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Local Stories of the March of Dimes PDF Print
Written by Kayla Moose   
Thursday, 07 April 2011 15:01

The Hampton family understands first hand how life can change if a baby is born too soon or unhealthy. Both of the Hampton children, Andrew, 13 , and Leah,8,  were born too soon and too small.  Have you ever picked up a 16 ounce block of cheese in a grocery store?   Imagine holding a baby that was the same weight. Ellen Hampton went into labor with her first baby, Andrew, at 23 weeks.  Andrew weighed one pound nine ounces and was 12 ½ inches long.  When he arrived, he did not cry and his skin was so transparent you could see every vein in his body. His eyes were still fused together just like a kitten. With her second pregnancy, Hampton delivered Leah, at 32 weeks. Leah weighed five pounds two ounces, similar to a bag of sugar.

There were far too many complications to recall during both of the Hampton’s stays in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Andrew spent time on a ventilator, which helped him breathe, he suffered problems with his Patent Ductus Arteriosus, a valve on his heart, and the veins in his brain appeared to have burst at one point. Later the Hampton’s found that the vein didn’t burst, but did cause a mini stroke. Even with all of these serious complications, the worst seemed to be his eyes. Andrew was diagnosed with Retinopathy of Prematurity, a premature eye disease. At two months old and not quite two pounds, Andrew had his first eye surgery. Andrew came home at almost four months old, weighing three pounds and seven ounces. Andrew needed glasses as early as eight months, but has worn glasses since he was 12 months old. Andrew lost his peripheral vision because of surgery, and there is always the danger of going blind because his eyes are so heavily scarred.

“Every day was a roller coaster of events and emotions. Every time I left the NICU it seemed I returned to bad news” said Ellen Hampton.

Five years later, with Leah, the Hampton’s second pregnancy again there were complications. At two days old, Leah’s lung collapsed, she spent four day’s in an oxygen hood. Leah also spent days hooked to a CPAP, continuous positive airway pressure machine, to assist in breathing.  Leah was feed through a feeding tube while in the NICU. She came home after 12 days and was re-hospitalized for four more days after her first homecoming. 

Hampton stated “Many people think that once you bring home a preemie from the hospital, your complications are over. That is certainly not the case. I knew so much more about preemies the second time around. I had learned the importance of early prenatal care, such as taking folic acid which March of Dimes has educational programs about.”

Both Andrew and Leah still suffer from asthma and have weak immune systems, but they are here apart of the Hampton family today. “They are here because of God, family, doctors and nurses and the research and technology funded by the March of Dimes” said Hampton. The Hampton’s faced every heart ache imaginable with Andrew and overcame it. Leah was much stronger, but still faced her own challenges, overcoming them all as well.

The Hampton family, the High Country March for Babies Co-Chairs, Charlie and Lindsay Cobb of the Appalachian State University Athletic Department and Scott and Cameron St. Clair of Blue Ridge Pediatrics invite you, your family and friends to join with them and walk to help all babies be born healthy. The walk site will be family-friendly and fun.  It’s a great celebration for everyone who walks and donates their time.

“March for Babies is a great way for families to show their support for those babies that needed help when they were born, to celebrate those born healthy, or to give those babies yet to come a fighting chance for a healthy beginning,” said Lindsay Cobb

“It is also a great way for companies to show their support of the families in our community. It will be a great day with entertainment and fun,” added Cameron St. Clair.

The High Country March for Babies will take place on April 17th at ASU Beaver Field: Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium (ASU Baseball field, located behind Broyhill Inn and Conference Center). We invite participants to join us in setting record attendance for the ASU vs. Samford baseball game. In lieu of admission we are accepting donations from those who wish to attend. Participant check-in begins at 2:30 pm, and March for Babies will begin following the game, approximately 3:00 pm.

The March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter Kmart, Farmers Insurance Group, Bayer HealthCare, CIGNA, Famous Footwear, FedEx, Sanofi Pasteur, United Airlines, First Response, and Mission Pharmacal.

To join the Hampton family, visit marchforbabies.org,  or call toll-free (800) 525-9255 to sign up as an individual, to start a corporate, family or friends team, or donate to help babies be born healthy.

March of Dimes

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health.  With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

  
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