March for Babies

As with so many other babies in the blogging world, Lucas was born too soon. He was due on my birthday (January 23), and born right before Christmas on December 23, without warning or any other indications. He was borderline, being born at 35 weeks, weighing 5 lb 7 oz - they didn't rush him off to the NICU, but waited to see how he would transition on his own. He was admitted about an hour after birth due to respiratory distress, and spent 8 days there.

Lucas in the NICU at Women and Babies Hospital

I remember saying to my mom: "I really hope this doesn't happen to Kristin (my sister, who was due at the beginning of April), because it's living hell." I had no control over my baby, and there were visiting hours! You mean I couldn't be there 24/7? I could only touch him/hold him if the nurse said it was okay. I understood why, but it was really tough as a new mother, who wanted so badly to take her baby home and be left alone. 8 days was a VERY short stay there, compared to many babies.

Lucas on the day we brought him home from the hospital

So, Lucas came home on New Year's Eve, with a bunch of follow-up appointments, but otherwise healthy. January went by, and Lucas reached his due date. Then my mom called me on Saturday, January 26, with some very urgent news: my sister had delivered 10 weeks early, again without any warning whatsoever. I was devastated for her, and couldn't stop crying, because I knew the pain, the guilt, the emptiness of not carrying a baby to full term and the long NICU stay he had ahead of him.

Ryan in the NICU at HUP

Ryan was born weighing 3 lb 9 oz, and spent 35 days in the NICU at The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Today he is a 13 month, happy, healthy little boy, with NO lingering complications associated with premature birth. But still, he was born too early.

Lucas and Ryan in May 2008

2008 was a tough, yet very joyous year for our entire family. Lucas and Ryan were soooo lucky, insofar as they survived premature birth without the many complications associated with it. Lucas came home with a list of health concerns, none of which were caused by premature birth. Not all babies are so lucky. Many never leave the NICU. Others come home with respiratory issues, visual impairment, among other things.

Lucas and Ryan on Mother's Day 2008

Where am I going with this? The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. My sister and her husband are participating in the March for Babies in honor of Ryan and are asking for your support. They will be walking in the Philadelphia area on April 26, 2009. If you are interested in sponsoring them, or making a donation to the March of Dimes, you can click here or click on the March of Dimes widget on the sidebar of my blog. One day, all babies will be born healthy. Together we can make a difference. Thanks for your support.

This is the most recent picture I have of the boys, taken in February 2009