Two years ago I was nearly 6 months pregnant. After a year of trying on our own, and three years of medically assisted trying (and umpteen dollars and needles) we were looking forward to seeing our family grow. And grow it would, as we were eagerly awaiting twins. It was a great time. My pregnancy was going well. I was feeling pretty good. All our tests were looking fabulous for two healthy babies, a boy and a girl. Perfect.
But a month and a half later things would go terribly awry. After a lovely graduation affair for my husband and birthday wishes for The Snake, our parents would return to their homes. We were doing last minute preparations to move across the country. I went for a little farewell dinner at a friend’s new home. Suddenly, with no warning, I knew something was wrong. My water had broke, and I was just 29 weeks pregnant. Past the medical point of viability, but very worrisome nonetheless.
I went to the local women’s and children’s hospital, which included a level III NICU. Fortunately, I was not in labor, but the statistics for a premature deliver were frightening. I was placed on bed rest, given antibiotics and very closely monitored. Fortunately, Mr. Plum managed to do well with his loss of aminotic fluid for 17 more days. Those 17 days were crucial for my twins. But contractions had begun, and our little boy wasn’t liking it. After an emergent c-section, two NICU teams whisked off nearly half of my family.
In some ways, we were lucky. Twins are pushed to develop a bit faster than singletons. But regardless, my babies were having difficulty breathing. Both were given a dose of surfactant. Two doses each, in fact. And place on ventilators.
Surfactant is a bit like soap. It reduces surface tension and allows the alveoli (little air sacs) of the lungs to expand. “Surfactant is formed relatively late in fetal life; thus premature infants born without adequate amounts experience respiratory distress and may die.” The research necessary for the development of this drug was funded by the March of Dimes. Since surfactant therapy became widespread, infant deaths due to respiratory distress syndrome have dropped by over two-thirds. Research funded by the March of Dimes has led to many developments, including drugs to treat heart problems, jaundice, and methods to reduce premature labor.
We were lucky, our twins were only on a ventilator for about a day. They faced bumps in the road, but overall thrived in the 2 months they lived in the NICU. But without research funded by the March of Dimes, they would not have survived. We would not have the amazing family we cherish today.
Please support us in our March for Babies to raise money for the March of Dimes. Not only will you help save premature babies like ours, but you will also help pregnant women all over the world to have healthier babies.
Just look at what can happen —