Friday, April 15, 2011

How the March of Dimes Have Helped Families Just Like Ours

As I whole heartedly plan for the "Reids Return on our blog", I am starting tonight with sharing info on this year's March for Babies event. This will be our second year of participating in honor of our very own once tiny, miracle babies and heroes. This year's event will take place on May 7th at Auditorium Shores here in Austin. Please visit our team page at:

Here is an article I wrote for the Austin Moms of Multiples Group in which I am a member.

From Head to Toe
(Ways Your Donations Have Already Helped)
& How it has affected our family

BRAIN~when a baby is born too soon, the brain and other organs haven’t had time to fully develop. Furthermore, premature babies are at high risk for brain hemorrhages. When brain hemorrhages occur, the baby is at high risk for Cerepal Palsy and/or other conditions.

Jenna experienced bilateral high-grade ventricular hemorrhages. Most babies with high grade hemorrhages are later diagnosed with mild to severe CP. We are extremely fortunate that Jenna did not develop that prognosis, she defied some great odds (Another reason we call Jenna one of our “miracle babies”).

SMILE~every year, more than 6,800 babies are born with an oral cleft. MOD researchers identified a gene that is responsible and are working on preventions.

SPINE~Thanks to MOD folic acid education & fortification campaigns, fewer babies are born with neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

LUNGS~After Surfactant and nitric oxide therapies now save the lives of tens of thousands of babies who are born too soon and who suffer from respiratory distress syndrome.

Jenna and Blake received a steroid a few days before their birth to help speed up the development of their lungs in case they were born prematurely, which undoubtedly was the initial MAJOR intervention that saved their lives. Blake and Jenna were born with respiratory distress syndrome. They were on respiratory support/ventilators for the first couple months due to their lungs being underdeveloped. Blake was placed on a highly specialized vent due to complications prior to PDA surgery. The changes and advancements in respiratory medical technology for preemies in the last five to ten years has allowed many babies, including Jenna and Blake a safer and stronger fight against respiratory distress.

EYES~Premature birth and certain birth defects can lead to blindness. Scientiss are studying the genetic causes and are developing treatments to cure vision defects.

Many premature babies develop Retinopathy of Prematurity. ROP often results in significant vision impairments or loss. Blake suffered a severe form of ROP, called RUSH in which his retina was beginning to pull from the lens, which would result in the loss of his vision. What began as a routing eye exam while in the NICU, ended with an emergency laser eye surgery. He underwent surgery within an hour of detection in an attempt to save his vision. We are extremely blessed that his surgery was successful. Unfortunately many premature babies are not as fortunate. .

HEART~Heart defects affect 1 in every 100 babies and are responsible for taking the lives of more babies than any other birth defect. MOD advances in diagnosis and surgical treatment mean better survival rates for the tiniest of heart parients.

Being born four months premature, before their hearts were fully developed, both Blake and Jenna were born with PDA. Jenna received a mediation twice that eventually closed the PDA. Blake’s PDA required heart surgery.

On their second day of life, Blake experienced a pulmonary hemorrhage. This condition usually always results in loss of life. He had to be recessatated and all we could do was wait to “see what the next 24 hours will bring”. Amazingly, our little boy beat those amazing odds, pulled through and gave the world yet another reason to clearly see why we deem him a “miracle baby”. Soon after he underwent PDA (heart) surgery. As suggested above with the tiniest heart patients, Blake’s surgery increased his survival rate significantly.

HEEL~Thanks to the MOD volunteer advocacy efforts, most states now screen babies for 21 or more serious but treatable conditions. A tiny drop for a newborn’s heel could save his/her life.