Archive for the ‘March for Babies’ Category

THANK YOU!!!

May 3, 2008

We want to express our appreciation to everyone who made donations for our March for Babies.  Our grand total was  $523!!

I tried to send an individual thank you to everyone who donated, and I *hope* I didn’t miss anyone, but I also want to publically thank each of you for making a difference in the lives of babies like ours!

Sarah A.                                 Grandma & Grandpa Z.
Laura                                     Jessi
Alyssa                                    Becky
Daniele                                  Garrett & Cynthia
Emily B.                                Kirsten
Sarah B.                                Cami
Monika                                 Zach & Natalie
Grandma D.                         Cashelle
Grandpa D. & Dedee          Em & Nick
Mel & Dave                          Emily J.
Beth                                      Tiffany
Kat                                        Kristi
Tammy (I’m sooo sorry you got missed!!)

We had a great time today at the march!  We were lucky to be joined by Grandma D. and Auntie Em & Uncle Nick.  The park was beautiful and Ryan had a great time stopping along the way to feed the ducks.  Owen and Emmy were happy for the majority of the walk and were so cute with their linked arms!  Here are a few pictures to enjoy! (you can click on the “x” on the box in the corner to make it go away)

We March for Zoey

May 2, 2008

Zoey

Zoey was born March 5, 2003 at 28 weeks gestation and for unknown reasons was stillborn.  She weighed 2 lbs. 4 oz.  and was 13 inches long.  Even though our experience with her was very different than with the other kids, I often think about what a stressful NICU experience it would have been with a 28 weeker. 

When I visit the NICU to volunteer and I see babies as tiny as she was –or smaller–I just stare in amazement that babies can come into the world so itty bitty and helpless and still survive.  At the time of her birth, what I knew about prematurity was just what I had learned while getting my degree in special education–which was, for the most part, all the things that can go wrong.  I had no idea that, had she lived, she likely would have led a perfectly normal life.  It’s amazing that medical advances, including research by the March of Dimes, have provided a way for such premature babies to overcome the huge obstacles they face each day.  Tomorrow, we march in memory of Zoey….and all babies born too soon.

We March for Owen!

May 1, 2008

**We’ve met our goal!!!  Thank you SO much for all of your donations!  Even though we’ve hit the $500 mark, there is still time to donate…the more money we raise, the more babies we can help!** 

Owen 

Owen was born February 13, 2007, just one minute after his sister.  He weighed 3 lbs. 15 oz. and was 17 1/2 inches long.  It’s amazing how an extra inch and a half in length made Owen look so much skinnier than Emmy!  As is typical for premature boys, Owen struggled more than Emmy did.  He lasted a bit longer breathing on his own right after his birth, but he was also intubated and put on a vent.  His little body was a bit weaker and had trouble expelling CO2, so at two days old he was put on a high frequency vent for a short time, which helped keep his lungs a bit more expanded.  He was kept sedated for several days to give his body a chance to rest, which just enhanced his mellow demeanor.  He surprised us by becoming strong enough to come off the vent at 3 days old.

Owen was spared any infections or heart problems.  He spent some time under the phototherapy lights for jaundice, which cleared up quickly.  One of his biggest obstacles was his little digestive system–it just wasn’t ready to get into gear.  Each day a little bit of milk was introduced, and each day his bowels became distended.  They finally cut it out completely to give him a bit more time to develop.  While this isn’t an uncommon problem for preemies, there was some concern that the problem could be necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC, which is a serious gastrointestinal condition that causes parts of the bowel tissue to die due to infection and inflammation.  Antibiotics were started as a precaution and blood work and x-rays were done to rule out or verify NEC.  Thankfully, everything came back fine.  He was given a few more days to rest before introducing milk again, and then it was given to him on a slower schedule.  He was given a larger feeding tube, in hopes that any air he was swallowing would come back up easier.  After about a week, things had improved a lot and he was on a regular feeding schedule.  

As the baby who struggled more, Owen was much slower to grow.  Two of the requirements to be moved out of the isolettes is that a baby must be 4 lbs and free of any IV’s.  Emmy hit this milestone first and spent some time in her open crib alone, waiting for her brother to catch up.  Because of Owen’s extended need for nutrition through his IV, he stayed in the isolette longer.  At two weeks old, Owen was finally able to join her, and boy did they look cute snuggled up together!!

After overcoming his digestive struggles, Owen moved into the category of being a “feeder and grower”.  He was fairly quick to pick up on nursing and was a good eater most of the time.  We were grateful that he was able to catch up so that he could come home on the same day as his sister.  He was still a little weaker in the breathing department, and he remained on his oxygen and monitors at home longer than Emmy did.  He has also lagged behind her a bit in development through this first year, but his little personality has begun to emerge and he’s let us know that he’s not really the mellow little guy he used to be!  While there are days that he makes me want to pull my hair out, I can’t imagine life without him!  On Saturday, we march for Owen!

We March for Emmy!

