The Kronemyer Family
After many years of unsuccessful infertility treatments, our doctor suggested we take a newly devised test. We took it - and failed it. Having diagnosed our problem, our doctor told us we’d need to do in vitro fertilization. So we did. After what seemed like a long wait - we got GREAT news; not only was I pregnant...we were expecting twins!! A boy and a girl!! It was a dream come true...or so it seemed.
After 5 months of a healthy, trouble-free pregnancy, our health care provider mandated that I begin having once a week checkups. It seemed odd to go to the doctor when I felt perfectly fine and wasn’t having any problems. Still - we wanted to ensure that our babies would be born healthy, so we scheduled a check up on day one of month six - 21 weeks into what should have been a 40 week pregnancy.
At the first of these visits, I was being examined when the doctor exclaimed “Oh - you just had a contraction. Could you feel it?” I hadn’t felt anything. A few minutes later, the doctor told me that I’d had another contraction. Again, I felt nothing. So weird! In all the movies I had seen, once a woman’s contractions begin - she’s in pain. Yet for me - no pain at all. I really hadn’t noticed anything. Minutes later...another contraction. For me - this came as a huge shock. I was completely unaware that I was having contractions because I had felt no pain nor had I experienced anything else that registered concern or caused me to be alarmed.
At that point my doctor told me that they would be transferring me over to the hospital. She additionally said that I needed to make whatever arrangements were necessary in case I needed to stay in the hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy. HOLY COW!!! Our new reality began to set in. If my pregnancy went full term - that meant I’d be in the hospital on bed rest for 4 months.
As it turned out, even full time hospital bedrest was not enough to prevent our babies from being born prematurely. On December 3rd the twins arrived - almost 2 months early. Our daughter, Makena, was just 3 lbs. 5 oz., and our son, Cade weighed in at 3 lbs.13 oz.. Both babies were whisked away to the NICU where they had feeding tubes inserted and were put into incubators. Cade also was put on a respirator since he was not breathing on his own.
Although the medical team in the NICU were highly skilled and did a great job - having premature babies stuck in the hospital for weeks and in some cases months makes for a rough start in life. Our situation was additionally challenging because of our own extenuating circumstances. The contractor who had been remodeling our home to make room for the twins had gone bankrupt leaving us with a house torn half open in the middle of what was a record cold winter. While my husband dealt with that, I got the news that my mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This compounded the postpartum depression that I had already been experiencing. With Christmas almost upon us, things weren’t too Merry for our little family.
When Christmas Eve arrived that year, things were relatively calm but by no means bright. Dan and I were in a darkened NICU surrounded by beeping medical devices and dozens of medically fragile babies including our own dear Cade and Makena. While everyone we knew was attending holiday parties and church services, we were in the hospital feeling isolated, worried and alone.. Suddenly, and much to our surprise, a Santa arrived. He made his way around the NICU delivering small, cuddly stuffed bears to all of the families - a first Christmas gift for each of the babies in the hospital. More importantly, he offered a kind word, a friendly smile and hope for all good things in the coming year. I don’t believe I ever appreciated any Christmas present more than those 2 little bears sent by the March of Dimes and delivered by Santa. That gesture provided us with support at a time when we very much needed it.
I’m happy to say that our story has a happy ending. Both Cade and Makena grew out of all of the problems that are a part of being born prematurely. With continued good medical care, our children did more than survive; they thrived! Currently they are sophomores in college and doing very well.
As for the 2 little stuffed bears, we proudly display them in our home each and every Christmas. They remind us to be thankful for not only our wonderful children but for the support provided to us and so many other families by the March of Dimes.
Our Ambassador Family is supported by Willis Construction, Brady SoCal, Inc. and Helix Electric.