Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Help us Save Babies!

Hello to all of you Friends, Family, and Mothers!

Have you been affected by prematurity or do you know of someone who delivered their baby early? Did you have a difficult pregnancy? Do you know anyone whose child was born with birth defects? Do you know anyone who lost a child? (or are you thankful that you had a healthy pregnancy and baby?)

Then this email is for you!

Did you know that the March of Dimes primary purpose is to improve the outcomes of pregnant women by trying to prevent premature births and birth defects?

The annual 2010 March for Babies Walk is coming up in April. (Saturday April 24th in event details below) It’s a great family event (not a race) that all ages can participate in. Bring your children to show them how important it is to be involved with a charity. Once you attend this great event 1 time, you’ll be sure to attend again and again. And it’s a joy to hear your children say they are walking to help save babies!

My family has been chosen as the 2009 and 2010 Bay Area March of Dimes Ambassador Family.

Many of you know a bit about my story (if you don’t, I’ll fill you in briefly below), and have asked what you can do to help. There is a way to help! Help donate or come out and walk to help prevent families from knowing the gut-wrenching heart-ache of losing a child born too soon like my family did.

Before I had preemies, I had heard of March of Dimes, but never gave much thought about the organization.

I have created a video photo story to chronicle my story for last year’s walk. - I think you'll really enjoy it. you can watch it on my blog here:

March of Dimes San Francisco Ambassador Family 2009 from lizmccarthy on Vimeo.

My story:

I went through years of Infertility issues and finally discovered the joyful news that I was pregnant – and with triplets!! I sadly lost my triplet at 10 weeks. At 17 weeks, as I'm an "older" mom, I was told to get an amnio. Unfortunately, (due to the way the doctor did my twin amnio) my water broke on one of my girls’ sacs from the amnio. I was told to abort the pregnancy, as I would deliver in 24 hours and SHOULD I last longer, there was no way that I was going to have "healthy" babies. My life fell apart and changed forever in that instant.

I defied all odds and maintained my pregnancy for another 10 weeks on strict bedrest. As the doctors predicated, I did get an infection (and almost died) and first went into preterm labor at 23 weeks, my labor was delayed until I delivered very prematurely at a bit over 26 weeks. Each of my daughters weighed only 1 pound 10 ounces. This was not the joyous parenthood event we had dreamed about.

The worst of our news was yet to come: our first born daughter, Corinne, passed away in my arms a few hours after she was born due to her poor lung development from not having any amniotic fluid. My surviving twin daughter, Kaitlyn, spent 4 longs months in the NICU. Kaitlyn was very ill during her 4 months (127 days) in the Neonatal ICU. She had a heart surgery when she was 4 days old, which caused her vocal cord to become paralyzed, was on a ventilator for 6 weeks and we weren’t allowed to hold her, had eye laser surgery to stop the prematurity related blindness disease (ROP - it's why Stevie Wonder is blind), was fed via feeding tube, had countless infections, blood transfusions, and we almost lost her many times.

She is now almost 4 ½ years old and is doing quite well for how sick she was. We had to tube feed her for years. We finally celebrated and took out her feeding tube when she was 3 ½ years old. She wears glasses. She speaks very quietly. She is attends Special Education Preschool. After she came home from the NICU, for her first year of life we had well over 280 doctor/therapy appointments. Can you imagine? This was not the parenthood path I had planned to be on. But she is my joyous miracle and she has her special guardian angel twin-sister looking over her every day.

We've also added another preemie to our family: Quinn Edward McCarthy was born a “mere” 6 weeks premature in 2008.

Why am I telling you my story and about the March of Dimes?

Well, the March of Dimes does a lot of research into the causes and recovery of Premature babies. My daughters were both given Surfactant to help their lungs. (remember they were born each weighing 1.5 pounds) It's what saved Kaitlyn. Did you know the March of Dimes was responsible for this life-saving treatment of preemies? My daughter wouldn't be here today with us if it weren't for the March of Dimes. Maybe their research in the future will be able to help babies like Corinne. Did you know that the March of Dimes was also responsible for the life-saving research and funding to find the cure for Polio?

Every year the March of Dimes has a walk in honor of Premature Babies. It's called March for Babies.

People have been walking in support of The March of Dimes for a long time, (hence the name, March for Dimes.) Initially the walk was about raising dimes in support!


If you click on the link below you can do a number of things:

Did you know that Kaitlyn weighed the same weight as 6 rolls of dimes ($30). So that is our goal to get everyone to donate Kaitlyn’s weight in dimes.

1. Join our family team and walk with us and help raise money in honor of my twin daughters. There is a "register to walk" button on the page. If you don’t want to raise money, you can choose to donate and walk. But, please walk with us and help raise awareness for all that the March of Dimes is doing! The link to join our team:

2. Donate to the March of Dimes in the name of my daughters without walking. You can donate directly on-line (link below), or you can send a check to me, whichever is easier for you. The Link to donate to our team:

3. As this is such an important and family-friendly event, if you want to start your own family tradition and start your own Family Team you can do so here:

The details of the walk:

It's a 10K (that's about 6 miles, but there is a short family route also, that we'll likely take this year)

4/24/2009 8:00 AM –The Great Meadow at Fort Mason
Franklin and Bay Streets
San Francisco, CA

This year I've set a goal to raise $2,000 personally and our Family Team to raise $4,000!!! - I'm hoping that our Family Team can do it again!.

Thank you in advance, I hope you’ll choose to join our team and walk with us, it’s a LOT of fun!!!!

Liz McCarthy

Mom to 26w micro-preemie twins: (Oct 05): Kaitlyn (1lb 10 oz) and Angel ^Corinne^ (1lb 11 oz)

and 34w (July 08): Quinn


Katie, Eric, and Addison said...

We are gearing up for the March of Dimes in Charleston, SC and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story and helping so many others do the same.

We are coming up on our 1st birthday with our little peanut and her NICU reunion is set for about 2 weeks after that. Should be nice to see everyone and then go walk to raise money to help other little ones.

Kathleen said...

Your story made me cry. I just had a 36 week preemie due to preeclampsia and I was heartbroken and wanted him home so badly during his 1 week NICU stay. But that's nothing compared to how long you had to wait for Kaitlyn to come home so I can only imagine how you feel.