Tag Archives: March of Dimes

Heartbreaking Shadows

Life isn’t fair.

On Christmas Day, an acquaintance gave birth to twin boys – so obviously I was immediately partial. Then I learned her precious gifts were initially scheduled to arrive in the Easter Bunny’s basket instead of Santa’s sleigh. They were 24 weeks gestation – the minimum considered to be viable outside of the womb.

Continue reading


March With the Muppets

Every year, millions of people resolve to get fit and healthy. It is by far the most popular end-of-year resolution. Well, the new year has arrived and it’s back to reality. Vacation is over and we’re back to our daily routines. It’s the third day of the year – so right about the time that New Year’s Resolutions go out the window.

Last year this blog’s main focus was on the new normal of prematurity. This year is a fresh start and, since the muppets are big giant babies these days, I foresee a theme of the hilarity of early childhood. To aid this thematic transition, I would like to present you all with an opportunity to keep that popular resolution.

The March of Dimes March for Babies is an event that raises money in support of programs that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies. And it funds research to find answers to the problems that threaten our babies (like being diagnosed as “tiny”). These walks have been taking place since 1970 and have raised an incredible $2 billion to date.

On May 15, 2011, the muppets will be walking in support of all tiny babies. Start training now for the five-mile jaunt in Gilroy, CA. (Five miles may not seem like much until you try marching it behind a twin double stroller…)

And we want to see you there: Friends, family, nurses, preemie parents, MoMs, double trouble enthusiasts…

Join our Team
Join me and the Classy Moms mothers group in this fight for health – yours five miles down the trail and all the little lives the March of Dimes will touch.

Officially join our team at http://www.marchforbabies.org/team/MarchWithTheMuppets

Why is our fundraising goal $270? Seems like a random trivial amount considering it’s in honor of the million dollar miracle muppets doesn’t it? I designated this as our team goal as a symbol of our honorees – born at 27 weeks gestation. This isn’t a fundraising ploy – this is a request to come out and walk with us in a show of support for your favorite muppets and all their peers.

March for Babies take place all over the nation – look for one near you if the Muppet March is geographically undesirable for you.

I am so immensely grateful for all the care the muppets received during their harrowing first few months; I wholeheartedly support anything that potentially eliminates the need for the 2010 preemie chapter of this blog.

So get started on that fitness resolution. Start walking. You’ve got five miles in front of you. The muppets have so many more.


Fight for Preemies

Little lives are at stake.

Today, Nov. 17, is the Fight For Preemies, 7th Annual Prematurity Awareness Day. The March of Dimes asked bloggers from around the world to post their story on the same day to draw attention to the crisis of premature birth (birth before 37 weeks gestation) and its toll on babies and families.

I never thought I’d end up a mommy blogger. A world-famous Newbery Medal recipient, sure, but it instead appears my writing talents have headed down the road less traveled. One of my girlfriends started blogging about the random stories of mommyhood shortly after I found out I was pregnant.

“I think I’ll start a blog,” I decided one afternoon. I signed myself up on WordPress and there my page template sat for several weeks. No magical article-writing elves appeared to tell my story, so I sat myself down and announced to the global online community that Double Trouble was coming to town. I figured this blog would be a single source location for family and friends. I could sporadically post clever little anecdotes and event photos.

On April 13, I posted an article shouting from the rooftops that I was officialy having a normal pregnancy. Two weeks later, my world turned upside down. I started writing more and more – detailing and journaling my experience on bedrest and ultimately as an ante-partum patient in the hospital as I prayed for healthy twins.

Jon and I became parents on May 28, 2010. Our precious muppets were born weighing 2 pounds 3 ounces and 2 pounds 2 ounces. I held Search in my arms for no more than 10 seconds after his birth. I watched Destroy get wheeled out of the OR wrought with tubes and encased in a plastic incubator. They were born 12 weeks too soon. And then I passed out.

I didn’t get to meet my muppets the day they were born. I spent hours shivering uncontrollably in a recovery room – demanding water from a nurse who tried my patience to its last nerve by insisting on following medical protocol instead of catering to my thirsty whims. Five hours after they were born, Jon was indoctrinated into life as a NICU parent. He was crying when he came back, but he reported they were doing amazingly well.

The next day, I learned why people believe in love at first sight. Our nurses and doctors were cautiously optimistic. The muppets were all I could think about. So throughout the next 10 weeks, I took to the Web – sharing my thoughts, feelings and fears to anyone who may happen upon here. As I talked to people and shared our story, it seemed everyone knew someone who was premature. Suddenly, my new normal was “preemie parenthood.” Term babies seemed jumbo and odd.

