Marching for a Miracle: A Mother’s Love for Her Son and Dedication to Helping Others Like Him
Rachel was only halfway through her pregnancy when her water broke. Fear pulsed through her as her husband, Steve, rushed her to the hospital unsure of what this meant for herself and their unborn baby. When she arrived at the hospital, her mind raced as she stared back at the serious faces of the doctors and nurses who surrounded her. She tried to understand the gravity of the words they were saying, the long list of symptoms that were tied to the fact that her body had started this process so early. A process that was supposed to be beautiful, natural… how did it get so complicated?
As the doctors spoke to her, their words seemed jumbled, and Rachel tried to wrap her mind around the fact that they were asking her whether or not she wanted to move forward with her pregnancy. The answer was simple. Of course she did. This was her baby they were talking about. Her sweet boy, Samuel, who she already loved so much. She was going to give him the chance of having a life.
The decision made, the doctors told Rachel what her decision entailed. For the next five weeks, she would be on bedrest, unable to go home and be with her two young children and husband. It was incredibly frustrating not to mention frightening as her mind played all of the potential symptoms of a premature birth over and over: Apnea, Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Intraventricular Hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain), Patent Ductus Arteriosis (a heart problem which can lead to heart failure), Necrotizing Enterocolitis (a problem with the baby’s intestines), Retinopathy of Prematurity (abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye), Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (a lung condition), and increased risk of infection.
Finally, the big day came! Born at just two pounds, two ounces, Samuel came into this world a fighter! He had to fight every day to stay alive. Three months early, his little lungs were extremely underdeveloped and there was no way of knowing how his tiny body would fight off infection. Just a simple cold could be life-threatening. Rachel and Steve couldn’t even hold him when he was born. For a long time, it seemed as though he wouldn’t survive the next day or week. But, through support from the March of Dimes and the hard work and dedication of the NICU, Samuel pulled through. Now, he’s about to celebrate his first birthday!
“God saved his life,” Rachel reflects, “When the odds were stacked against him, he not only survived birth, but as we partnered with the NICU medical team and the generosity of the March for Dimes, he thrived! After three long months there, he is now at home. At almost one year old, he is perfection.”
Seeing the sweet, adventurous, inquisitive boy that Samuel has become, it’s surprising to think about him as the helpless, unbelievably tiny baby he was less than a year ago. But, for Rachel, the image is still at the forefront of her mind. Every time she looks at her son, she is flooded with gratefulness to not only God, but the March of Dimes and the NICU.
“Every day is a balance of living life as normally as we can,” she says, “we expose him to new places, new people, and new experiences, but at the same time, every sneeze, cough, or sniffle, has us turning him away to protect him. It’s a balance of not letting fear of the possibilities consume us, being wise, and advocating for our child.”
So, she figured there was no better way to celebrate her baby boy turning one-year-old than by being a Team Captain for the March for Babies, a walk to raise funds and awareness for the March of Dimes and their mission to end premature birth and its symptoms. During the 3.8 mile walk (.25 for those who have “keiki”—children), Rachel imagines Samuel quietly take everything in, respond to every smile he sees, stretch, babble, and snuggle, and take a snooze as they finish walking in celebration of his miraculous life.
The Walk for Babies begins at 7:30 AM and participants will arrive at 6:00 AM to register. It begins and ends at the bandstand at Kapiolani Park in Honolulu, Hawaii. Rachel’s team will gather together to walk in honor of Samuel’s life. When the walk is completed, each guest will use their March for Babies ticket to enjoy a myriad of items donated by the March of Dimes. Children can romp around a post-march carnival with vendors and bounce houses, all in celebration of the March of Dimes. It’s the perfect way to celebrate Samuel’s first year of life.
A cause that is incredibly close to Rachel’s heart, she wanted to make sure that the invite to join her March for Babies team was personal, immediate, and beautiful. Using Hobnob, she was able to pick a template and create a simple, clear event. Providing those who could attend with instructions for joining her team as well as a donation link for those who could not join, her invitees could immediately see what the event was for, learn more about the cause, and make a contribution—whether that be joining the team or helping raise funds.
“I love Hobnob. It just makes sense.”
On April 22nd, Rachel, Samuel, and their team will join together and walk for a better future for babies everywhere. Raising awareness, celebrating life, and spending time with friends, guests are sure to enjoy this amazing event. You can learn more about the March for Dimes and their mission by visiting their website here and you can make a donation.