In Alabama, 60,050 are born each year. Of those, 9,360 babies are born prematurely (before 37 weeks gestation), and 1,820 babies are born with a birth defect. Premature birth is the leading cause of infant death; and 50 percent of those preterm births are for unknown reasons. No one is working harder than the March of Dimes to give EVERY BABY a healthy, fighting chance at life. With your help, we work to improve the health of babies and support families if something does go wrong.
Preventing premature birth in Alabama could mean an annual savings up to $483 million! This is why your support is so very important to our mission and work. The March of Dimes Alabama Chapter CARES.
Through programs and services in communities across Alabama, we promote healthy pregnancies and babies, and work to prevent premature birth and birth defects. We educate moms and support families in need. Funding for community programs is provided through the grants process. The program services committee holds the responsibility of awarding grants each year. We have $1,090,841 invested in Alabama committed to improving the health of moms and babies for the 2013-2014 years.
BT & Mary Michael Kelley were blessed with a healthy, uneventful pregnancy in 2009 when they had their first child, their oldest son Thomas. In 2010, they discovered they were expecting their second child. However, in April of 2011, they got news that changed their lives forever. Their second child, their daughter Kathryn, was very sick. She was diagnosed with non-immune fetal hydrops of unknown origin. Non-immune fetal hydrops has a 10% survival rate. This meant Kathryn had unu-sual and excessive amounts of swelling in her skin, as well as fluid in her lungs. It also caused a complication called polyhy-dramnios for Mary Michael, where the fluid built up in her to where she was ultimately the size of someone carrying full-term quadruplets. Kathryn was born at 36 weeks extremely sick. Doctors and medical professionals worked and worked to determine the cause of Kathryn’s illness, but unfortunately it was too late, and she died at 12 days old. Understandably crushed, the Kelleys found comfort in Kathryn’s autopsy report that her cause of death was assumed to be a structural de-fect unlikely to ever happen again.
In May of 2012, three days after what would have been Kathryn’s first birthday, they found out they were expecting their third child. All was going well until their 18-week ultrasound, when their son Micah presented with the same sickness and symptoms as Kathryn’s. He had excessive swelling and edema, and fluid throughout his lungs leading to the same diagnosis: non-immune fetal hydrops. At this point, the Kelleys decided to pursue intrauterine intervention with the assistance of their Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor at Brookwood, Dr. Antonio Gonzales. Dr. Gonzales inserted fetal thoracic shunts into Mi-cah’s chest cavity to drain the fluid off his lungs for the remainder of the pregnancy. However, Mary Michael’s water broke at 27 weeks, and she was hospitalized. At 29 weeks, on Thanksgiving night, Mary Michael suffered a placental abruption and Baby Micah was born by emergency C-section with an APGAR score of 1. He was immediately intubated, had chest tubes inserted, and shortly after delivery doctors warned the Kelleys that Micah was not going to survive. But Micah was a fighter, and that would make all the difference. With a lot of help from medical staff who believed in him, plus utilization of the lat-est treatments and therapies including nitrous oxide therapy and steroid therapy — at 6 weeks old, the boy who was not supposed to live, came off the ventilator. He spent a total of 8 months in the hospital: four months at Brookwood Medical Center, and four months at Children’s of Alabama, where he continued to grow and get better.
Micah went home on July 9, 2013, on oxygen therapy, and gets the majority of his feeds by g-tube. He is now 16 months old, weighs 23 pounds, sits up, plays with his brother, takes classes at The Bell Center, laughs, and loves life. Micah is a true miracle and has inspired many people. The Kelleys live in Homewood where they are active with March of Dimes’ March for Babies through their team, "Marching for Kathryn & Micah." Follow Micah’s story on Facebook’s "Waiting for Micah."
The March of Dimes is partnering with the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Hospital Association and the Alabama Perinatal Excellence Collaborative (APEC) on our Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait campaign, visit this site for more details.
Every year, more than half a million babies are born too soon in the United States. Our country’s premature birth rate has risen by 36 percent over the last 25 years. That’s serious cause for concern.
Babies need at least 39 weeks to grow before they are born. Many complications can occur due to non-medical inductions. Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait. Click Here for More Information!