Story shared by Kortney and Jerad Tate
It is with great pride and pleasure that our family is serving as the 2017 March of Dimes Tuscaloosa Area March for Babies Ambassador Family. March for Babies is the March of Dimes' both the largest and signature annual fundraising event, and an unforgettable way to support the March of Dimes. We raise funds and walk to recognize our prematurely-born daughter, Madelyn.
In the summer of 2015 we decided that we were ready to expand our family. We were pleasantly surprised to find out in September that we were pregnant. We found out very early in the pregnancy and anxiously awaited our first appointment to hear our baby's heartbeat. Our lives went along as usual. I went to work teaching while also working on my master's degree while Jerad worked as a geologist in and out of town. We were so excited to tell our families and friends.
After our first ultrasound at eight weeks, we told our families and friends the good news. Everything was looking great with the baby's heart rate in the 140 range. After the 12 week ultrasound we announced to the world that we were expecting. Baby Tate was growing, had a healthy heartbeat, and was right on track. We were ecstatic and couldn't wait to welcome him or her into our family at the beginning of June 2016.
As the weeks passed, my baby bump became more and more pronounced. We found out we were expecting a little girl in December and the nursery decorating kicked off. Life was moving along and so was the pregnancy. Every checkup we had we heard that Madelyn was measuring right on track, her heart rate was excellent, and her anatomy looked fabulous. Up until I was hospitalized, I was having a great pregnancy and could not complain one bit.
On Valentine's Day I noticed that something was off. I figured I was just being a worry wart but thought I should call the on-call doctor just to be sure. After all, at my appointment on February 11, everything seemed fine. The on-call doctor told me to take it easy and rest but that if I still felt something was wrong to come in. After about an hour I decided we needed to go in and have everything checked. I was scared that I was either being silly or something was wrong.
My worst fears were confirmed when the doctor told me that I was in labor. I was only 24 weeks and three days pregnant. How could this be happening? I was given two steroid shots to help Madelyn's lungs develop, magnesium and Indocin to help stop the contractions, and hooked up to the fetal monitor to monitor Madelyn's heart rate. It seemed like it was working! I was sent out to a postpartum room after two days only to return to labor and delivery that night. I stayed on bed rest for a total of four days. Finally, on February 18 my water broke. I was just 25 weeks pregnant. Madelyn was born less than an hour later weighing 1 lb 9 oz and only 14 ½ inches long.
Once Madelyn arrived she was given surfactant to help clear her lungs. Madelyn was incubated for a month and she required regular ventilation until the end of March. On May 2 she was taken off oxygen completely. During the 114 days that we were in the NICU Madelyn had brain bleeds, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), multiple blood transfusions, and various other medical conditions.
Those days in the NICU seemed to fly by, but also took so long to pass. We learned that our girl was a fighter through and through (no matter her size). We were finally able to take Madelyn home on June 11, just a week and a few days after her due date. She weighed 7 lbs 14 oz. Madelyn did not require oxygen when she came home and was only on a few medications. She is now a happy and healthy baby that is developing nicely. We are so thankful for the care and treatment from the NICU staff and the March of Dimes for research that helped save our little girl. We are proud supporters of the March of Dimes and their efforts to give every baby a fighting chance at life.
To learn more about the March of Dimes, visit: http://www.marchofdimes.org/