Our story is one that most of you know. This version was written before Jack got sick and I haven’t had the heart to change it.
Our twins, Jack and George, were born at 28 weeks and 6 days after a completely healthy pregnancy with no complications. Their early arrival was both shocking and terrifying, and the next 125 days would change all of our lives forever. While we were initially encouraged by their healthy weight for their age (2 lbs 15 oz and 2 lbs 13 oz) and the fact that neither of them needed to be intubated at birth, all of that changed when they contracted a life-threatening, methicillin-resistant staph infection. Jack’s condition was particularly grave. His lungs collapsed over and over, and we were told to say goodbye more times than I care to remember. At his worst, he was on life support with six chest tubes inserted into his fragile lungs and medically paralyzed in the hopes of buying him more time to heal. It was, without question, the scariest time in our family’s life and one from which we may never truly recover.
We are incredibly fortunate, however, to know both the tragedy of prematurity and the miracles that can spring from its devastation. Both of our twins, neither of whom were ever supposed to leave the hospital alive, are now healthy toddlers. Jack has had two brain surgeries since he left the NICU and countless appointments with specialists and physical therapists. We were told he might never talk or learn to walk, but he is defying the odds and walked into preschool this September on his own two feet. My commitment to the March of Dimes stems from both the pain I experienced watching him fight to survive and the joy I experience every day watching him thrive and play with his brothers at home, right where he is supposed to be. The March of Dimes gave me hope when they were sick and provided me with a place to heal after they came home, and I’m honored to be able to have a way to give back.
Premature birth and its complications are the #1 cause of death of children under 5 in the United States. Babies who survive premature birth often have developmental chalenges and long-term health problems, including cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, chronic lung disease, blindness, and hearing loss. The United States preterm birth rate is among the worst of high-resource nations, with 1 in 10 babies being born too soon--and those numbers are rising. The maternal mortality rate in the United States is also the highest of any developed country in the world. The March of Dimes is working tirelessly to fund research and fuel efforts to reduce premature birth protect mothers to give every mom and baby a fighting chance.
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