The birthday week is officially over.
Last Thursday, 3/24, my girls turned three.
So far they’ve come, from 3 pounds to 3 years. And so much of that was made possible by an organization called the March of Dimes.
If you visit the March of Dimes website, you’ll find tons of valuable information on how to sustain a healthy pregnancy, statistics on premature birth, and information on how the organization is researching birth defects, prematurity, and general infant health.
But what about when it hits close to home?
What about …
- when you’re told all of the sudden that there’s a problem with your pregnancy? That you’ve suddenly come down with a scary disease called preeclampsia that could endanger the life of you and your babies? That you are to drop everything and do nothing but go home and lie on the couch all day, save getting up and going to the bathroom?
- when you go in for a regular checkup and you’re sent straight to the hospital because your blood pressure is too high?
- when the stress of it all puts you into labor at 30 weeks and you’re put on the devil of all life saving drugs, magnesium sulfate (those of you who have been on it know what I’m talking about)?
- when you’re suddenly being plunged in the thigh with steroid shots to help your tiny babies’ lungs mature? What about when it’s all happening so fast and you’re so scared?
- when a NICU nurse comes to visit you and tell you that they’ve already set aside 2 little beds for your girls, who are sure to arrive sooner than expected? That your dream of carrying them to 36 or 37 weeks is likely not going to happen?
- when you’re labor’s been stopped and you’re put on indefinite bedrest, with nothing but bad daytime tv and crossword puzzles to help pass the long days in a hospital bed?
- when you tour your babies’ future home of the NICU, not yet understanding the sights and sounds that will soon become so familiar to you?
- when the nurse pops her head in your room and says, “It’s today! You’re on the board for 3:30!” You’re only 31 weeks!
And what about …
- when you barely get a kiss in before they’re whisked away to their new home, 6 floors above you, while you lay motionless as your doctor puts you back together?
- when you visit them for the first time, the second time, the third time, and each and every time you are bombarded by medical jargon you don’t understand and information you can’t yet process? When all you can do is stare at your tinier than tiny infants as they bask in the glow of the bilirubin lights?
- when you feel guilty for going home to get some rest?
- when you’re unsure if you will be able to bond with your babies?
- the first time you attempt to breastfeed them, so tiny and frail?
And then there’s …
- the kindness of social workers and nurses who know how hard this ordeal can be on parents.
- wonderful doctors who take to calling your babies “boring” — and in the NICU, boring is good.
- vast amounts of helpful literature to guide you through your stay.
- little NICU baby books to track your little ones’ progress.
- the day you’re finally told that your babies are coming home. Together.
I can’t say enough great things about the March of Dimes. The support we received was astounding, through social workers, information, and excellent care from nurses and doctors.
We felt like we were surrounded by a huge bubble of nurturing. Some find it odd that I describe our NICU experience as amazing.
When R & C were in the NICU, I saw the posters and signs about the March of Dimes March for Babies. I didn’t really know what it was all about. I didn’t know at the time how much this event would come to mean to me. We had just been discharged when the 2008 walk occurred and were in full on “preemie twin daze” adjustment period. I don’t think I saw true daylight for weeks.
But now as I watch my newly crowned 3 year olds bounce around, happy, healthy, and full of life, I can show you true testaments of the hard work of the March of Dimes and its supporters.
My girls rolled with us through the 2009 walk at 13 months. We raised $285.
They rolled, walked, then piggybacked through the 2010 walk. We raised $330.
And this year? Well, we’ll be lucky if we can keep them in any kind of stroller or wagon for very long, but we’re going to cross that finish line for the third year in a row as a part of team AMOM.
Our fundraising goal this year? $350. But I’d love to exceed that. And I hope you’ll help me.