Mother knows March of Dimes’ needs very well

Andi Youngblood Powers, the librarian at the Wolfforth library and the mother of two young children, one of whom was born 10 weeks prematurely, left the following notes three years ago on a family blog for the March of Dimes to help other parents in similar straits:
“Danica Maelynn Powers was due to arrive in the world May 4th, 2006. But that Saturday, February 25th, she was delivered more than ten weeks early, by emergency c-section. She weighed in at a tiny 2 pounds, 14 ounces.”

“Let me introduce you to really sick baby in NICU. You must wear a protective gown. You must scrub fingertips to elbows with an antibacterial solution. We were discouraged from speaking near her. We couldn’t hold her. We could not move her. No bathing. No changing her diaper. Obviously no feeding her since she had a feeding tube. There were plenty of days that she couldn’t even tolerate being touched, especially by me. Your job as a parent is to sit there and be a witness. That’s it.”

“Her oxygen saturation, which should be between 95-100% was suddenly dropping into the teens. I watched her turn blue. Literally blue. Even on the ventilator she refused to breathe. I watched them yank off her connection to the ventilator and attach her to a manual squeeze bag. I watched them force air into her lungs from the bag. They finally had to heavily sedate her to force her to accept the ventilator.”

“And as I watched I cried. Of course I cried. During the daytime I was there with her by myself, which made it harder. I am queen of slapping on a happy face. But everyone has their breaking point. And I reached mine again and again.”

“Every night I pray for the parents feeling lost and helpless in NICU. I pray for the tiny babies, and I thank God for the one we have. I thank God for the science and the technology and the wisdom of her doctors. Danica’s story has inspired so many people. Miracles happen.”

Fifty-two days after Danica was born, her parents, Chris and Andi, took her home.
Some three years later, Danica still displays the tenacity and feistiness that her mother believes brought her through in the NICU.

“She was a fighter from day one,” said Andi.

Now Andi is busy organizing family and friends for the March of Dimes March for Babies, which will be held April 25 in Mackenzie Park. The four-mile walk will begin at 9:30 a.m.; registration will begin at 9 a.m.

Andi has high goals for her team: she would like them to raise $2,500 for research to prevent premature births and to help babies who are born too soon or who have birth defects. She will have 15 to 20 people walking on her team this year, but said even more importantly than walkers, she needs people to give money.

The research from the March of Dimes helped both her and Danica, Andi said. Andi developed eclampsia, which led to the premature birth, and March of Dimes has done research about that. Danica had a condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus, or PDA, in which small holes in the heart valve allow blood into the lungs. March of Dimes does research on PDA as well, Andi said.

Andi said even though times are tough economically, the March of Dimes fund is special to her and she will continue to raise money. Even though she was pregnant with Danica’s new brother, Brennan, she still put a team together last year to march.

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