This Saturday, ReALife LLC will be participating in a yard sale that will take place in front of Cardinal Health in Radcliff, KY. ReALife LLC owners Jason and Jeannie Smith will be on-site distributing information about their company’s dog waste removal, pet sitting, and dog walking services. The public will be allowed to register for services at this time as well as enter into a drawing for various prizes.
“The reason for this event is to raise financial support for the March of Dimes,” Jason said, “In keeping with the spirit behind this event; we will be donating 10% of our sales from this event to support a friend of mine who is highly involved with the March of Dimes.” For privacy reasons, Jason’s friend has asked to omit her family’s last name from this article.
Julie, a high school friend of Jason’s who resides in Toledo, Ohio, is an active participant in the March of Dimes. Julie is the mother of 2-year old Ethan who was born 10 weeks premature.
For Julie, everything was going normal in her pregnancy until she reached 26 weeks. At that time, she experienced complications when she found herself in a puddle of blood. Her husband Matt rushed her to the doctor, where she was promptly admitted to Labor and Delivery at Toledo Hospital. Fortunately, the baby showed no signs of distress and Julie’s bleeding stopped completely after about an hour. After a few days in the hospital, the doctor discharged her with instructions to limit the amount of time on her feet and to cut back on heavy housework.
On June 3, 2008, Julie began having contractions which sent her back to Labor and Delivery. A few hours after being admitted, she began leaking amniotic fluid. This is a great concern because leaks may cause infection to the mother or the baby. The doctors planned to keep Julie pregnant until 34 weeks as long as her water didn’t break.
Around 5:30 p.m. that evening, her water broke and the doctors were left with no other choice than to allow labor to progress. At 10:02 p.m. Ethan, at 3 lbs. 9 oz. and 16.5 inches long, was born. Within an hour of his birth, the medical staff rushed Ethan to Toledo Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where he spent the first 52 days of his life. Julie admits that this was one of the most difficult circumstances she and her husband ever had to endure.
“We were not allowed to touch him without first sanitizing our hands,” Julie said. “We were only allowed two visitors at a time in his room, and while he was in an isolette, we were only allowed to hold him for a half-hour at a time twice a day.”
A couple weeks following his birth, Ethan experienced a massive apnea attack that scared the new parents.
“His heart rate dropped to the 40’s and his oxygen levels dropped to 17,” Julie said. She described that in a matter of seconds she had him removed from his isolette. “I had him face down while vigorously rubbing his back. His stats returned to normal almost instantly.”
Today, Ethan is a normal, happy, healthy two-year old. Fortunately, for the Julie and Matt, Ethan survived his premature birth. For some, the story does not always have a happy ending. That is where the March of Dimes comes in.
The March of Dimes was born after Franklin D. Roosevelt became a victim of polio in the summer of 1921. After defeating polio through its life-saving research, The March of Dimes shifted their mission to saving babies from silent crisis or premature birth, according to marchofdimes.com.
Marchofdimes.com states, “Our mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.” The March of Dimes accomplishes its mission through research, community services, education, and advocacy to save babies’ lives. Researchers, volunteers, educators, outreach workers, and advocates work together through the March of Dimes to give all babies a fighting chance against the threats to their health: prematurity, birth defects, and low birth weight.
Shortly after Julie and Matt returned home, their doctor ordered blood work to ascertain the cause of her pregnancy complications. The results of the blood work indicate that Julie has a clotting disorder. As a result of this disorder, Julie and Matt faced two tragedies in 2010, when they lost two babies at a gestation of 5 weeks each.
“I lost my second baby on April 1 and my third baby on June 15,” Julie said. “I am currently on an aspirin regimen as a pre-conceptive to help prevent another pregnancy loss.”
Last year, Julie organized a team to walk in The March for Babies. Her team managed to raise $400 for The March of Dimes.
“This year, I will be walking again,” Julie states. “I will walk for my son who was born prematurely, for my two angels I lost, for the babies currently fighting to survive in the NICU, and for the babies who lost their fight.”
“It is truly an honor and a privilege to be able to share Julie’s story with my community,” Jason said. “We look forward to being able to contribute to her cause at the conclusion of this event.”
People can help support the cause of the March of Dimes by donating funds, participating, volunteering, or by becoming a partner.
For more information on the March of Dimes, visit www.marchofdimes.com.
Story and pictures used by permission.