There are three main reasons we participate each year in March for Babies: Donovyn, Tristyn, and Naethyn.
Our first son, Donovyn, was born the week of Thanksgiving in 2005. I was a high school French teacher traveling between two school sites. It was proving to be too much when my BPs began elevating at several check ups. My doctor prescribed bedrest and a 24-hour protein screen. At my next appt., my doctor was admitting me to the hospital because I had developed severe preeclampsia. I was swollen and I could hear the fluid in my feet. He told me to pack until Christmas. I called my husband, drove home to meet him, and packed a bag. When we arrived at the hospital, I was having contractions 4 minutes apart! I remember doctors talking about goals and the plan that would change a few times over the next couple of days. I had the magnesium drip and the steroid injections. When the results of the next screening were more off the charts and it was becoming increasingly harder to breathe, everyone agreed that it was time to deliver. Donovyn was born at 32 weeks and weighed 3 lbs 2.8 oz. I never got to hold him on his birthday. We visited him often after the evening shift change. We learned about Kangaroo Care and finally started having bonding moments. He had platelet transfusions, phototherapy, and a feeding tube. He spent 3 weeks in two different NICUs. He was discharged about a week and half before Christmas. Donovyn is 9 years old and in the 4th grade. He has an IEP for speech (stutter). He loves horse riding, bowling, Skylanders, Minecraft, anything Star Wars, and Legos.
This is Donovyn at the second NICU. Not too much bigger than the Beanie Baby Fetch. Another week before coming home:)
When we learned that we could have more babies, we waited a year before we became pregnant with our second son. I was going to be monitored and we had things in place such as weekly ultrasounds and weekly NSTs after a certain gestation. I was still teaching and I was about 26 weeks along heading into a long summer break in 2007. I was scared, but hoping that we could carry this little one longer. It was another boy and we were going to have two under the age of 2. About a week before teachers were due back at work, I had that routine ultrasound which showed that I had lost almost all of my amniotic fluid! I called my husband and drove myself to the hospital. Once he got there, we discussed the plan. I was currently 34 weeks and knowing that each additional day mattered, I wanted to give him more time inside. My body was not tolerating it any longer and we delivered. Tristyn was born weighing 4 lbs. 10 oz. He was in the room with us, something we had never experienced before. We never sent him back to the nursery and he was even healthy enough to come home! He would continue to need heel pricks every 2 weeks for 2 months to check bilirubin levels as his jaundice worsened even after an at-home bili blanket. A short break in breast milk to a gentle formula seemed to help that along. While every kiddo needs love, hugs, and attention, our son was going to need even more as he would be diagnosed with autism a few years later. He currently has DDD services along with additional therapies. A busy therapy schedule for us is about 10 weekly therapies: ST, OT, MT, feeding, therapeutic riding, and adaptive swimming. Tristyn is enrolled in a private online school (for now) and is in the 2nd grade. He enjoys horse riding, unicorns (really anything with four legs and hooves), swimming, computer games, and reading stories involving food items.
Holding Tristyn for the first time while listening to "our" chimes on the delivery floor.
We had two babies and we had plans to do the walk, but RSV season and pregnancy kept us away. It would be our third son, our last baby born in the month of March, who would bring us to the March of Dimes. We just didn't feel done and wanted another baby to complete our family. We knew it was a third boy well before the tech said anything at the ultrasound. We had outdoor plumbing and we were thrilled! Three Musketeers, very fitting for a French teacher. We had delivered two preemies, we were confident parents. We knew symptoms, we had a plan in place. I had been seeing the same OB for all three pregnancies until January of 2009. I had gone on bedrest at 21 weeks and also had an unwanted transfer of care to someone not as familiar with high risk patients. Just two prenatal visits with the new OB. I called the office one late afternoon because I had not been feeling too well. The doctor was not the least concerned. Well, a few hours later things went from bad to worse and I knew that I just needed to get the hospital. What would have been a 20-minute drive to the hospital with a Level 4 NICU was just 8 minutes! Luckily, there was no one on the road approaching midnight that fateful evening. I was in labor. I had a feeling. I was right. I parked as close as I could to maternity check-in and when I stepped onto the sidewalk, my water broke! A good samaritan got me a wheelchair and took me where I needed to go. Rattled off my info to nurses who had a trained look of crisis mode on their faces. Wearing black pants that night, I didn't know until I changed into a gown. It was not good and blood was pouring out of me like a faucet! Within minutes, I learned that our son no longer had a heartbeat and I was bleeding out. I had enough time to make the worst phone call of my life. When I came to, my husband was there and we were making decisions that no new parent should ever have to make for their baby. He was beautiful, perfect, and when I heard those words, for a second I thought he was okay. Naethyn was born at 30 weeks to the day. He was born on March 6th and weighed 3 lbs. 6 oz., numbers I won't ever forget. We held him, we loved on him, and we said our goodbyes. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do as human being. In the end, we learned that I had undiagnosed preeclampsia, a placental abruption, and a blood clot. It is thought that after the abruption, the blood clot formed. When my water broke, the clot opened up. I lost 60% of my blood and had 8 transfusions to save my life.
Naethyn completes our family. Not in a way we could ever have imagined, but he was here . . . and he still matters.
I found the ShareYourStory site a few days after our loss. A pamphlet was included in the baby bundle from the hospital. I found a virtual community full of people who understood the pain and all of the emotions of having a baby born too soon or with Special Needs. I found people with whom I could instantly connect and who understood what I was going through in a way that my closest circle could not. I had a place to put ALL of this and it was free therapy. Six years later, I can still be found on the site. While in the hospital with Naethyn, we saw the commercial for the upcoming walk in our area. We knew that we just had to do it that year and we did! Six weeks after our loss, Team Vazquez-AZ now known as Vazquez Bros., walked and fundraised for March for Babies. We continue to walk each year and hopefully inspire a love of community in our boys to give something back. We walk so that one day no parent will ever have to walk away with empty arms. Visit us at marchforbabies.org/Vazquez5.
Thank you for sharing this story! Your family is awesome (my boys were just talking about their "friends from AZ" and hoping they would get to play with them again someday)
Thank you for sharing the story of your beautiful boys, Lindsay. I know that Naethyn must be so proud of his family.
Ahh, no matter how many times I hear/read your story, I'm moved b y all that you and your family have been through. You are an inspiration and your boys are amazing. I love how you're teaching them to give back, to remember their little brother and to be strong and true to themselves.
So much love to you,
I knew you were a long time member of Share but I have never seen your entire story. Thank you so much for telling it again.
March of Dimes fights for the health of all moms and babies. We're advocating for policies to protect them. We're working to radically improve the health care they receive. We're pioneering research to find solutions. We're empowering families with the knowledge and tools to have healthier pregnancies. By uniting communities, we're building a brighter future for us all.
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