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As a first time mom to be, Amy and her family were anxiously awaiting the arrival of her first born and the family’s first grandchild. Excitement had been building and plans were being made for the future, when at her 5 month mark during a routine sonogram, Amy learned there was extra fluid around the baby’s head. Futher testing concluded that the baby had a genetic disorder known as a diaphragmatic hernia, a birth defect in which there is an abnormal opening in the baby’s diaphram.
Amy continued during this scary time as a high risk pregnancy, and on June 2, 2006, Peyton James McAuliffe made his arrival into the world. He was taken for immediate surgery, and over the next 21 days the family waited and watched as Peyton underwent every procedure and medical prevention possible. Amy’s one wish was to be able to hold her son. On June 22, 2006, Peyton passed away, held in his Mother’s arms.
During their time in the NICU at Children’s Hospital, the family was approached by a March of Dimes liason. It was unknown at that time that this small encounter with the March of Dimes would bring so much meaning to Peyton’s short life. Although the grief never ends, Peyton’s memory has lived on in many ways. Amy went on to have two healthy baby boys! Jase (8 years old) and Deaven (14 years old) who both enjoy fishing, camping, baseball and anything outdoors. They are such blessings and the family is grateful for them every day. Amy formed a March for Babies Walk Team called Peyton’s Angels in 2007, and since then, they have partnered with the United Steelworkers Union hosting an Annual Bike Run to continue advocating for awareness of infant mortality, premature births, and birth defects.
Like Peyton, about 380,000 babies are born too soon in the United States each year. Preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth may face long-term health challenges, including breathing problems, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disabilities. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. From research to find answers and solutions to information and comfort for families with a critically ill baby or those who have experienced loss, the March of Dimes is there.
Amy and her family know the significant role that March of Dimes has on all babies and their parents, not only for its research and information, but also as a place for families to find comfort and support. As the 2021 TB&C Ambassador Family, Amy is honored to continue sharing Peyton’s story, and hopes it will provide promise for other families, and help March of Dimes to reach the day when all babies are born strong and healthy.