DATE: 03/27/2009 02:52:10 PM
Do you ever feel like time is creeping up on you, then suddenly it is flying past? I am feeling that way today. Not only am I back from vacation and trying to catch up on things at home and at work (goes back to that work/life balance act) but I realized that there is less than a month before the March of Dimes “March for Babies” in St. Louis. It is April 25th at Forest Park. I’m realizing I need to do more to raise money and awareness to help babies lead healthy lives.
I have been volunteering for five years with the MO chapter of the March of Dimes. I had always donated to the organization but it was not until my own babies lives were saved by the research provided by March of Dimes that it hit home.
I had a very challenging time getting pregnant. So, after years of trying, Dan and I were thrilled to learn that we were expecting twins. I tried to do everything right….eat well, sleep enough, take vitamins, visit my doctor regularly….you know, all the right things. Well, at 22 weeks gestation, I went into active labor. The doctors gave me oral medications (discovered through March of Dimes research) that stopped my pre-term labor. I was told to take it easy and drink lots of water. I immediately listened.
Then, one bright, sunny summer day I had a check up with my OBGYN. Nothing out of the ordinary, or so I thought. They had me go for an ultrasound first, just to make sure the babies were doing ok. I was 25 weeks pregnant- just over 6 months. The tech looked funny as she performed the ultrasound, then she left to get the doctor. He came in and told me I would be “joining” them at the hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy because I was in labor again and 4 cm dilated.
He told me my babies would likely be born that day and may not live. I was devistated.
My husband and family rushed to the hospital. I was put on heavy IV medication to stop the labor. I was also given surfactant to develop the babies lungs (also due to March of Dimes research). Each day the babies stayed inside was a day he and she might live. It took all the strength I had (and then some) in order not to lose my mind.
I spent 9 weeks in the hospital on bed rest. This did not mean fun and games. It meant heavy IV drugs that made my body feel awful. It meant living every moment thinking if I did anything wrong that my babies would die. It was worth every moment.
I did my best to follow every rule the doctors gave. I rested. I ate and ate and ate. Finally, when I was 35 weeks along, the babies came. Jack Evan and Carleigh Elaine were born small, but healthy. Jack was 5 lbs. 4 oz., and Carleigh was 4 lbs. 4 oz. Each had to be gavage (tube) fed at first but after several weeks in the NICU, they came home with us.
I can never explain how it really feels to think you’ll lose a child before you get to know it. I never thought I was the motherly type, but now I know that was my true calling. If not for the generous donations to March of Dimes, I would not be living my dream today.
If you are interested in helping in any way, please visit: