2016
I will never forget the first time I stepped foot into a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; I was in nursing school and knew at that moment I had found my calling and my career path. I spent the next 10 years nurturing the tiniest and sickest children of my community and dreaming of the day I could hold a child of my own. At the time, my Husband and I did not know the long road we would embark upon to have a child of our own, nor how long we would have to hold on tight to that dream. Our road began with many miscarriages and much heartbreak. Finally we were blessed with a pregnancy beyond the first trimester. As a NICU nurse, I did everything in my power to have a healthy and successful pregnancy. I had seen the devastation families go through when they have a baby in the NICU. I was determined that this would not happen to me. So when I arrived at Dr. Strain’s office, I truly thought the intermittent, light pains in my upper abdomen were Baby Briley kicking me. Before I could grasp what was happening, I was being whisked away and admitted for premature labor. Within a week my beautiful twin daughters were born; over 4 months early and barely weighing a pound. I knew there were interventions, I knew they had a chance. If Ainsley and Briley wanted to fight, we were going to fight for them. When I heard the code called to the NICU early on the morning of March 9th my heart sank. Briley had fought all night long, but her tiny body wasn’t yet ready for this world. With gut-wrenching emotion I can never explain to another soul, I asked Dr. Reeves to please stop CPR and let us hold our baby so we could say goodbye. There are no words for what I felt when my husband cried and told me that he never expected the first time he held his daughter, she would be gone. And in the midst of all our grief, heartache, and soul-crushing pain we had to stay strong. Ainsley was still fighting. She was still alive, and she was such a strong little girl, but again, her tiny body wasn’t yet ready for this world. She developed an infection and for weeks we watched as our beautiful daughter started swelling to the point she couldn’t open her eyes and her frail skin tore. She went into multi-organ failure. Again, we would have to say good-bye. Again, our hearts would shatter. We held Ainsley close as she gasped her final breaths and spread her wings. She joined her twin sister in heaven on April 6, exactly 4 weeks from the day she was born. When our next pregnancy resulted in an emergency surgery due to an ectopic pregnancy we came to the realization we may never have children of our own. Then in April of 2014, I became pregnant once more, with a single baby boy. The doctors followed every intervention to prevent premature labor. This time I recognized those tell-tale contractions when they started in early December. Again I was admitted, interventions started. This time they worked. I followed my strict bedrest precautions and on December 24, Christmas Eve and my birthday, my water broke. I was 36.6 weeks. After a very long labor, Hayes Michael arrived at 3:52 on Christmas Day morning. A whopping 8lb 11oz full term healthy baby! We happily went home as a family. This time I got to hold my baby in my arms. This time our children didn’t come home with us in boxes to be placed upon the mantle. Hayes is an example of how far the March of Dimes has come, the research done by the March of Dimes lead to the interventions that saved Hayes’ life. My two angels show how much work still needs to be done. I will never know why even with interventions my daughters came into this world too soon. I will never understand, but the March of Dimes is working hard to solve this mystery and to end prematurity. Please join us in supporting the March of Dimes so we can look forward to the day when parents won’t arrive home with empty arms and spend countless nights in the NICU.