A little over three years ago, my sons were delivered by c-section at St. Vincent Women’s Hospital. After they were stabilized, they allowed me to go in and meet them for the first time in the next room. I will never forget the experience and overwhelming emotion of those first minutes. They were all crying and appeared to be relatively healthy. I was floating as though on drugs; It was an amazing experience.
Next, the nurses told me I would be able to come see them again in the NICU, but that they needed to go. In the long hours that followed, I was unable to get permission to go see them. What we didn’t realize at the time was that they were beginning to encounter some trouble.
When preemie babies inhale and then exhale for the first time, their lungs often begin to stick together. As adults, when we exhale, our lungs collapse together, then as we inhale, they pull apart again and inflate. This is possible because our bodies produce a lubricating chemical that covers the lining of our lungs which keeps them from sticking together. Preemies lungs have often not yet developed the ability to produce this lubricant, so they suffocate and die as a result.
All four of our boys were born with this problem. Were it not for a man-made chemical called Surfactant, which replaces the lubricant that our bodies are supposed to produce on our own, Henry, Brooks, Clark, and Isaac would most likely not have survived. They sprayed this lubricant into each of their lungs, allowing them to use their full lung capacity again.
When the doctors or nurses who explained this process to us told us that the research for this life-saving chemical had been funded by the March of Dimes, I knew that this was an organization we would need to give back to. This is just one example of many life-saving breakthroughs that are used in every NICU across America. There are thousands of children who sign up for Kindergarten every year who would not be alive without the March of Dimes.
We are making great strides in our efforts as an ambassador family for the March of Dimes Walk for Babies. We’ve raised over $500 so far and we’re excited to walk with many of our friends and family on April 25th in downtown Indianapolis! We’d love to have you join our team (please sign up online so we know you are coming) as we fight together for the lives of babies. Your participation and enthusiasm is changing lives! (Coming next week there will be some fun incentives for those who have given or will give – so stay tuned!) Remember even a small commitment can make a difference when we work together!