Audrey Baldwin

Why I walk

We are so honored to share that our Sweet Shay is the 2017 DC March of Dimes Ambassador. Our goal is to raise $4,300 (one hundred dollars for each day Shay spent in NICU) by April 30th and we hope you can help us!

On March 9th 2015, an otherwise healthy second pregnancy took a quick and terrifying turn when I was admitted to PW Novant at 27 weeks. Spending 3 weeks on hospital bedrest was anything but 'rest' as staff closely monitored Baby and I. Smiling faces reassured me that everything would be fine, despite the unending worry of Baby arriving at any minute and the realization that our second daughter would be a preemie. I cried so many tears for my one year old at home. For the husband who worked full time and took over every household duty. And for my 26 third grade students whom I felt like I had abandoned; unable to return to school for the year. Each time I was overwhelmed with fear and confusion, a friend or co-worker sent food, flowers, love, and prayers. And again, I'd cry, in gratitude for those around us. Family visited and helped care for Reese. Neighbors mowed our lawn so we could spend every moment with our daughters. I read every website, e-book, and blog and spent hours with family, friends, and hospital staff who told me, "it'll all seem like a bad dream before you know it".

Shay was born in emergency c-section at 30 weeks (3 months sooner than big sister, Reese). I desperately pumped every hour around the clock to begin my milk supply. She was unable to breathe on her own for several weeks. I learned NICU vocab and asked questions. Hundreds of questions. Patient hospital staff answered every concern. Like many newborns, she was jaundice and had reflux. But Desat (desaturations-oxygen level drops to a dangerous range) after Desat after Desat resulted in constantly requiring a nurse to rescue her. She turned blue in my arms. More than once. Then, we fought Bradys (bradycardia-significantly low heartrate) for weeks. The fear I felt for her life was terrifying, yet every nurse who saved her, changed her IVs, took her blood, and held her had a calm confidence-all the while knowing she would be ok. Time, they told me. All she needed was time. I commuted 4 times everyday back and forth to be a mommy to Reese at home and a mommy to Shay in NICU and yet I mourned every moment I wasn't with the other daughter. Helpless. I felt helpless.

43 days we were able to hold our infant for short periods of time. 43 days we didn't bring our new baby home with us. Shay spent 43 days in the NICU slowly gaining weight and growing strong.

The support our family received was insurmountable. The attention the nursing and hospital staff gave to my then 1 year old made her feel like a celebrity and take her mind off of missing her mommy at home. She would walk through the hospital gaining sticker after sticker and high five after high five from hospital staff and everyone knew her well. Reese enjoyed the 'opspital' and took walks, hand-in-hand, with my OB, cafeteria staff, as well as nurses.

Shay is a miracle. There is no doubt. Currently, she is meeting her milestones and is on-track. She will continue to have issues with breathing as her lungs were not fully developed at birth, but with her fighting spirit, she will continue to grow.

Please join us and walk with Novant NICU Ninjas! We never imagined this experience would happen to us and that's the reason we encourage you to participate. Thank you for supporting the March of Dimes.

Thank you for contributing to help make this goal. This year, we walk with other Novant NICU Ninjas and their families. We walk for those babies who were lost over the last year and all those who will struggle to survive this year. Thank you for being a part of our lives and supporting our team.

A special thank you to the following sponsors:

Your gift matters

Funds raised in March for Babies support research and programs that help moms have full-term pregnancies and babies begin healthy lives. And they will be used to bring comfort and information to families with a baby in newborn intensive care.

Fundraising goal: $8,580
257 days
left until the event!
Saturday, May 05, 2018
0 Donors | 21 Visitors

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