February 23, 2008, doctors at Rush Copley Hospital in Aurora, Illinois, delivered Nicolas Bryant Noblitt at 26 weeks gestation. In case you “don’t know nothing about birthin’ babies,” that’s way too early.
Baby Nico spent 101 days in the neonatal intensive care unit, best called NICU by those families all too familiar with NICU alarms, monitors, endless tests, teams of medical professionals, and constant worry about what comes next.
On the cusp of summer, Nic came home that sunny June day with machines, monitors, and tubes and wires. Not exactly the vision most new parents have for their baby’s homecoming. Books like “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” and its cousins can hardly prepare new moms and dads for the exhausting and anxious ride they are in for when their baby is born prematurely.
So worried and hungry for more information shortly after Nic’s birth, I turned to the March of Dimes Web site to learn more about what this little guy could face. It delivered (pardon the pun).
The March of Dimes is a charitable organization I supported long before baby Nic came into this world. As a schoolgirl in the late 50s and early 60s, I remember the March of Dimes coin cards handed out to raise money. Think about it, this campaign worked! When President FDR founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, that was the goal—find a cure. Dr. Jonas Salk’s vaccine against polio did just that. Dr. Albert Sabin’s oral vaccine brought even easier access to protection. Little pink sugar cubes dosed the vaccine to millions worldwide.
With the success of the vaccine for polio behind it, the March of Dimes shifted its focus to preventing premature births and fostering research into helping those little ones born too soon have a shot at a good life. And today, they fund research that gave Nic and his NICU buddies a chance. Yes, I know the organization needs to work on fiscal responsibility, and since I work for a 4-Star Charity Navigator nonprofit, the fact that March of Dimes is not there yet bothers me a bit. However, they have my support.
If you happen to be in northern Illinois on Sunday, April 26 at 8:00 a.m., join Team Nic at Pottawatomie Park, 8 North Avenue in Saint Charles. And if you can’t make it, follow the link and help Natalie reach her goal.
And visit Nic on ciao-nico. He is surely one cute guy.