Our journey began in February 2010 during our highly anticipated 16-week ultrasound, when we were told that something was very wrong with our baby. Cooper’s growth was severely compromised in utero for reasons that still remain unknown.
At 29 weeks Nikki was given steroid injections to give Cooper’s lungs a greater chance for development. At 30 weeks the decision was made to place Nikki on bedrest in Crouse Hospital's Kienzle Family Maternity Center. Cooper had stopped growing and his well-being would be best under closer monitoring.
On May 9, 2010 — Mother’s Day — Cooper was delivered at Crouse Hospital by scheduled C-section. He weighed 2 pounds, 1 ounce. His cry was a relief and his strength was apparent even as they carried him off to the Baker NICU. Cooper’s breathing remained stable, but he struggled with his feedings daily. His immature digestive system proved to be his greatest enemy. His blood sugars were continuously low and his distended belly required constant attention.
Cooper progressed slowly but steadily and after 74 days in the NICU, we brought him home. He now weighed just 3 pounds, 8 ounces.
Having a premature baby and child in the NICU is an experience that has changed our family forever. I recall sitting in the waiting room outside the NICU doors feeling so alone and so scared. I looked over and saw a brochure for the March for Babies event in Syracuse. It was at that very moment I began to see the bigger picture. Without the research and support provided by the March of Dimes, we know in our hearts that we would not have our little Cooper.
We support the March of Dimes as a way to give back to an organization that has given so much to our family. We hope to raise awareness of the mission of the March of Dimes. It is our hope as your Ambassador Family that we can be a resource and a glimpse into everything the March of Dimes makes possible — the survival of premature babies, the research to prevent premature birth and the promotion of healthy pregnancies. It is our mission as a family to support this wonderful organization and we are honored to be the 2013 Ambassador Family for the March of Dimes.
The Smith Family