SUPPORT SPECIALIST: Helping Premature Babies

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You never know what to expect when you have a baby, especially when you have three and they’re born early. One group has a new effort to give tiny babies the support they need.

Erin and Stuart Spencer have their hands full. Erin says, "We thought we would just start with one and we got the surprise of three. So, we were caught off guard to say the least."

With no family history of multiples or fertility drugs, the Spencers were surprised by news of triplets. Their three boys were born this summer, eleven weeks early. Erin says, "Caleb was one pound 14 ounces and the other two were right around three pounds."

The triplets spent 79 days in the NICU at Blank Children's Hospital before coming home. Their parents say they got a lot of support while they were there. Dad Stuart says, "The awesome thing about it is the medicine, doctors and nurses that are there to support us. You know, it's a rollercoaster ride, especially in the NICU."

In addition to the doctors and nurses, the Spencers enjoyed an extra support person. Linda Carter says, "I go around, and I visit with families. I distribute information from March of Dimes. I tell them about March of Dimes."

Carter is a staff nurse at Blank's NICU. But, this June, she started spending two afternoons a week as a Support Specialist for the March of Dimes. She says of her purple top, "This is my March of Dimes outfit."

She introduces families to the group, its website and helps them get used to the terminology and equipment in the NICU. Carter says, "And it's totally not what they thought their birth plan was. March of Dimes recognizes that. They're doing a lot of research trying to hopefully someday down the road there won't be the numbers of premature birth that there are now."

As for the Spencers, they're thankful for their three healthy boys and not looking to add anymore anytime soon. Stuart says, "Not in the game plan as of yet." Erin goes on to say, "Unless we want a full basketball team. I think we'll hold off."

The March of Dimes Support Specialist is a two year program. This Sunday is World Prematurity Day, when the March of Dimes raises awareness about preventing premature births around the globe.


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