I am beyond excited to be joining up with fellow mommies of preemies this year and marching once again in March of Dimes’ March for Babies!
After Oaklee was born three months premature, I started hearing names here and there of girls from my past who had also had premature babies and had also spent time living the NICU life. I could not believe how many of us there are even just from my high school! For my second March, I’m teaming up with these ladies and their babes, and together we’re fighting for healthy moms and strong babies.
As I’ve mentioned before, 1 in 10 babies are born premature. Prematurity is the #1 cause of infant mortality.
So what does March of Dimes do? Allow me to borrow their simplest definition: “March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies.” And then let’s add words from their materials to explain they, “focus on fighting birth defects, premature birth and infant death with innovations like newborn screenings and surfactant therapy; education for medical professionals and the public about best practices; and lifesaving research. [They] provide comfort and support to families in NICUs and advocated for those who need [them] most, moms and babies.”
So what did March of Dimes do for us? March of Dimes grantees helped develop surfactant therapy, which was introduced in 1990, and has since then reduced the rate of death by Respiratory Distress Syndrome (which Oaklee was diagnosed with upon birth) in half. They’re also working on new approaches to deliver inhaled nitric oxide (a treatment Oaklee also had) to where it is needed in the lungs to prevent Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia. This is the type of research we need people to do, and the frontrunner for why this little family of three wants to raise money for an organization that may have literally saved Oaklee’s life.
On a smaller scale, the March of Dimes NICU Family Support is also a great program. Being in the NICU is hell. I wouldn’t wish any amount of time there on my worst enemy, but I’m so very grateful for the good things the NICU Family Support program is doing because the little things make a huge difference. They gave us booklets of information that took words like “surfactant therapy” and “bronchopulmonary dysplasia” and put them into laymen’s terms that even the just-gave-birth-and-desperately-in-need-of-a-transfusion woman could understand. They offered educational classes with previous NICU parents and Lactation Consultants and other various experts. They gave us keepsake books, milestone markers and little gift bags. And, oh my gosh, the little rubber duckies we found at Oaklee’s isolette on the holidays she spent in the NICU… It truly is the little things, isn’t it?
Simply put, raising $2000 is not enough to repay March of Dimes for what they did for us, but we’ll start there, and someday we’ll find a way to continue giving, to continue improving the outlook for premature babies like Oaklee.
So if it’s in your heart to give, I pray you’ll consider donating towards Oaklee’s team in the March for Babies on May 4 in Grand Rapids, MI. And if you’re local, we’d love to have you walk on our team with us. So many of you have already proven your place in the village that will raise our child and it is such a blessing to have you on Team Oaklee today and every day.