Premature birth is the number-one killer of babies in the United States.
March of Dimes is leading the fight to improve the health of moms and babies. Their research and advocacy are helping families like the Coltranes in the Triad.
Lola Coltrane is a fighter. The energetic 15-month-old had a rocky welcome to the world.
“It just gradually got worse and worse, just a lot of pain. I was so swollen my eyes were about swollen shut,” Kelsie Coltrane said.
Kelise Coltrane was diagnosed with preeclampsia during her third trimester. When her symptoms worsened, the first-time mom was forced to deliver at 33 weeks and robbed of the normal delivery experience she’d hoped for.
“If I could just get two seconds, that moment of you have your dream birth experience, which includes that moment of your baby is born and they place her on your chest and you just get a moment to soak that all in, and it became very clear, very quickly we weren’t going to have that time,” Coltrane said.
Lola was rushed to the NICU where she spent the next four weeks. The Coltranes visited often, holding their tiny newborn hooked to tubes and monitors.
“Every day you are kind of faced with this feeling of it’s not supposed to be this way. It’s really hard, it’s really hard to come home to an empty nursery and for weeks. Biologically, emotionally, everything, all you want is to be with your baby and not have to look them in the eye and tell them goodbye for the night and leave. I don’t think anyone can ever prepare you for that and the way that feels,” Coltrane said.
It’s during that time when Coltrane discovered March of Dimes.
“I had the luxury of not having to know a ton about them, right? Everything is going well, ignorance is bliss, right? You just kind of assume everything is going to go well,” Coltrane said.
1 in 10 babies is born preterm in North Carolina. March of Dimes is working to improve the health of moms and babies everywhere. Through research, education and support they are fighting for the best possible care.
“Having a premature baby, it’s a club no one talks about, knows about, or ever wants to join. But once you join it you find that there’s this tribe of people that are some of the best people you will ever meet,” Coltrane said.
Over the last year, the Coltrane’s have been blessed to watch Lola grow into a healthy, happy toddler.
Now the couple is advocating for other families to have that same chance.
“You go into it and you don’t think about things going wrong, right? I mean that would be kind of a morbid way to look at it. But sometimes it can, and Lola really lives in the moment you know she’s a baby, she’s super happy and I think she kind of teaches and the NICU teaches you to ride that wave with her and just celebrating moments and taking it day by day and we are hopeful for a long future with this little driven gremlin,” Coltrane said.
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