Like a lot of folks, I think, I knew nothing about prematurity before Ollie was born. Unless you know someone or have been there yourself, the common thought (I think) is that premature babies are just born small. Or, maybe not born small, but that babies born too early just won’t make it.
We all know now that ain’t the truth.
Babies born too early are small, true. But they also face different challenges that I never considered. Take eating for one: babies develop their suck, swallow & breathe reflexes around the 34th or 35th week of gestation. I thought it was just something babies knew how to do right away (which is true for term babies), and never thought that Ollie would have to “learn” how to eat. Because he was born before that reflex was developed, we struggled with feeding him when he started on bottle feeds. He would forget to breathe, or dribble his food out because he didn’t realize he had to swallow, or he’d have the breathe and swallow part down, but forget to suck.
The reflex that we do day in and day out. Premature babies forget to do it! They forget to breathe! Isn’t that odd, to think about? But it makes sense. They’re not supposed to breathe for weeks yet, of course that won’t be part of their essential skills yet. He’s not supposed to be breathing yet, he’s supposed to be swimming in amniotic fluid.
Pretty crazy, when you think about it. The things that you’d never expect to encounter, because premature babies are just small.
Sooooo not true!
So the race is on. The race is on to help the March of Dimes raise money to find out even more things about premature babies and help them through their rough patches.
It’s not a race, per se, it’s a walk. But you get the idea.
The March for Babies is an annual walk that year after year, raises money to help keep that research going for ongoing development of methods of keeping babies alive that, even 20 years ago would have faced a far more devastating prognosis.
So, this walk we’re talking about, it’s something I feel compelled to participate in. Ollie benefited many many times over from the things the March of Dimes has researched, so I have to give back. It’s common courtesy, really. The give-and-take of friendship.
The March for Babies Event invites Walkers to participate by asking their friends and families to sponsor them in the effort to reach a goal dollar amount. Even if you can’t participate, you can still donate to the cause, helping Team EARLY OLLIE! reach our goal.
My goal for my team is $250.
That’s about $3.00 for every day he spent in the NICU.
So, you’ll see in the next few days, a ticker somewhere here on this-here blog that shows how close we are to our goal. It’s easy to donate, and I know Ollie would thank you if he could talk. Now, he might blow a raspberry in your direction or grab your nose, but without this research, he probably wouldn’t be able to do anything.
I’ll also be updating on our fund-raising progress and ask for you to sign up to come walk if you can. I’ll also walk-through the donation and sign-up process when I get that, too.
Walking’s easy. Walking’s fun. Walking’s good for you….and good for premature babies!
Here’s the details.
Our Milwaukee-area Walk is Saturday, April 24th, registration begins at 9am with a 10am start time. It’s a three-mile tour of Milwaukee’s Lakefront, starting at O’Donnell Park. It costs nothing to sign up, but I will ask that you work a little bit to raise money for TEAM EARLY OLLIE!
I speak from experience….it really is a good cause. And if the weather’s nice, the Team Honoree might be there!