Thursday, March 11, 2010

Time to March for Babies

March is here, which means it is time to start thinking about Marching for Babies!!! This year Team Miracle Monsters will be participating in our 6th March for Babies event. In 2009 we had a record year – taking over the #1 spot for an individual walker (Carissa) raising $3567 and for the very first time coming in #1 among the Family Teams raising a whopping $6133, WAY above our goal for the year! And of course we couldn’t have done any of it without YOU!

When we became pregnant for the first time 6 years ago, I don’t think either Chris or I ever imagined anything but a normal, healthy pregnancy and baby. I did all the right things. I took my vitamins, had regular checkups, ate right, didn’t gain too much weight and yet 30 weeks into my pregnancy that all changed. With 10 weeks to go and LOTS to do, the last thing we imagined was being told to go directly to the hospital and that we would have our baby within 2 days.

Braden came into this world 10 weeks early by emergency c-section with a tiny cry and fighting attitude. I woke up not knowing if we had had a boy or a girl or if they had even survived. I didn’t get to hear his tiny cry. I didn’t get to snuggle with him. I didn’t get to see his tiny face. He weighed only 1 lb. 11 oz. and measured 12.5 inches long, he was tiny and beautiful and had the fight of his life beginning. He fought hard…and 77 days later we were finally able to have our family of 3 together in OUR home.

He continued to fight and thrive. He had crappy lungs that gave him lots of trouble. He endured monthly shots, countless nebulizer and inhaler treatments and even a stay in the PICU. But through all of it he continued to thrive and kept us smiling and laughing on an hourly basis. Today at almost 6 years old – he is a caring, loving and sensitive little (big) boy. He LOVES to be outside and can’t wait f

or spring (even he is getting sick of the snow!). He wants to be a Monster Truck driver when he turns 16 and already has his truck named and the blue prints drawn. His imagination and memory amaze us every day and we can’t imagine life without him.

When we found ourselves pregnant again in 2008, we thought we were prepared for everything. The doctors were hopeful that Braden was a ‘fluke’

thing and that maybe we had a chance for a normal smooth pregnancy. Again, we did all the right things, and then some. I was only seen by a specialist. I took all my medications including giving myself daily shots of a blood thinner into my stomach. I took it easy, ate as much protein as I humanly could and yet…at 20 weeks we knew we were probably heading down the same path. The difference between this pregnancy and Braden’s was that we were prepared, we were ‘looking’ for signs, we caught them early. At 24 weeks I was placed on hospital bed

rest with 24/7 monitoring and daily ultrasounds. The baby wasn’t growing, had cord issues and barely any fluid. Every day we prayed for him to gain an ounce, to grow big enough that he would have a fighting chance in the outside world. We had the support of so many, we were so lucky. Chris became super dad splitting his time between the hospital and home, our parents were amazing in helping with the care of Braden and supporting us. Blake hung on for 4 weeks before showing us that it was time to take on the outside world.

Blake Joseph was born by c-section 12 weeks early. Even though I was allowed to be awake this time, I couldn't hear him cry, because he didn’t. The fact that I didn’t get to hear either of my sons crying right after birth makes me sad – that is such a normal thing, one I will never experience. Instead he was rushed from the room and placed on a breathing tube. In true Blake fashion, he opened his eyes and watched the doctors and nurses the whole time. He weighed 1 lb. 6 oz. and was 11.25 inches long, shorter than a ruler. He too had a fight on his hands and following in his big brother’s footsteps, he amazingly flew through the NICU. After 68 days we left the hospital as a family of 4, two brothers finally got to meet face-to-face, it

was a day we will never forget or take for granted.

Blake has done wonderfully at home. He is an easygoing,

happy baby who loves his big brother and pretty much everyone else too. He has the biggest grin and contagious laugh. And although he faces some challenges in the future he isn’t letting anything slow him down.

Braden will be 6 in June and he will start Kindergarten in the fall. Blake just turned 13 months and keeps us very busy. Each and every day we are reminded that things could have been so very different and we are so grateful. No matter what we had to go through – in the end, we got to bring our sons home. The March of Dimes is working towards the day when every baby is born healthy. Seventy-seven cents of every dollar you donate goes towards their mission of helping mothers and babies. They funded the research that led to surfactant, which both of our boys received, without it their lungs probably would not have been able to work correctly and they might not have made it home.

Each year when I sit down to write this letter, I wonder if I should continue to ask for your support and donations year after year. I feel like we've been given so much, that it is hard to ask for more. But then I think of the friends that we have met along this path who have been in our shoes and those that sadly didn't get to bring their babies home and the ones still struggling with the effects of prematurity years down the road. We do this year after year for them too and for all the families that will be affected by prematurity down the road, because unfortunately 1 in 8 pregnancies still end in premature birth.

Our team goal this year is $4350 which is $30 for every day our boys spent in the NICU (145 days)! Can you help us reach it? Can you help us be #1 again? Would you like to join Team Miracle Monsters and help us celebrate Braden and Blake on May 8th? We'd love to have you!! Please go to .

Thank you again for all the years of support!
We are truly blessed!
Carissa, Chris, Braden and Blake
Team Miracle Monsters

(If you have questions, shoot me an email! Remember all donations are tax deductible!)

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