We were excited to become parents, and as Easter 2010 arrived, we were able to share with our family and friends that we were expecting. Dannielle Lee was scheduled to bless our family at the end of November. I had a normal pregnancy until mid-August when I started feeling ill and was experiencing lots of swelling. A month later, I went to see my family doctor thinking I was experiencing problems with seasonal allergies. I was wrong. My blood pressure had skyrocketed and was dangerously high. At my appointment scheduled with my OB/GYN that following Wednesday my doctor wanted to admit me into the hospital and told me to immediately go home and back an overnight bag.
Once we arrived at the hospital, my doctor came in and explained to Jason and me that I had preeclampsia. I was very ill and I wasn’t leaving the hospital. At this time I was only 28 weeks along and Dannielle’s lungs had not yet fully developed. My doctor had ordered me to begin steroid shots to help her lungs. After being in the hospital for three days my health had not improved and I was scheduled to have a C-section for Saturday, September 11.
On that Saturday, Dannielle Lee McClun entered the world weighing 1 pound 13 ounces and was 14 inches long. Jason and I were very excited about our new bundle of joy; however we knew we had a long road ahead of us. I decided to have Dannielle baptized as soon as possible so I could have peace of mind in case anything should happen.
We were finally able to hold our baby after two weeks. It was the most amazing feeling ever. Taken over by emotion and love, Jason and I cried as we held onto our little miracle. Dannielle was strong and she was a fighter. We went to see her every day and spent endless hours by her side talking to her and reading to her. At her bedside, we were provided with amazing support from Abby, the March of Dimes Family Support Specialist. Abby’s experience as a mom of preemies as well as her work with the March of Dimes gave us an understanding of Danielle’s journey. In October, Dannielle had a short setback as she had to be intubated once again because she had aspirated into her lungs, but she kept fighting!
We did celebrate a few holidays in the NICU, but the amazing NICU staff and Abby made them special and very memorable. Dannielle had to pass a few tests before getting the all clear to come home, but being the rock star she was, she passed everything and was finally able to come home! As we headed for home on December 4th Dannielle would have to be on oxygen and a heart monitor. Luckily, she only needed to be on oxygen and the heart monitor for a month. Months later, Dannielle began speech and physical therapy.
The March of Dimes did so much for us during this whole process, which is why Jason and I wanted to give back and get involved. It is unfortunate that babies are born premature, and we wish that no parent would ever have to experience what we did, but that is why there is the March of Dimes. We have been very blessed for the help they’ve given us and we were very proud to represent them as the 2013 Ambassador Family.