Family Team News

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Monday, November 26, 2012

The Dream Team

A team approach

Premature birth is a complex problem that has defied simple solutions. In about half the cases of premature birth, the cause is unknown. That's why the March of Dimes is pioneering a new team approach to research, involving more than 135 scientists from many different disciplines.

At the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Stanford University, a dream team of scientists is examining the problem from every angle to find the answers that have so far been out of reach. We look forward to reporting to you on our progress.

Above: David K. Stevenson, MD, principal investigator

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

White House Will Be Purple For Preemies

We've done it! Thanks to all of you, we've reached the our goal of 25,000 signatures on our petition to light the White House purple for preemies! What's next? All signers will receive an email response about the petition from the White House and we will post the White House response here as well. We deeply thank each and every single one of you for supporting us! By signing the petition, you are helping to support and raising awareness for preemies and their families all across the country! Thank you!

Monday, November 19, 2012


My first and only son Isani (pronounced ee-SAH-nee) was born 7 weeks premature on May 7, 2011. My water broke when I was 31 weeks pregnant. I was admitted to the hospital and spent an emotionally challenging 17 days there. Hospital bed rest was not the way I anticipated spending the last weeks of my pregnancy. One day I was at work and the next day I was in the Hospital, which meant no baby shower, no finishing the nursery, no wrapping things up before maternity leave – It was difficult.

My first day at the hospital, the NICU doctors visited me and shared all the possible things that could happen to my baby if I delivered early, including cerebral palsy, heart problems, Developmental delays, or sepsis infection causing death. I was so scared and overwhelmed. I immediately began researching my condition (Preterm Premature Rupture of Membrane or pPROM) to see what I could do to buy my sweet baby more time in the "oven." I also started reading about the wonderful advancements that have been made in improving the mortality rate and quality of life for premature babies. The March of Dimes website was a phenomenal resource for me during this time. It helped me to not panic and to stay informed about all the options
I had for my care and the care of my unborn baby.

We were thankful for each day that passed with me not going into labor. I was able to give my Isani 17 more days after which I caught an infection, as is common with women with pPROM.
I went into spontaneous labor, caught a fever, and had to have an emergency c-section. Within seconds of being born, my Isani was taken to the NICU. I barely got to see his precious little face. I was taken to recovery and it would be 12 hours before I saw my baby. My husband showed me pictures of him in the NICU, and my heart was heavy; he was so small, only 4 lbs. 9 oz., and the machines were so big. He had a CPAP machine on and IV lines to administer his antibiotics. Despite this visual, his prognosis was fair. He needed a little help breathing the first two days and he spent a few days with the bili lights for mild jaundice, but after three days of antibiotics there was no sign of infection.

Leaving my Isani at the NICU was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I missed him so much. The doctors did rounds every morning. When it was our turn, I was knowledgeable about the terms they were using and prepared with questions about the treatment and progress of my Isani in part thanks to the information, articles, and studies posted on the March of Dimes website.

I recognize that had my Isani been born 10 or 20 years ago our story could have been quite different. Due to studies and advancements in treating premature babies our story ends with us leaving the NICU after 13 days with a healthy baby boy. Isani is 10 months old. I am envious of his spirit and resiliency; he continues to motivate me to be the best mom I can be.

I am so excited about the opportunity to participant in March for Babies. I've done many walks and races before, including ones for Breast Cancer, Aids, and Leukemia with TNT. However, with these walks I didn't have the personal motivation of having someone so close to me who was affected by these diseases. March for Babies is different…please join me.

And so...I am walking for my Isani and the many memories that we will continue to make together as mother and child.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Share Your Story

"I'll never stop marveling at what she's accomplished so far."

We're getting back to the school routine — getting the kids up a little earlier, going shopping for supplies, and finishing those chores we planned to do earlier in the summer. As the parent of a preemie, there is always a little extra apprehension in my mind as school starts. 

