April marks the one-year birthday of this blog, and the one-year "anniversary" since we discovered that our Sammie B wasn't really a "typically" developing kid. It's been an intense year. Right after her six-month check-up, when her pediatrician referred us to an ophthamologist for her vision issues (which began the roller coaster ride of a year we've had), we joined thousands of others in the March of Dimes March for Babies in LA (and others nationwide). At that walk, I heard a fellow mom speak that gave me a perspective I've carried with me throughout this year, and a perspective that has been my motivation to keep going . . . I wrote about her speech in one of my first blog entries. Her words -- that her daughter handled the oxygen treatments and countless doctors' appointments "with grace" and that they saw those things as just "minor inconveniences" on her way to conquer the world -- have stayed with me. I now follow her blog, and her life, and she (and her sweet Madeline, who because of prematurity, never saw her second birthday) have been such an inspiration to me.
This year, we will be doing the March for Babies walk again . . . with Team Sammie B. I'm sharing below our email we sent to friends and family asking them to support our team. I encourage you to find a March for Babies walk near you, and to do whatever you can to support this great cause. Because what greater goal than to one day have all babies be born healthy.
It is with gratitude and love that we will be walking, along with the other members of "Team Sammie B," in the 2010 March of Dimes' Los Angeles March for Babies on April 24. We will walk not only for our sweet Sammie B, but also for the many other babies that are born too early each year as well as the pregnancies lost too soon.
As many of you know, our Sammie B was born 5 weeks too early in 2008, after a pretty difficult pregnancy (including 6 weeks on bedrest, which at the time seemed like such a hardship, but in retrospect so insignificant . . . we are so very grateful our little bun stayed in the oven those additional 6 weeks!). Sam spent the first seventeen days of her life in the NICU, an experience that forever changed us. We know that she wasn't the smallest, or the earliest, or the most unhealthy of the babies in the NICU, and for that we were and are grateful.
We've also had an intensely challenging year with Sam - from eye surgery to an MRI to physical and occupational therapy appointments, glasses, ankle braces and more. Sam has some challenges that might be related to her pre-term birth or might not be, but we'll never know. All we can do is continue to forge on and keep on keeping on doing every single thing we can to help her succeed (and knowing in our hearts that she WILL).
We will walk to remember how lucky we are that Sammie B made it to 35 weeks gestational age, that she made it out of the NICU, and for the intense joy she's brought to our lives (and continues to bring to us and so many others)! Because if there is any word to describe this journey we've been on . . . it has been one of intensity. Intense worry at times, intensely challenging at times, but more than anything, it has been intensely joyful. Without question, it has truly been the best eighteen months of our lives. And all because of the little girl in the lavender glasses. For HER we are all most grateful.
Help us support March of Dimes' worthy goals of providing funds for invaluable research into prematurity (including research on an issue near and dear to our hearts --- raising awareness of the risks of even the late pre-term births like Sam's) as well as providing resources to other parents (like us) who find themselves dealing with pre-term labor, NICU stays and the other challenges that so often come with prematurity.
With love and gratitude,
A, B, and S