Please Be Our 100

Last week, my husband and I marked our 13th anniversary as parents.  Put another way, our oldest child had her 13th birthday one week ago, marking the day we first became parents.  Many of you are familiar with our story.  The story that our daughter may have never been born and we would have never become parents at all.  The story that confronted our faith, stared down the doubt in our hearts and faced fear head on. Brooklyn is a beautiful and healthy thirteen year old, and no matter how many years pass us by, I am still moved to tears to reflect on the moment when an obstetrician reviewed my medical history and advised us to consider terminating our pregnancy.  My burn injury is obvious, but it was the unknown condition to the repair of my descending aorta that had so much cause for concern.  I wanted nothing more than to have my baby, and having a physician lay out the risk of my death before my very young eyes was terrifying and infuriating all at the same time.

I had a plan.  And terminating our pregnancy was not at all part of it.  More importantly, God had a plan and His plan echoed the words of Jesus, “What is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 1:27).  We clung to that scripture, and on March 4th 2001 at 11:24pm our precious baby girl made her entrance into the world, weighing five pounds, nine ounces, five weeks early due to the onset of preeclampsia.



It would have been foolish to proceed with our own family planning agenda without further investigating the condition of my aortic repair.  Therefore, a little over a year later, I had a transesophageal echocardiogram, or TEE, performed to assess the current state of my repair.  Following the procedure, in my drug induced state, I repeatedly asked the cardiologist one question, “Will I be able to have more children?”

The answer was, obviously, “yes!”  But my second pregnancy wasn’t without complication.  A mama’s body remembers pregnancy and is somewhat ahead of the game for subsequent pregnancies.  Every mama knows what I’m talking about.  That belly may not get bigger overall, than the last pregnancy, but one thing is apparent, that belly gets bigger faster, and that caused incredible discomfort for me the second time round.  I remember my husband getting home in the evenings and telling him that I just couldn’t stand to stretch anymore for one day.  It was so uncomfortable.  But it was well worth it, because I got one amazing little man.  My very first son was born December 23, 2003 at 7:26pm.  We gave him the name Jaron, which means “he will sing; he will cry out.”  Jaron was my largest baby, weighing in at exactly seven pounds; not large compared to many others, but large for me.  My narrow pelvis presented a challenge for every one of my deliveries, but since my abdomen is scarred, my doctor avoided C-Section at all cost in order to avert the likeliness of a skin graft.  Jaron was quite distressed upon birth and was taken to the NICU and placed on a ventilator.  Despite his arrival with respiratory distress, he was out of the hospital and home with us after eight days.  My now ten year old is strong and active, as any athlete would be.



My heart held the dream of a somewhat large family, but I knew my abdomen couldn’t accommodate it.  I visited my plastic surgeon and he released scar tissue and did skin grafts to my abdomen, groin and inner thighs; the abdomen for previously stated reasons, my groin and inner thighs in attempt to help with the delivery process.  This made a tremendous difference in my third and fourth pregnancies.  Still yet, it was incredibly tight, but I carried Caden longer than any other of my children.  He arrived only eleven days early on August 15th 2006 at 8:40 a.m., weighing six pounds, eight ounces.  Caden did amazing.



Our fourth child, Gavin was born July 13th 2009 at 6:32 a.m., weighing five pounds, four ounces, five weeks early; again, due to preeclampsia.  Gavin came out vigorous and strong, but it wasn’t long until the magnesium that I was on throughout labor started taking a toll on his little body.  Gavin also ended up in the NICU for respiratory distress, but came home on a monitor at five days of life.



Every one of my pregnancies was a challenge.  None of them were easy breezy.  Every one of my deliveries were hard.  Each child was born with the assistance of vacuum and forceps.  I was quite consistent in my pushing, getting every one of them out after approximately two and a half hours.  It was exhausting, it was thrilling, and it was scary.  I had the privilege of bringing four incredible human beings into this world.  But again… wasn’t without difficulty.  It was actually laden with complication, and some my say, for that, I am foolish.  But I had a plan, remember?  I had a plan of a big family and I knew, with God, that was possible.


Thankfully, there is an organization who helps babies born with complication.  They have developed materials to educate women on how to grow healthy babies; not merely just be pregnant, but how to grow a person.  This organization has researched and formulated drugs given to babies for their best chances of survival after birth.  This organization dedicates funds to continual research and development for babies.

