2012 Ambassador Families
Kansas City – The Pierson Family
Liam Pierson was excited about becoming a big brother. But during a routine ultrasound, mom Traci and dad Gary learned that something was seriously wrong with their second child’s heart.
On January 21, 2011, when mom was 29 weeks into her pregnancy, Dr. Tara Swanson of Children’s Mercy Hospitals & Clinics performed a fetal echocardiogram. The procedure confirmed that baby Levi had a critical heart defect. He would require heart surgery soon after delivery.
Traci’s health care providers recognized that a full term pregnancy would strengthen Levi for his post-delivery surgery. And, under the guidance of her care team, Traci carried Levi full term.
Immediately following his March 29 cesarean section delivery at Children’s Mercy’s Fetal Health Center, Levi was moved to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for prostaglandin infusion.
Just eight days later, heart surgeon Dr. James O’Brien repaired Levi’s heart. And only 16 days after his birth, Levi moved home to be with mom, dad and big brother Liam.
Heart defects affect 1 in every 100 babies born in the US and take more lives than any other birth defect. The Pierson family is grateful for the March of Dimes advances in diagnosis and surgical treatments that have meant better survival rates for the tiniest heart patients.
Wichita – The Goos Family
Clint and Megheen Goos know firsthand how scary and complicated a premature birth can be. While pregnant with their firstborn, Megheen was having a normal pregnancy, until her water broke unexpectedly when she was just 23 weeks along. Megheen desperately attempted to carry her son to 24 weeks, but after 4 days, Kingston was born weighing just 1 pound, 4.9 ounces.
Kingston had a long, challenging recovery in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where he spent his first 102 days of life. While in the NICU, Kingston received surfactant therapy, a treatment developed by a March of Dimes grantee, which helped him breathe on his own.
Kingston is now a rambunctious two-year-old who loves discovering new things. He enjoys helping his Mom and Dad work in the yard and reading books. He particularly enjoys trips to his Grandparents’ houses where he gets rides on the tractor.
After this experience, Clint and Megheen were nervous about having more children. Information provided by the March of Dimes helped them decide to try again. Kingston and his parents are very excited to welcome a new baby to their family who was recently born full-term in December 2011.
Topeka – The Wise Family
Derek and Meagan Wise’s quest to become parents was met by many challenges and a 2 year journey of infertility appointments and treatments. Finally, after their first attempt with in-vitro fertilization they were finally pregnant, with twins. Meagan’s pregnancy from day one was not a typical pregnancy. In and out of the hospital with problems from in-vitro, contractions starting at 15 weeks and then a car accident at 20 weeks, any normalcy at all ended with bed rest at home at 20 weeks. They knew that a multiple pregnancy would put her at risk for preterm labor and she received wonderful support, interventions and medications throughout my pregnancy, many of which the March of Dimes supports.
At 26 weeks Meagan went into preterm labor, despite all of the efforts to keep her pregnancy going. Mason and Bryson were born 14 weeks early. Mason weighed 1 pound 14 ounces and 13.75 inches long and Bryson weighed 2 pounds and 13.5 inches long. Meagan didn’t get to see or touch her babies before they were rushed off to the NICU.
Immediately after birth they were given surfactant, a medication developed through the March of Dimes to open their tiny lungs and allow for better ventilation. Both boys were placed on a CPAP apparatus for respiratory support for several weeks. Mason and Bryson received blood transfusions, medications to close a small opening in their hearts, treatment for jaundice, nutrition through IV lines and feeding tubes. Mason spent 90 days in the NICU and 15 days after he was discharged his brother Bryson got to join him at home.
Mason and Bryson are happy and healthy 1 ½ year old boys today, although their journey of prematurity has led them on slightly different paths. Mason has no residual effects of prematurity. Bryson developed feeding issues and required a gastric tube for nutrition until just recently. Bryson also has minor developmental and verbal delays.
Derek and Megan are so blessed to have Mason and Bryson in our lives. Although their pregnancy and the birth of their boys was not that of a typical pregnancy/birth they are so grateful to have the March of Dimes by their side through this journey.