1 in 10 babies in the U.S. is born too soon. Right here in Huntsville, babies are struggling because they were born prematurely or with birth defects, and our state ranks low on the list for the country. In fact, Alabama is one of only three states to score an ‘F’ on a premature birth report card issued by the March of Dimes. With a preterm birth rate of 11.7, the only states to score lower were Louisiana and Mississippi. Simply put, this is not acceptable to us.
There are so many worthy causes to support, and this one is near and dear to our hearts here at Rocket City Mom for personal reasons. Many of our writers have gone through the very scary experience of having a preterm babies, one even more than two months premature.
Our RCM family has been through twins, breech births, emergency C-sections, and stays in the NICU. Thankfully, we all eventually got to go home with our new bundles of joy.
But not every baby gets to go home.
Team Jack’s Story
High school sweethearts Kyra and Adam did all the right things. Kyra’s pregnancy was going smoothly, the nursery was done, names were chosen, and they were excitedly getting ready for the best day of their lives. At 38 weeks, they thought that day was coming soon.
After a Friday afternoon check-up, everything was good to go. Kyra had a normal ultrasound, blood test, non-stress test, and headed home. Then Saturday morning arrived. She woke up when Adam arrived home from a night shift and felt the baby kick. A few hours went by and no kicks. Kyra and Adam went to the hospital and were told the baby had no heartbeat.
Less than 18 hours after everything was deemed perfect, Jack Petro Zewe was 38 weeks stillborn. Jack was 6 lbs. 12 oz. and 20 inches long. He looked just like his dad. He had a full head of wavy strawberry blonde hair. He had ten fingers and ten toes. He appeared to be so perfect.
“We will never forget the too-few hours we got to hold our lifeless son in our arms and try to memorize every detail about him through our tears. We never got a chance to hear him cry or call out for us. We often wonder what he would look and be like today. All we have left are the nightmares of leaving the hospital with empty arms and belly, driving home with a vacant car seat.”
Today, the Zewes have two boys, Luke and Noah. They will never know what happened to first baby boy. They hope to remember what would have been Jack’s 5th Birthday together with his brothers at the March for Babies.
A March We Can ALL Get Behind
Chances are good you already know a family like the Zewes that have been affected by pre-term birth or at worst, lost a child in the first few weeks of its life. Honoring that baby during the March of Dimes awareness campaign can be a thoughtful way to show a family you’re thinking of them – and support efforts to keep it happening to someone else at the same time. We’ve included a few different ideas about how to do that below.
Option 1: March In Their Name
Join other local families on Saturday, May 4th, at HudsonAlpha in Huntsville to March for Babies. It’s a fun community event that includes a 5K, a kid’s Superhero Sprint, activities, entertainment, and prizes. You’ll have the opportunity to walk, run, or jog in honor of a baby or family you know.
Option 2: Support a Local Team
Can’t make it to the March for Babies? Consider making a gift to a team in Madison County to help meet their goal. Every little bit counts, and by taking part in March for Babies, you are funding programs that provide comfort and support to moms and babies across the country. Your proceeds fund cutting-edge March of Dimes research to find the unknown causes of premature birth and birth defects.
Option 3: Spread the Word
If time and money aren’t things you can give, help advocate for the March of Dimes. Share Jack’s story, or Kaya’s story, or Will’s story on social media. Find out more about efforts to battle preterm births in Alabama. Support prenatal healthcare for all women and recognize it as crucial to healthy babies and whole families throughout the state.
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Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.