There are many who have a dream to be a mom, but that dream comes with challenges.  Sometimes, despite doing everything right, things go wrong, and there are interventions utilized in those moments, thanks to the contributions from March of Dimes.

As you tuck in your children this evening, or ponder the memories of days gone by, please consider those families who haven’t had the opportunity and consider those families who do, because of what someone else gave.  Our goal is to have 100 friends support us.  100 friends giving $5 each, helping us raise a total of $500 for the babies.

Would you please consider clicking here and making a $5 donation on our behalf?  Your donation honors many families and it honors those of us who dedicate our professional lives to care for the sick babies, to make them well…..forever there is hope.

Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. NIV

March_of_Dimes_WhereYourMoneyGoes_poster    please be one of our 100 for $5

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A Meaningful March

A question that I was asked frequently toward the end of nursing school was, “Where are you going to work?” Some seemed surprised when I responded, “In the NICU at Saint Francis.” First of all, I was a burn survivor and second of all, I promoted Hillcrest Medical Center with my burn survivor story. But there are many stories that make up my life and who I am. One alone does not define me or guide me. Every experience contributes to the person I’ve become and the work I desire to do. As passionate as I am about burn care and the compassion, drive, sensitivity and motivation that burn care nurses provide, my eyes were opened to a whole new world in December of 2003. My first son, Jaron Michael was my biggest baby, born on December 23rd weighing 7 pounds. To our disbelief, Jaron was in respiratory distress and was taken to the NICU at St. John where he was intubated. Forty eight hours later, he was extubated and we were anticipating a quick transition to home. However, we were unaware of the common need for phototherapy and IV caffeine.  It was a heart wrenching process.


Despite every intention to avoid another visit to the NICU, that is exactly where Brandon and I found ourselves when our fourth child, our third son Gavin Lee, was born on July 13th 2009. I had a sudden encounter with some very disturbing symptoms. I lost part of my vision, had a bout with expressive aphasia followed by dysphasia, then transitioned into receptive aphasia. My husband rushed me to St. John Medical Center; I was admitted, and started on the dreaded magnesium sulfate. Once the symptoms had subsided and I was faced with the fact that my baby was going to be delivered five weeks early, I lay in bed and wept, knowing the inevitable. I prayed for the Lord to help me accept that once again my baby would be whisked away by virtual strangers and I would not be able to be with him.


These encounters developed my heart for this area of care. And today I get to do for other babies what I so desperately wanted to do for my own. I support these babies and their families through my work and my walk. For a girl who wasn’t supposed to live, and then wasn’t supposed to be able to walk, and who wasn’t supposed to be able to have children, I get to live and walk with my children for other babies and their families. And that is exactly what we did last week.

Every year we set a $500 March of Dimes fundraising goal; a hundred dollars for each baby. You see, we have five babies in our hearts. We had Brooklyn, and then miscarried our second baby, we had Jaron, our first NICU baby, then Caden, and then came Gavin, our second NICU baby. There is a personal drive to support moms in growing healthy babies, and in helping sick babies get well. It’s all pretty simple, but intricate too.

Our fundraising for 2013 came to $585! Thank you to all who gave support. Every donation, big and small, makes a difference. It made a difference for our family and it makes a difference to this nurse.

How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7 NLT


Thank you to our sponsors! Allison Bacon, Mindy Beasley, Stephanie Bennett, Betty Bermudez, Misty Berryhill, Natalie and Donnie Clyma, Susan Cochrane, Court and Lisa Dooley, Margaret Edmonson, Rob and Amanda Emery, Gayle Foster, Sherry and Tim Kelley, Robin and Kirby Meadows, Renda and Nathan Rapp, Emily Forth, Lezlie Glass, Elizabeth Herber, Lori Kelly, Jammie Kern, Megan Lindsey, Kayla and Felipe Martinez, Julia Morrison, Kristy and Greg Morrison, Brandon and Athena Rainbolt, Trevor and Amber Randall, Ray and Emile Tucker, Channing Wedel , Teddy and Denise Wyatt.

March of Dimes Mission

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Could our story be of benefit for your group or upcoming event?  Click here to contact us!

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Choose this link to see a video of our story and some previous events

personal messages welcomed to

Thank you to our incredible sponsors!