Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Why we walk

I was saving this post for later but now is an opportune time.

Why are we participating in the March for Babies on April 27th benefitting the March of Dimes?

Started in 1938 by Franklin D Roosevelt, the March of Dimes has been in operation for 75 years to help children. A few of the things the March of Dimes spearheaded? Polio vaccines, newborn screenings, prenatal screenings, neonatal intensive care units, surfactant therapy, and their current mission of preventing premature birth.

For example: it was 50 years ago when John F. Kennedy's son Patrick was born at 34 weeks. The baby was placed in a high-pressure oxygen chamber, the newest technology at the time, but lived just two days because he could not be properly ventilated. If he were born today his odds of survival would be nearly 100 percent. Following this there was a surge in research on mechanical ventilation and artificial lung surfactant that is now standard practice in the NICU.

Now babies born at 500 grams or as young as 23 weeks are able to survive. I've met women who have healthy babies who weighed no more than 380 grams at birth - that's 12.6 ounces! It certainly isn't the norm but there is hope for babies born prematurely to live fulfilling lives and continue to push the boundaries of medicine.

Last but not least, we are walking for those friends of ours on this journey this past eight months who didn't make it home. For the nameless family that sat behind a curtain as we cuddled James tight and they said goodbye, for all those families that we never knew if they made it out okay because PSL is too big and privacy is a concern. For Jordan, Jacob, Bennett, Caitlyn - babies that fought long and hard but are resting now. For their parents, whose grief and pain I cannot imagine but I hope will someday lessen.

We walk for Maisie and James.

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