April 30, 2008

Emmy

Emmy was born on February 13, 2007 at 32 weeks gestation.  She weighed 4 lbs. and was 16 inches long.  As part of a dynamic duo, Emmy was known as “Baby A” during my pregnancy and she asserted her little attitude from day 1.  Having already experienced two pregnancies with unexpected endings, my twin pregnancy was watched especially closely.  Things went well until 24 weeks, when the doctor discovered that I was starting to dilate and was having regular contractions.  Even though 24 weeks is considered the age of viability for a fetus, we knew that if our pair were born at that point, their prognosis would be grim.  If they survived, they would have huge obstacles to overcome, most likely for the rest of their lives.  Hearing the NICU staff tell us that we needed to make some decisions about what measures we wanted taken to prolong their lives, if they were born at that point, was very sobering.  I was given steroids to help mature their lungs, in hopes that they would be stronger when the time came for them to enter the world.

With the help of many prayers and 8 weeks of bedrest, Owen and Emmy made it to 32 weeks gestation.  Emmy was born first and was also the first baby to be intubated and put on a ventilator.  Her white blood cell count was high, indicating that she had an infection.  She was also diagnosed with a PDA.  Our experience was different than with Ryan, in that we were able to hold Emmy the day after she was born, in spite of her being on the vent.  Her lungs also perked up quickly and she came off the vent after just 2 days.

Premature girls tend to fare better than boys, and Emmy was no exception.  Her PDA eventually closed on it’s own, and after a week of antibiotics her infection cleared up completely.  She spent some time under phototherapy lights for jaundice, which is not uncommon.  She had a lot of spunk and just needed some time to grow and learn to eat.    She handled her feedings well, though she was slow to pick up on nursing.  Emmy was the first baby to be moved from an isolette to an open crib and gained weight more quickly than her brother.  Overall, she just did better than he did.

After 5 weeks in the NICU, we were able to bring our babies home and have our entire family together for the first time.  Although they came home on oxygen and apnea monitors, they were fairly healthy and strong.  Emmy was able to come off of her oxygen about 3 weeks after coming home, and we know that her lungs are completely healthy now with the demands she screams at us on a daily basis!

Emmy’s development has progressed steadily over the last year, but she’s still hanging out on the borderline of being delayed.  She saw an infant development nurse every 6 weeks throughout her first year, and although she still had some areas of caution, the nurse decided she was progressing well enough to stop seeing her. 

Emmy is full of life and is such a joy to have in our family!  We’re so grateful that she did so well in spite of her early arrival.  On Saturday, we march for Emmy!

Down to the wire!!

April 29, 2008

We are down to the final days of fundraising for our March for Babies this Saturday!  I was surprised to see a donation come in from a total stranger, so that leaves those of you who know and love us with no excuses 😉 .  We are so grateful to those of you who have already made donations!

I probably should have kicked off our fundraising by introducing you to the reasons we are walking, but since I didn’t I’ll take the chance to do it over the next few days.  If you have been on the fence about donating, maybe our stories will pull on your heart strings enough to get a few more donations in to help us reach our goal–we are SO close!!

Ryan

Ryan was born on July 12, 2004 weighing in at 4 lbs. 15 oz.  He surprised us by arriving 6 weeks early.  While we don’t know for sure why he was premature, the best guess our doctors have is that it was due to an infection–he could have contracted it before, during, or after his birth, and if it was while he was still in-utero it could have caused my preterm labor. 

Along with having premature lungs, his body was working so hard to fight the infection that he was unable to breath on his own.  He received multiple doses of Surfactant (a drug made possible by research from the March of Dimes) to help keep his lungs from collasping while he tried to breath and he was put on a ventilator to give his body the rest it needed to become strong enough to function on its own.  Antibiotics were given to fight the infection, and after many, many blood draws to run labs to determine the cause of the infection, it was finally ruled as sepsis.  X-rays also showed patches of pneumonia in his lungs.

Ryan’s heart also had a common condtion for preemies called Patent Ductus Arteriosus, or PDA.  When full-term babies are born, a vessel in their heart closes, allowing for proper circulation of the blood through the heart.  In many preemies, this vessel doesn’t close.  In some cases, time is the best healer, but medication or surgery is sometimes needed to correct the problem.  Because of this condition, paired with the terrible infection and pneumonia, the doctors decided that Ryan required more specialized care and needed be to transferred to a hospital with a higher level NICU.  The day after his birth, he was loaded into an ambulance and transported to a hospital an hour away.While we felt sure that Ryan’s life was not in jeopardy in spite of his rough start, it was still very difficult to see him so sick and helpless.  We had full confidence in the abilities of the doctors and nurses that were caring for him and spent hours by his bedside praying for a short NICU stay.  At 3 days old, he was finally strong enough to come off the ventilator, and at 5 days old he was stable enough that we were able to hold him for the first time.  What a wonderful moment that was!  He continued to improve with each passing day, and after 4 weeks in the NICU, he was finally ready to come home.  He’s been a handful ever since!To look at Ryan today, you’d never know that he was a preemie.  He was a tiny little guy for a long time, and is still on the small side for his age group, but he’s as active and healthy as any 3 1/2 year old should be.  We are so grateful for the medical advances that are here today that helped to bring him home to us after such a rocky start.  Without the March of Dimes, his story might be a much different one, so on Saturday, we march for Ryan.

