Click the link below to join then follow these steps to create your fundraising page.
1. Click the Create Account button
2. Enter and verify your email address
3. Complete contact information
4. Once you complete your account, you will be able to edit your goal, donation levels, image and your personal message.
Click here to join!
The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality
I married my high school sweetheart February 15th, 2014. We were ready for new beginnings and as we returned from our honeymoon, I started the LVN program at San Joaquin Valley College. Although I was in the nursing program and my husband and I worked rigorous hours, I could not wait to start a family. The moment we saw our little baby on the ultrasound, we could not be more excited and hopeful for the future. We imagined a healthy pregnancy and laughed at what we anticipated the delivery to be like, such as my husband fainting at the sight of blood and being more nervous than me! We debated names and were anxious to find out if we were having a boy or girl. We celebrated our sweet baby’s arrival with a gender reveal party. On December 13, 2014, with our family and friends surrounding us, we cut into a blue cake announcing we were expecting BOY! We were thrilled, to say the least. My due date was May 5, 2015 so we thought we had plenty of time to prepare for his debut.
Yet about a month later I began to have abdominal pain. At first I thought it was Braxton Hicks; and being my first pregnancy I was not sure how anything was supposed to feel. The pain became stronger and something told me that I should see my OB. Although I was given an appointment for the same day after I called, as time passed I felt the pains could not wait and went to the hospital. In the Labor and Delivery Triage they found that my blood pressure was elevated and began to collect lab tests. I stayed overnight where they collected labs, received two steroid injections, monitored my blood pressure and did not allow solid foods in case I had to deliver. After a two day stay I was released home on bed rest and told to monitor my blood pressure and take medication. However, the very next day I returned to the hospital due to my blood pressure being elevated, the abdominal pain returning and uncontrollable vomiting. I was admitted and monitored closely with labs collected again. The following morning I was told that my labs were showing that I was experiencing HELLP syndrome, Hemolytic, Elevated Liver enzymes, and Low Platelet count.
There is no evident cause as to why HELLP syndrome occurs or any treatment to prevent HELLP syndrome at this time. The only way to reverse the symptoms of HELLP is to deliver the baby. Since the symptoms were not improving, I was transferred from Kaweah Delta Health Care District to Fresno Community Regional Medical Center. That same day on January 29, 2015 at 4:59pm I had an emergency cesarean and delivered our baby boy, Ami Jaxson, weighing 460 grams (1 pound) 111/4 inches long. We did not know what to expect during our NICU journey since this is not how we imagined bringing our little one into
the world. Fresno CRMC was very sensitive and informative to help us get accustomed to the NICU. I needed further treatment and was hospitalized for about 5 days post delivery. I was on continuous IV medications and unable to leave my room. So the NICU would send pictures and inked footprints from our baby to keep me connected. I was finally able to see and hold my son on February 2, 2015.
The NICU soon became our home as almost every waking hour we were at his bedside. We learned so much of the trials that preemies endure, our little one stayed 106 days in the NICU. During that time we saw our baby struggle to breathe independently, learn to eat, mature and thrive. He used every respiratory device while in the NICU. I lost track of how many days he was on each device but he started on the CPap then the ventilator, which at the time I thought was the end for him but was educated that this device can actually help him by giving him time to relax and let his body grow, he was back on the Cpap, back to ventilator then Cpap then BiPap and finally nasal cannula. Nonetheless, respiratory was not the only struggle. During this time that his devices changed so did how my baby was nourished progressed he started with an OG tube, orogastric tube, a small tube that went from his mouth to his stomach. The first couple of days Ami received donor breast milk, the most amazing gift; I planned to breastfeed when I was pregnant but while in the NICU I expressed milk for my son it was a struggle but I knew my son needed the “liquid gold.” As time progressed the tube was moved to his nose, NG tube or nasogastric tube, and slowly the amount that he consumed was increased and fortified to give him extra calories to promote weight gain. On April 16, 2016 he was finally able to try bottle feeding! While full term healthy babies are able to breastfeed and bottle feed the hour they are born, preemies and mico-preemies have to wait until their mind and body have matured. My son waited 77 days to bottle feed.
There are so many things that go on in the NICU. Respiratory and eating were the longest lasting concerns that we have dealt with. There were also cardio issues, a newborn is born with a Patent Ductus Arteriosus, PDA. This is an open hole in the aorta that allows the blood to skip circulation to the lungs while in utero once born this hole closes. Preemies hearts are special and like everything else about them, they just aren’t ready yet. Ami's PDA did not close while in the NICU which is why he had such a struggle to breathe, eat, and grow. The PDA did not affect his health otherwise so it was closely monitored for two and a half years. He underwent a cardiac cath procedure on July 6, 2017. He is still being monitored but is thriving!
These are just a few things that preemies endure. There is also body temperature regulating, jaundice, sensitivity to touch, light and so much more. Our lives are forever changed and we have a deeper understanding to those born prematurely or in the NICU. Ami is now two and a half years old, loves preschool and going to the gym with his dad, running around and is full of energy. He has daily breathing treatments, weekly speech therapy and Bright Start Early Intervention, cardio visits every three months and ophthalmology appointments every six months. Even with all this he is perfect and has been from day one.