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Lucy Clare

Since 2003, the March of Dimes has led Prematurity Awareness Month activities in November as part of its Prematurity Campaign.

The goals of the campaign are to reduce rates of premature birth in the United States and raise awareness of this very serious problem.

Please, we encourage you to to submit your own stories of prematurity with The Band.

Four years ago I would not have paid attention to an event like Prematurity Awareness Month and I likely would not have even known about the work of the March of Dimes. Today I am proud to be a supporter of the March of Dimes and their important work.

On March 8, 2007, my niece, Lucy Clare entered this world after my brother, Jonathan and sister-in-law, Mary, made the difficult decision to have an emergency c-section at 25 weeks gestation. In the weeks leading up to Lucy’s arrival, Jonathan and Mary knew that there was a chance Lucy would have to arrive early. She wasn’t growing and the doctors said that if she didn’t reach 500 grams (1.1 pounds) there would be very little they could do.

We all held our breath as Mary went to each ultra-sound appointment, hoping that this baby (gender unknown to all but them) would grow – just a little bit more, just a few more grams.  They were briefed by the ob-gyn on what outcomes to expect if she was born at 32, 30 or 28 weeks.

A few weeks prior to Lucy’s birth, they were given a tour of the NICU so that they would be prepared for what they may encounter.  At their last appointment, on March 8, they were told they had to make the difficult decision – wait another week and risk that she wouldn’t survive in utero or deliver that day knowing that the hospital had never had a baby that small survive.

Wanting to just give Lucy a chance, they opted for the c-section.

Lucy was a micro-preemie in every sense of the word. She weighed only 400 grams (14 ounces) and was just 10 inches in length.  At her lowest, she dropped down to 290 grams.  She was given surfactant therapy – its research was funded by the March of Dimes – for her lungs.

She breathed with the help of a ventilator for five weeks before being switched to CPAP for two months and then on nasal cannula until she was discharged.  Lucy’s time in the hospital was filled with ups and downs – it often seemed like one step forward and two steps back.  She faced many of the challenges that preemies in the NICU face: infection, retinopathy, the struggle to breathe on her own, a heart condition and feeding challenges.

Lucy spent 182 days in the hospital – six long months – before she joined her family at home.

Today Lucy is a happy, funny, easy-going 3 ½ year old who adores her big sister Stella and is starting to enjoy her baby sister Mallory. She loves books, colouring, watching Yo Gabba Gabba and dancing. But she still faces many challenges:  she takes medication for pulmonary hypertension, she relies on a feeding tube for 100% of her nutrition and she has deteriorating eyesight.  She has therapy appointments with a feeding specialist, physiotherapist, and attends weekly sensory motor sessions.

The work that the March of Dimes does through education, Prematurity Awareness Month, March for Babies and so much more, is crucial to helping all babies have a healthy start.  Our family considers itself lucky that Lucy is here today and we want to do everything we can do to raise awareness for prematurity-related issues.  It’s our chance to give back just a little bit.

Visit to find out how you can help!

I Do It All Because I Love My Son

The scars of losing a baby will never fully heal. We are shattered; unable to see the light.

This is her story:

At 5AM on Tuesday, the 5th of February 2013, I gave birth to a baby boy at home.

He was 20 weeks and 1 day gestational age; he weighed a mere 340 grams.

I held my son his whole life; eight minutes.

I named my son Cash Alan. I watched Cash as he struggled for life; an image that will forever haunt me. I shared his pain and fear but there was nothing I could do to save him.

An autopsy revealed that premature labour was caused by an infection of the uterus and placenta due to low levels of amniotic fluid.

Cash was cremated on Thursday, February the 14th 2013 and I keep his ashes with me in a small urn. I’ve found some comfort in knowing that all Cash knew of Life was my love for him, but I will never truly come to terms with his death.

Prior to my loss, I spent over 15 years building a career as a publicist. I loved my field and felt passionate about everything I was doing.

After I lost Cash, everything changed.

I became someone else, none of the little stuff mattered anymore. I see Life so differently now. I was at a crossroads, lost in my grief. A few weeks after losing Cash, I packed up and moved 1600 kilometers away for a fresh start. I knew I no longer wanted to be a publicist, the late nights and time away from home kept me away from my other children.

The idea came to me after spending hours upon hours searching the internet for keepsakes to honour Cash. On 24 June 2013 (the date Cash was due to be born) I started a business called “In Loving Memory Of Cash;” a dedication to the brief Life of my son. The official launch is planned for 5th February 2014; his first angelversary. I want to to ensure that bereaved parents have an opportunity to save the moment without thinking about the details.

I now handcraft unique memorial keepsakes full-time. 100% of the profits are used to support pregnancy and infant loss projects and campaigns. Creating memorial gifts is a great outlet for my own grief. A piece of my heart and soul goes into every one of my creations: IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT MAKING SOMETHING SPECIAL, IT’S ABOUT HONOURING A PRECIOUS LIFE, HOWEVER BRIEF.

The most comforting words when grieving are “You Are Not Alone.” I’m able connect with bereaved parents on a level that not everyone else can. I understand the intense pain and sorrow, the never-ending heartbreak, and the heavy burden of empty arms.

The response so far has been tremendous. I have already helped many families honour their angels. I have my bad days where I want to stay in bed and grieve all day long. I live for my other children, but now I have a purpose, a reason to go on:

I want to make sure no angel gets forgotten.