March for Babies (Minus One)
Ellen Osborne has the world’s best reason for missing this year’s March of Dimes March for Babies. She hasn’t missed the walk for the past five years, but this time she has a very special delivery in mind – the birth of her third child.
Serious down time
Ellen’s newest arrival made her appearance just last night. She was delivered at 34 weeks, an early delivery, weighing in at 4 lbs, 6 oz, but this pregnancy felt a lot longer to Ellen. Two serious pregnancy-related complications meant doctors needed to keep Ellen under close watch and she spent the last two months on bed rest.
“I felt like I was getting a little delirious,” said Ellen with a chuckle. “If you have to go through something like this, there’s no better place to be. Everyone here is so awesome. When I want to complain, I'm not complaining about being here… it's just the situation is not ideal. Everyone at Methodist is seriously so awesome.”
A NICU veteran
With her early delivery, Ellen's baby will spend some time in the Methodist Women’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). But it’s a place that feels a little less scary than it did when her first daughter was born. Born at a very early 24 weeks, Caddie spent 119 days in the NICU, fighting each day of her life.
“She was one pound, 12 ounces,” said Ellen. “We didn’t know if she would come home. We took everything day by day. Caddie inspired a lot of people.”
During the time they were watching, waiting and praying for Caddie to be strong enough to go home, they found help and hope not only from the doctors and nurses at Methodist Women’s Hospital, but also in the March of Dimes.
“From the high-risk nurses when we first got admitted, to our great NICU doctors, everyone there was just so helpful, informative and accommodating to us and our family. It helped us to be able to go to the staff and go to the March of Dimes website to give us peace of mind or information when we needed it.”
March for Babies
This is why Methodist Health System is a long-time sponsor of the March of Dimes. The annual March for Babies is just one corporate-sponsored event employees love to support. The event Saturday, April 28 at Lewis and Clark Landing in downtown Omaha is a family-friendly event, complete with breakfast and plenty of fun kids’ activities. March for Babies raises money to support research which focuses both on helping moms have full-term pregnancies and the problems that threaten the health of babies.
“The mission of the March of Dimes is to promote and advocate for healthy pregnancies so that in turn we can reduce the risk of infants born pre-term or with birth anomalies,” said Cindy Mirfield, service leader at Methodist Women’s Hospital NICU. “Our partnership with the March of Dimes is both to continue to support that research and share it with the community so our patients can have healthier pregnancies and babies born premature have better outcomes. Families of NICU babies also benefit from the support services provided by the March of Dimes.”
Methodist staff has raised more than $5,000 every year over the past nine years while participating in March for Babies. Along with corporate sponsorship, Methodist also has a number of participants who come back year after year – particularly NICU staff members who enjoy seeing so many familiar faces.
“One thing that is really fun about the walk is that our staff can interact and have a mini-reunion with the former NICU families that also participate in the walk,” said Mirfield. We are always excited when we get to see a baby that has been with us and gone home and is doing well.”
Grateful… every day
Ellen knows first-hand the importance of the March of Dimes’ research. That’s why she walks year after year – with this year being an exception. She need only look at the sparkle in her now five-year-old daughter Caddie’s eyes.
“Caddie is old enough now to know that the name on our t-shirts is hers,” said Ellen. “She knows she was born early, and we know without the research of the March of Dimes she wouldn’t be here. Ten years ago a baby in Caddie’s position probably wouldn’t have made it. We feel strongly that the more money the March of Dimes gets, the more research they fund, maybe more babies will make it.”
And that gives Ellen even more hope for her newest sweet NICU arrival.