I wonder what the year will bring. And I don't mean who my daughter's teacher will be or which friends will be in her class. It's what latent prematurity-based issues might crop up this year. Like many preemie parents I feel like I'm waiting for the next shoe to drop. I know all parents can worry about new experiences for our children, but for us there can be a real foundation for worry. I'm not sure I'll ever get past this, but I do know I'll never stop marveling at what she's accomplished so far. To read more stories like mine, or to share your own, please check out

- Jackie

Join us for World Prematurity Day by going to ttp://  share your story today!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Report Cards Are Out!!

When I was going to school, my parents told me to work hard and bring home good grades.  I took that message to heart and did the best that I could and brought home a great report card for them to see.  Sometimes, I would get a grade that really needed improvement and my teachers and family would help.  When I did improve my grade, we all celebrated cautiously.  I always remembered that I could do better and set about to do just that.    I learned a lot from my reports and  use some of these same lessons  with my own kids.

Now for the improvement and celebrating!!

 The March of Dimes 2012 Premature Birth Report Card was released today! Grades are based on comparing each state’s and the nation’s 2011 preliminary preterm birth rates with the March of Dimes 2020 goal of 9.6 percent of all live births.  The United States gets a grade of “C” for the 11.7 % rate of premature births.  Although this is not the wished for “all As” it has been a steady improvement from 12.8% in 2006!

After I got my report card as a kid, I compared it with my friends.  We do that in the chapter as well as we have Maryland, Virginia and DC.  Sometimes I did better than my friends for many reasons and sometimes they did the same.  So here is how the report cards stack out in the three areas of the chapter.

Virginia lowered its preterm birth rate, which has always been lower than the national rate, to 11.2 percent. The commonwealth earned its first “B” grade. Although Maryland’s statistics decreased from 2009 to 2010 and its preterm birth rate declined to 12.5 percent, it was not enough to change its grade, which remains a, “C.” The District of Columbia’s rate improved to 13.7 percent but the change wasn’t enough to earn it a better grade, “D” on the annual Report Card.  Despite the continued improvement in prevention of preterm births, an estimated 460,000 babies were born preterm in the nation last year.

We’re proud to see preterm birth rates improving, thanks to the work of the March of Dimes and our partners. This progress means that more babies are being born healthy, excess health care costs are being reduced and families are being spared the heartache of having a baby born too soon,” said Robin Baker, M.D., a neonatologist with Fairfax Neonatal Associates and a local March of Dimes board member. “Although preterm birth rates improved in recent years, we must do more to ensure a healthy birth for all babies. Partnerships with health care providers and local hospitals have helped us make newborn health a priority and lowered our preterm birth rate, making a difference in babies’ lives.”

The March of Dimes attributed the improved rates to an expansion of successful programs and interventions, including actions by state health officials in Virginia, Maryland and, the District of Columbia.  In Maryland and the National Capital Area, March of Dimes programs such as centering pregnancy and the Mama & Baby Bus help women have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. The nonprofit is also supporting hospitals efforts to end early elective deliveries. Additionally, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the March of Dimes adopted an interim goal of an eight percent reduction in the preterm birth rate by 2014.

Dr. Baker continued, “We will continue to work together to improve access to health care, help women quit smoking and through our Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait consumer education campaign, encourage women and health care providers to avoid scheduling a delivery before 39 weeks of pregnancy unless medically necessary.”
So, we did not bring in all As, but we have allowed hundreds of families in the chapter to go home with their babies right after delivery.  A’s not yet!  Progress priceless!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Congratulations to our Heroines in Technology Finalist!


Heroines in Technology® gala recognizes and honors women in the technology community for their dedication to community service. Since its inception, Heroines in Technology has honored 67 “heroines” and raised more than $1.4 million to support the March of Dimes. The gala has attracted 350-400 guests in the past and the evening includes a cocktail reception, dinner and a silent and live auction. Guests include directors, CEOs and other high-level individuals from local corporations and government agencies.

Finalists will be recognized and winners announced in the following categories: Rising Heroine, Individual Heroine, Corporate Heroine, AFCEA International Government Heroine and Lifetime Achievement Heroine.  
Presentation night: November 9, 2012 (winners will be announced).