I found the March of Dimes website accidentally as I scoured the Internet looking for any and all information on the hospital jargon being thrown at me. I became a mother on a mission. My boys were coming home healthy if I had to get a medical degree to do it.

The NICU staff laughed. “When you leave here, we’ll be sending you home part parent, part nurse.”

I heard the story of one man born in 1932; there was little to no hope for him. Doctors told his mother to go home and put him in a shoebox in the oven to keep his temperature up. I had the same reaction you are all having now. But today, there aren’t these amazing miracle stories. And that’s because of the development of medical technology and scientific know-how. At no point was the word “if” ever uttered when discussing the muppets future.

I never thought prematurity would be the cause I’d get behind. I did everything I was supposed to, but fate/humanity had other ideas and life isn’t fair. My body was broken but my boys are fighters.

Next week the muppets will be six months old; they’ve been home more than four of those. They’re laughing now and it’s hard to remember how tiny they truly were when we first started our journey home.

I’m proud to join the Fight for Preemies. I’m proud to be a preemie-parent. And I’m proud to be the mom to such nifty NICU grads. Next week our family will return to the hospital for a well-check with our pediatrician, and I expect at least one of the boys to tip the scales at 15 pounds – a far cry from tiny two pounders.

Maybe in 30 years, research will have come so far that no worry lines will ever develop on the forehead of a parent who meets a child born too soon. And I’ll keep blogging about my boys. Here’s to the banality of childhood memories – times two.

The March of Dimes asked us to blog for a baby we love today. I write for my muppets. Because in their words, “We need to fight ― because babies shouldn’t have to.”

But if any literary agents are out there – I’m still gunning for that Newbery. Just sayin’…


Put the NICU Nurses Out of a Job

As part of a campaign to generate awareness about the crisis of premature birth in our country, the March of Dimes designated November as Prematurity Awareness Month. Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death worldwide. And the rate of premature birth has risen by 30 percent since 1981.

“We need to fight for our little ones so they don’t have to.”

Every year, 1 in 8 babies are born prematurely – that’s more than 543,000 children. This year, that number includes my twin boys. Compared with one baby, twins (or other higher order multiples) in California were about six times as likely to be preterm in 2007. A traditional pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks; full term is considered at 37 weeks. My muppets arrived in the middle of their 27th week – 12 weeks early.

I don’t call them my million dollar miracle muppets just for fun. Care for preemies costs more than $26 billion a year – 10 times greater than the average expense of a full-term newborn. The costs break down as follows:

  • $16.9 billion (65 percent) for medical care
  • $1.9 billion (7 percent) for maternal delivery
  • $611 million (2 percent) for early intervention services
  • $1.1. billion (4 percent) for special education services
  • $5.7 billion (22 percent) for lost household and labor market productivity

(These estimates come from Preterm Birth: Causes, Consequences and Prevention, a 2006 report published by the Institute of Medicine and funded in part by the March of Dimes.)

Having a child draws out a wide range of emotions in any case. I remember lying in my hospital bed, watching nervous and excited moms rush into the Labor and Delivery unit. Inevitably, I’d hear the mom or dad gleefully shouting that they were about to meet their new family member. I’d always envisioned that same scenario for my family. Instead, I was wheeled into the OR sobbing, clutching a nurses hand as I chanted “chubby babies, chubby babies.”

Born three months premature, my sons were a tiny two pounds. But from the very beginning they were perfect in all the littlest ways. They each had a distinct personality and a desire to make their preferences known to the world. I am a mother, a mommy to two precious twin boys. My husband and I are parents. But they were not yet really ours. You meet your children and you would do anything for them – then you are faced with the guilt of not having provided enough to keep them out of harm’s way.

I learned so much during the 10 weeks my boys were residents of the NICU. They had the most amazing nurses, who patiently explained everything to my husband and me and cared for the muppets as though they were their own children in the hours we couldn’t be with them in the hospital. Those nurses became family.


My muppets are doing great. They’re great big boys (at five months old) and spend their days smiling and giggling. With each passing day, the NICU becomes more of a distant memory. But for all the families currently going through that experience, I hope someday the NICU nurses are all out of work because they are no longer needed.

November is Prematurity Awareness Month. Chances are somebody you know has experienced the roller coaster of emotions a baby born too soon brings. – it’s far more common than we like to think.