March for Babies 2011

It was cold and dreary when I got three of my four kids up and ready for the day. I had everything prepped the night before and we were ready to rock and roll to the city to march for babies.

We arrived without a problem (a major bonus for me, who doesn't like driving in anything that remotley resembles a city!) and parked. I unloaded the kids and attached our poster. The green flower on the left says:

George David Lastname
born: 11/20/08
35 weeks, 1 day
6 pounds, 8 ounces, 19 1/4 inches long
baptized: 11/22/08
went home: 11/29/08
RDS, nG tube, bili lights

The purple flower on the bottom left has the names of our sponsers and our friends who have late- term preemies. I have photos of him with his siblings and a few from the first year. Sadly, the poster blew away when we were walking back to the car.

The area was filled with load music, venders and people walking to support the littlest of humans. We saw the nurse who discharged George, now the mother of a late-term preemie herself. The hospital social worker was there, our friends and Mother Nature:

Mother Nature and her fairies stopped by to say hello. Camille refused to have anything to do with her and Georgie wasn't too thrilled either. I think he was annoyed that it is May 1 and still sleeted today. Well, you know, so was I!

(See that GIANT BELLY in front of Georgie??? That's our friend who is FULL TERM today! Yay for giant bellies and big strong babies! That's what we walked for!)

After a photo op with our team, a news station showed up! One of the NICU babies recieved milk from a donor mom to help his gut heal from NEC. The donor mother lost her daughter to the same disease and donated her milk to help him grow. She now has a newborn daughter. The news station was filming a follow up to the donor milk story that they covered in the summer.

The weather was overcast and cool and as the morning went on, it got cooler. I roasted last year, so this year I had the kids in shorts and shirts with only one blanket between them. Camille spent most of the time huddling under the blanket and I layered by new t-shirt over his clothes!

I contacted the March of Dimes office this year and had Georgie's poster put on the Baby Boulevard wall. It is awe inspiring and humbling to see the posters in honor of, and in memory of, so many babies. I was walking with friends who have a 24 weeker, still in the NICU. He is doing well but, like all of us, they still have a long road ahead. In spite of Georgie's many challenges, we are very very lucky.

Maybe BECAUSE of his challenges, we are very lucky.

Maybe we are just lucky and blessed to have him, period.

Georgie and Camille napped in the stroller and Cole napped in the Ergo while we finished our walk. After chatting with some new NICU parents, I grabbed lunch and then, as it began to rain, we left.

As my (FULL TERM!!!) friend said, the sky was dreary but the sunshine was in our hearts. We had new parents join us- yes, because their babies were born too early but they are alive and growing. We have wonderful friends. Even though our children have various degrees of challenges, their lives are wonderful, valuable and honorable. They are adored by their parents and friends.

The March for Babies is the one place where I know I am not alone. Everyone there has been touched by a premature baby or a child with special needs. I don't have to mice words or dance around the REAL emotions of what happened. We can be honest with each other and get and give support.

The NICU and prematurity rollercoaster isn't one I would wish on anyone... but if you have to ride, at least you have friends to hang on with you and hand you the barf bucket when needed.