Did you know…

April 16, 2008

We are less than $150 from our fundraising goal for the March for Babies, with just a little over 3 weeks to go before the march!  I was at a volunteer meeting last night and had the chance to talk to a few parents with babies currently in the NICU, including one of our own volunteers, who just gave birth to her second preemie.  Being born at the same size and gestation as our twins, I was shocked to see how small he was….time tends to change our perspective and I had a hard time believing that our babies were ever so tiny!  My time in the unit last night was yet another reminder of how important research by the March of Dimes is to the health, well-being, and SURVIVAL of these tiny little miracles.  Help us with one last, final push to reach our goal by May 3rd!!  It will only take a few dollars from each of you to get us there!

OK, I know I just posted a reminder…

April 1, 2008

I don’t intend on posting any more than once a week (or less) about our fundraising for our March of Dimes walk, but I got news today that is worth putting in yet another plug for.  My friend Ann had her little boy last night!!  Congratulations again you guys!!  Unfortunately, she and her husband won’t be taking him home from the hospital for several weeks, as he was born at 30 weeks gestation.  Weighing in at 3 lbs. 7 oz, little Sam was determined to make his entrance into this world early, and as a result he’ll need extra special care to gain the strength and skills that he needs to come home to his family.  Without the help of the March of Dimes, his prognosis might not be as good as it is today.  The research they perform is vital for these little preemies!

We’re so happy for you Humpherys family and are praying for a short NICU stay for Sam!!

We can’t do it without you!

March 29, 2008

Did you know…

March 4, 2008

We’ve hit a bit of a slump in the last couple of weeks with our donations for our walk–which is OK, because there is still time to contribute! While monetary donations are greatly appreciated, you can also help by adding a “Donate Now” button to your own blog so that we can reach even more people! Click HERE to download the code.  Here are a few more facts about prematurity that you might not know:

In nearly 40 percent of premature births, the cause is unknown. However, researchers have made some progress in learning the causes of prematurity. Studies suggest that there may be four main routes leading to premature labor.

1. Infections/Inflammation. Studies suggest that premature labor is often triggered by the body’s natural immune response to certain bacterial infections, such as those involving the genital and urinary tracts and fetal membranes. Even infections far away from the reproductive organs, such as periodontal disease, may contribute to premature delivery.

2. Maternal or fetal stress. Chronic psychosocial stress in the mother or physical stress (such as insufficient blood flow from the placenta) in the fetus appears to result in production of a stress-related hormone called corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). CRH may stimulate production of a cascade of other hormones that trigger uterine contractions and premature delivery.

3. Bleeding. The uterus may bleed because of problems such as placental abruption (the placenta peels away, partially or almost completely, from the uterine wall before delivery). Bleeding triggers the release of various proteins involved in blood clotting, which also appear to stimulate uterine contractions.

4. Stretching. The uterus may become overstretched by the presence of two or more babies, excessive amounts of amniotic fluid, or uterine or placental abnormalities, leading to release of chemicals that stimulate uterine contractions.

The finding that there are several routes that can result in premature delivery may help explain why prematurity is so difficult to prevent. Now that scientists have a better handle on possible pathways to prematurity, they may be able to develop more effective interventions that can halt the various chemical cascades that lead to it. But first they must identify the women who need these treatments.
Source

Did you know…

March 4, 2008

We’ve hit a bit of a slump in the last couple of weeks with our donations for our walk–which is OK, because there is still time to contribute! While monetary donations are greatly appreciated, you can also help by adding a “Donate Now” button to your own blog so that we can reach even more people! Click HERE to download the code.  Here are a few more facts about prematurity that you might not know:

In nearly 40 percent of premature births, the cause is unknown. However, researchers have made some progress in learning the causes of prematurity. Studies suggest that there may be four main routes leading to premature labor.

1. Infections/Inflammation. Studies suggest that premature labor is often triggered by the body’s natural immune response to certain bacterial infections, such as those involving the genital and urinary tracts and fetal membranes. Even infections far away from the reproductive organs, such as periodontal disease, may contribute to premature delivery.

2. Maternal or fetal stress. Chronic psychosocial stress in the mother or physical stress (such as insufficient blood flow from the placenta) in the fetus appears to result in production of a stress-related hormone called corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). CRH may stimulate production of a cascade of other hormones that trigger uterine contractions and premature delivery.

3. Bleeding. The uterus may bleed because of problems such as placental abruption (the placenta peels away, partially or almost completely, from the uterine wall before delivery). Bleeding triggers the release of various proteins involved in blood clotting, which also appear to stimulate uterine contractions.

4. Stretching. The uterus may become overstretched by the presence of two or more babies, excessive amounts of amniotic fluid, or uterine or placental abnormalities, leading to release of chemicals that stimulate uterine contractions.

The finding that there are several routes that can result in premature delivery may help explain why prematurity is so difficult to prevent. Now that scientists have a better handle on possible pathways to prematurity, they may be able to develop more effective interventions that can halt the various chemical cascades that lead to it. But first they must identify the women who need these treatments.
Source