Thursday, March 28, 2013

TCH Guest Blogger ~ Why We'll March

When my husband and I decided we were ready to start our family there were a lot of “what ifs?” that swirled around in my head. What if we had infertility problems? What if I miscarried? What if the baby had a heart defect? The list goes on and on. The one thing that didn’t cross my mind was prematurity. I had no idea that preterm birth was the leading cause of newborn death in the United States. At only 7 weeks pregnant, Gordon and I were told I had a bicornuate uterus and was at risk for preterm labor. That’s when my googling “preterm baby” obsession started. It intensified when I was put on bed rest at 29 weeks. The March of Dimes website became my new best friend. I wanted to know what to expect. Really, I wanted to hear positive stories from other families and read about the advances in treatment for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients.

After 24 days of bed rest, my water broke, and William made his debut 5 hours later at only 32 weeks gestation. He weighed in at 3 pounds 14 ounces and even gave us a little cry before being whisked away to one of the nation’s top neonatology units.
We spent the next 4 weeks in the NICU. Due to having difficulty breathing, William had to be intubated so he could receive surfactant. He was on cPAP for a week after that and had to receive nutrition through an IV. He spent 2 days on the bilirubin blanket, countless days in the incubator until he could regulate his own body temperature and it took him weeks to learn how to drink from a bottle. I stayed calm through it all and felt so confident with the care he was receiving. He was in good hands at Texas Children’s.
Being a nurse myself, I know that knowledge is power in the medical field. That’s why the March of Dimes is so near to my heart. Many of the treatments used in the NICU were developed through March of Dimes funded research. One of the treatments that stands out in my mind is surfactant. It is a medication that helps lung development in babies with respiratory distress. I hate to think of what could have happened had William not gotten this medication.
So, this year my husband and I will be walking in the March for Babies because we are thankful. Not a single day passes that we don’t remember those scary days in the NICU. So, we’ll walk for William and for all the other tiny babies fighting a battle in the NICU right now. We will walk every year in hopes that we can help educate one more person because like I said before, knowledge is power. The March of Dimes has been a great resource for me. They do a fabulous job educating expecting parents about everything from taking folic acid to prematurity research. They also help doctors across the country perfect the way they care for these tiny little babies.
Walking will be our family’s way of saying thank you, because just saying those 2 little words will never be enough. We will always have a place in our hearts for the fabulous doctors, nurses and researchers out there that helped us get our baby boy home!

**Houston friends:  This years walk will be on April 28, 2013 at the University of Houston!

William's first few minutes in this world!
...and NOW!!! 
Make sure to check out TCH's blog for more inspiring stories! 

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