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Why I march

I am excited to be this year’s March of Dimes Val Verde team captain again and I am hoping that you will join our team!

Doesn’t it just make perfect sense that a school district would care about healthy children? That is what March of Dimes supports- healthy babies. My own daughter (now 19) was born prematurely and it was through the grace of God and medical science that she is perfectly healthy and in her first year of college- She is the reason I walk!

Audrey is why I walk. Your child is why I walk. I walk so that all babies are given a fighting chance for a healthy start.

Why I walk ~ Rae

19 years ago I almost died.

I know that sounds dramatic.  Usually I just say I got sick and my baby was born a little early.  BUT 19 years ago I did almost die.I had done everything right; formulated every last detail. I dated 3 years before marriage and then waited another 3 years for a child. I even planned my delivery for April, the perfect teacher pregnancy schedule. I willingly gave up my one vice, soda, for my child’s wellbeing. If I had a girl, she would be named “Audrey Rose” after my admiration of Audrey Hepburn and my love of reading (there is a really twisted book titled Audrey Rose) or my boy’s name would be “Blake Edward” after my father. I had it all figured out.I wonder if God chuckled at all “MY” plans.

I was determined to be a “super-preggo” with no complaining or whining. I was not going milk my condition, because women have babies every day. I read all the books. I quietly bore the Charlie Horses. I endured the strange cravings. So when I had to pull over on the freeway and open my door to hurl, or dash frantically from my classroom to the bathroom, I never grumbled.  I did everything the doctor told me (Although someone could have warned me about the first ultrasound visit with the wand- YIKES). I tried not to get frustrated when the sonogram was inconclusive about the baby’s gender. I had wanted to know, but as long as the baby was alright then I took it in stride. I accepted all that came with being pregnant.

I never griped at the Doctor’s office either. Which is why my condition almost went unnoticed.My 22 weeks’ appointment started as usual. The nurse took my urine, blood pressure, weight and dutifully recorded all the results. The doctor measured my belly and we were done. She concluded by asking about how I was feeling. I exclaimed everything was great… except I was a little swollen. She told me that was normal but then decided to check my swelling.

You know those super cute pregnant women with adorable bellies and fashionable clothes? I was not one of them. I gained weight everywhere. I am not kidding; my ankles, my face, even my fingers became enormous. In addition, my 1998 fashion forward overalls were not kind to the Pillsbury Dough Boy look alike I had become. Towards the middle of my pregnancy I was so uncomfortably huge, I began wearing my husband’s sweatpants and tennis shoes with the laces removed.

It is never a good sign when a doctor gasps as mine did when she saw my legs. She looked at my chart and actually read my results. My blood pressure was off the charts high and I had gained 10 pounds in 3 weeks. She had me come into her office (also not a good sign) and informed me that I was suffering from Preeclampsia, commonly known as toxemia. I nodded my head like I understood what she was saying. She put me on bed rest for the duration of the pregnancy. Preeclampsia meant that the baby would probably need to be born early so I did not have a stroke. I nodded again and went home in a daze.Actually the rest of my pregnancy became a daze as I worried about my baby’s health and progress. Here are the highlights that I remember: I had a sonogram every week and never once could the baby’s sex be revealed (the BRAT!). I continued to gain weight and looked like a Character from The Nutty Professor. At 24 weeks I had to register at two hospitals for delivery, my local hospital and the hospital nearest me that had a NICU capable of dealing with a baby born before 32 weeks. I remember each week being a milestone: 24 weeks meant the baby had a 50% chance of survival; 27 weeks meant a 95% chance of survival with intense medical support. 30 weeks meant the risks of birth defects, vision issues and cerebral palsy decreased, but lung development would be an issue.??At 30 weeks my blood pressure remained high and I had headaches that left me immobilized. My pregnancy fog filled brain felt like it came from San Francisco. I remember thinking I should pack my hospital bag but I could barely function. On two occasions I was almost admitted to the hospital for inducement, February 27th and March 2. My full term due date was April 10. Yet every day the baby was allowed to stay in me was another day of much needed development. On March 9 there was no more waiting. My blood pressure was at critical and my platelets were so low that if I started to bleed, I would not clot. I was admitted and my labor was induced. The baby was 36 weeks old. I was induced at 6:00 pm March 9. The doctor told me two wonderful pieces of news:

1. It could take up to 3 days for the labor to fully take hold

2. I could have no epidural because my platelets were too low.

That was when I about lost my mind. No pain meds?????? UGG. I was not one of those brave women who wanted to have a natural birth. Nope, I jokingly asked my doctor repeatedly if she could just knock me out and wake me when it was over. By 6:00 am March 10th I was fully dilated to 10 (so much for the 3 days theory). At 9:23 am my beautiful baby burst into this world angry and crying. There was no better sound than those screams.

My beautiful Audrey Rose was born 4 weeks early at 5 pound 13 ounces, 19 inches long. While she was small and jaundiced, she was able to breathe on her own. The medical tests and treatments I received were in part developed because of the research funded by the March of Dimes. It breaks my heart to think what would have happened to both Audrey and I had we gone through this pregnancy 30 years ago. The March of Dimes impacted my life without me even knowing it or asking for it. While my case had a happy ending, there are other babies and families that need the March of Dimes to continue their important work.

Audrey is why I walk. Your child is why I walk. I walk so that all babies are given a fighting chance for a healthy start.  

What doesn’t kill you should make you motivated.???

Your gift matters

By raising funds for March for Babies, you’re building a brighter future for moms and babies everywhere. You’re helping March of Dimes advocate for policies to protect them, support radical improvements to the health care they receive and empower families with programs, knowledge and tools. Every dollar you give today makes a real difference in your community and across the country.

Fundraising goal: $500
47 days
left until the event!
Saturday, May 04, 2019
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