In Memory of Grace
In 2007, I was excited to be expecting my first baby. I wasn’t anticipating any complications, but during our first ultrasound they noticed that she was measuring small, and scheduled another follow-up appointment for me. On March 7, 2007, I went to a second ultrasound appointment to check Grace’s growth. They saw that she hadn’t grown much since her last appointment, and advised for me to see a specialist the next day at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. I was given a steroid treatment to help the baby’s lung development, and sent home on strict bedrest.
At my appointment the next day, they discovered that the blood flow through my umbilical cord was not supporting Grace the way that it needed to. During my heart beats, the blood would flow in on my “on beat” and most would flow back out during my “off beat”, giving very little nutrition to the baby. I also had low amniotic fluid, and the doctors were concerned enough to admit me to the hospital for observation. I was settled into a room, and hooked up for further monitoring. Just a few hours later, the doctor came to my room– Grace was in distress and I needed to make a decision on when to deliver her to give her the best chance at survival.
On March 8, 2007, at just 27 weeks gestation, Grace Leighann Benfer was born weighing only 12.8 ounces, and was 11 inches long. She was rushed to the NICU, and I was sent to recovery from my C-section. Our families came to see her, and we thought that things were going to be stable for the night. The NICU doctor came in to let us know that Grace’s lungs had collapsed, and while they had been able to revive her, she was not doing well. We called our families to come back to the hospital and were able to have her baptized before we unhooked her machines and had to say goodbye. Our sweet Grace passed away just 9 hours after her birth. She fought hard during her time on earth, but she was born just too small and too soon.
Grace is the big sister to two earthly half-brothers, Kaden and Cole Porter. Both boys were born at 37 weeks due to repeat C-sections, but without complications or issues. Kaden is now almost 5 years old, and Cole will be a year old in June. We are honored to be serving as this year’s Cedar Rapids March for Babies Ambassador family and to not only share Grace’s story, but to give back to the March of Dimes.
We’ve been participating since April of 2007– just a month after losing Grace, in hopes of giving all babies a fighting chance and to work to help all moms have safe and healthy pregnancies. We walk in Memory of Grace every year to bring awareness to the importance of the March of Dimes and their mission, while also raising essential funds to support their life-saving research.
Krista, Justin, *Grace*, Kaden and Cole