November is National premature awareness month. The March of Dimes is dedicated to making babies healthy and helping the families of premature children.
When Stephanie Richards woke up going into pre-term labor at just 29 weeks, her hopes of a normal, healthy pregnancy changed.
"I woke up at one o'clock in the morning and my water had broken, so we called and of course, they immediately wanted us to go in," said Stephanie and Adam Richards.
Doctors were able to delay the labor until 32 weeks, and during that time she received surfactant therapy to aid in Kayleigh's breathing and ensure her lungs would function after birth. The therapy was designed, produced and fully funded by March of Dimes and for little Kayleigh, it made all the difference. After she was born, she had to stay in the NICU for two weeks and her parents say that was the hardest thing.
"It's very hard... it's very hard to leave the hospital everyday knowing she's there. It was rough traveling back and forth to Nashville everyday. I would usually get off work around two o'clock, drive down there and stay until nine or ten o'clock, and drive home. Get up at six o'clock, go back to work and do it all over again," said the Richards.
When she was five months doctors told Kayleigh's parents she had spina bifida, and she may never walk, but she proved fate wrong again when she took her first steps at last year's march of dimes walk for babies.
Stephanie found out she was pregnant with her son Kyler, and fearing he would have a similar pregnancy. she worked with march of dimes to take every precaution.
"The March of Dimes advocated to have folic acid put into foods, but I also had to take extra folic acid to prevent spina bifida, and I also received the 17P progesterone injections thanks to the March of Dimes," said Richards.
Now the Richards have two healthy babies, and Kayleigh is pretty thankful for that.
"Thank you for saving me," said Kayleigh.
You can help children like Kayleigh and her family by attending the March of Dimes' Signature Chef's Auction on Nov. 29 at 6 p.m. at the Sloan Convention Center. For more information on the event and to reserve tickets call (270) 746-5411.