The 2012 Heroines in Technology finalists:
·         Anne Altman, general manager, Global Public Sector, IBM Corporation
·         Crystal Cavalier, special assistant to the chief of staff, government agency
·         Sarah Chu, project coordinator, Society for Women’s Health Research
·         Belinda Coleman, president, The Coleman Group, Inc.
·         Lynn DeCourcey, vice president and general manager, Cyber Security, NJVC
·         Bev Godwin, Director, federal citizen information Center, government agency
·         Dawn Halfaker, president & chief executive officer, Halfaker & Associates, LLC
·         Kerry Hancock, business development manager, Convergence Technology Consulting
·         Lisa Kazor, chief executive officer & president, Savantage Solutions
·         Lynda Mann, vice president, Performance Solutions (AOC) and co-founder & president of the board (YouthQuest), AOC Solutions, Inc. and The YouthQuest Foundation
·         Sandy Peavy, assistant director/Chief information officer, government agency
·         Kristi Powlovich, senior information assurance analyst, US Army, PEO EIS
·         Lynette Spano, chief executive officer & president, SCI Consulting
·         Pamela Thornton, principal healthcare advisor, The MITRE Corporation
·         Amanda Tiede, vice president, Cassidy Turley
·         Alison Wittich, marketing strategy & analysis associate, Sapient

AFCEA NOVA is the event partner for Heroines in Technology. It is the largest chapter of AFCEA International, a nonprofit professional association that represents the top government, industry and military professionals in the fields of communications, electronics, intelligence, software, information systems, imaging and multi-media. Learn more about AFCEA membership.



Monday, November 5, 2012

Step up to the Plate for Babies

Signature Chefs Auction - Baltimore

Monday, November 5, 2012
Time: 6:00 PM
Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel
700 Aliceanna Street

Baltimore, MD 21202

We hope that you will be able to join us in our 13th year as we present the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction in Central Maryland. Retired Oriole, Chris Hoiles, and his wife Dana will chair the event. Since 2000, this event has raised over $1 Million for the March of Dimes. You will enjoy an evening of fine food, wine and auction items. You will be able to visit over 30 of the area’s celebrated chefs all in one evening.  Participating Chefs - Click Here

The 2012 Central Maryland Ambassador Family, is the Rombach Family, Amanda, Tom, and Emily will be the guest of honor at the event, and will present their story to over 300 guests.  Emily was born in August of 2010, at only 26 weeks gestation. 

The VIP Reception will begin at 5:00pm, followed by the General Tasting and Auction at 6:00 pm.
To purchase tickets or Fund the Mission,  
Click Here!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dining Out for Babies

March of Dimes Dining Out for Babies events help increase awareness and support during Prematurity Awareness Month. Throughout November, various restaurants in Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia will donate portions of their proceeds from Dining Out for Babies to the March of Dimes. Everyone is encouraged to help reinforce the message that we would like to see all babies born healthy and on time one day.

Please view the Dining Out for Babies Event Calendar to find a participating restaurant. The following restaurants require printed flyers: Applebee's flyer, Glory Day's flyer, Pizza Hut flyer, Texas Roadhouse flyer, Unos Manassas & Woodbridge flyer and Unos Reston flyer.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

World Prematurity Day is November 17!

The 2nd Annual World Prematurity Day is November 17. Please join the March of Dimes and organizations around the globe as we bring awareness to premature birth -- a leading cause of newborn death.
Prematurity can lead to lifelong health consequences such as cerebral palsy, breathing problems as well as hearing and vision loss.  In addition, it can cost 10 times more to care for a premature baby than a full-term delivery.
Did you know that 15 million babies are born too soon worldwide, and 1 million of these babies don’t survive? 

Help raise awareness of this global problem on World Premature Day, November, 17. Change your Facebook status with a message on premature birth, update your profile picture, share your story and read experiences from those around the world. 

Show the world your support by visiting today.