Embedded in the March of Dimes
Westwood resident Abby Stern reflects on her efforts with the March of Dimes.
Editor's Note: The following column was submitted to Westwood Patch by Westwood resident and mother Abby Stern.
You may not know what the March of Dimes is.
I didn’t. Until I became the mom of a premature child.
I didn’t know that premature death is the number one killer amongst newborns; until I lost a newborn myself.
I became involved with the March of Dimes in 2003 after my twin sons were born twelve weeks prematurely. I had a complicated pregnancy and my first born son; Zachary, survived for only 7 short hours. His brother, Jared, spent 180 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
I was a first-time Mom who was grieving the loss of a child but needed to remain strong for my surviving son. Instead of joining “mommy and me” classes, my days were spent eating cafeteria food, staring at monitors and becoming way more knowledgeable in medicine than I ever cared to know. In a flash I became a nurse, respiratory therapist and pulmonologist.
Six months later my son came home. He had a tracheostomy and was attached to a ventilator. He also had a feeding tube. My life had no normalcy and my once organized household was now filled with oxygen tanks and medical supplies.
Fast forward a few years, and looking at my first-grader today, you would not know about his early arrival in life. We still face repercussions from his prematurity but I do not let that define who he is.
Throughout the years I have told our story and many ask us “How did we do it? How did we get through it?”
I look at my son and smile. It’s called unconditional love. I have learned so much from being the mother of a preemie. I have learned about strength and hope. I have learned not to sweat the small stuff and that health is really the most important thing in life. I have learned that it doesn’t matter that he was late to walk and talk, what matters is he is here with us. He is thriving every day and is our true miracle.
We are this year’s Boston Ambassador Family for the March of Dimes. Each year, my family has participated in March for Babies; an annual walk which raises money for the March of Dimes. The funds go to support programs in the community that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies. And it funds research to find answers to the problems that threaten our babies.
If you want to know more about our story or to donate to our March of Dimes “team” (Team JZ), please visit marchforbabies.org/abbystern.
Take a look at your children today, and help out the children of tomorrow.
About the Author: Abby Stern is a wife and stay-at-home mother (also known as household Judge, Cheerleader, Referee, Physician and Peacemaker) who loves to read, travel, bake and blog, but spends too much time playing the fore mentioned roles. She has two sons (ages 5 and 7) and is involved with the March of Dimes and Susan Komen Foundation. She has lived in Westwood for the last 10 years.