I’ve declared that 2019 is a year for doing new things. It’s a year with major goals in mind, growth and giving back. As a business owner I’ve been thinking about ways to give back to organizations that mean something to me. Well, as a newborn photographer and Aunt that watched in amazement as my nephew conquered the NICU as a preemie, I could think of no better charity to support than March of Dimes this year.
I will be donating 5% of all newborn sessions booked in 2019 to Supporting March of Dimes in honor of my nephew, Nathan.
Nate’s Journey into the World
I remember the day well, it was a Friday morning in early May and I had just talked to my sister, Lauren, on the phone and everything seemed to being going ok. Though she knew a premature birth was a possibility I don’t think she could have ever imagined what was about to happen that day.
In a matter of hours she was being rushed by ambulance to Uconn Health Center in Friday afternoon traffic. Though the details weren’t all clear to me at the time, I understood she was 5cm dilated and in active labor and expected to deliver her baby at just 25 weeks old.
And just like that Lauren and my brother-in-law, Sean, were prepping for all sorts of scary scenarios no parent ever wants to think about.
Now if you don’t believe in the power of prayer, maybe you will after you read this because what happened next could only be attributed to a lot of people praying that this baby would be born safely without any medical issues and thrive as a healthy baby.
What very much looked like an imminent delivery suddenly came to halt. My sister was able to get the necessary medicine for lung and brain development into her system. And if that wasn’t enough she kept that baby inside for another 23 days!! 23 days!! Talk about a real-life super hero.
When you are dealing with premature birth, every single minute, hour, day and week is so critical to the baby’s development.
Nathan was born at 28 weeks weighing in at 3 lbs 1 oz. And from the start proved to be a fighter. Crushing all his milestones, gaining weight, eating and breathing on his own sooner than expected and after a 52 day stint in the NICU, went home a healthy 5lb 10oz, 35 week old baby.
It’s probably the closest I’ll ever have to live this myself as I watched Lauren and Sean go through this. And as I experienced the NICU myself when I’d go up some evenings to rock with him, premature births are a reality for many families. At times it was a very sad place to be and I went home each time grateful for the three healthy boys I had waiting for me. I can only imagine the pain of having to leave your baby behind each day is nothing short of a form of torture. The strength of Lauren and Sean from early May to mid-July when they got to take their baby home is nothing short of amazing. If you know them personally I know you’ll agree with this.
Today I am happy to report that our Nathan continues to be a superstar. He is right where he should be for his birth age, not gestational age meaning he is doing everything an 8 month old should be doing, not a five month old.
And if you look at him today, you’d never even think he was born a full trimester early.
And for all our family has to be grateful for today, this is why I can think of no better charity to support this year. On May 5th we will be marching with team “Can’t Wait Nate” to help raise money and awareness for the health of all babies and mothers.
Lauren and Nathan both received top notch care at Unconn Health Center in Farmington, CT, which is what all women and babies deserve. If you are looking for a worthy cause to donate to this year, please consider donating in honor of team “Can’t Wait Nate”.
Cheers to year full of continued growth, Nate, and keep crushing those milestones. You are amazing!
Katie Pugliese is an on-location, natural light maternity, newborn, child and family photographer specializing in emotional modern photography. Serving all of Connecticut.