For more than 30 years, CenterPoint Energy has raised nearly $4.2 million for the March of Dimes to fight for healthy moms and strong babies. This partnership has provided thousands of CNP employees, including many families impacted by prematurity and infant loss, the opportunity to make a direct impact on the communities we serve through program expansion in our neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) Family Support programs, and through new programs like Supportive Pregnancy Care. CNP serves as a role model for other corporate partners of the March of Dimes, demonstrating corporate leadership, team engagement and a service-first focus.
Greg, Ali, Whitney, and Cameran: Our NICU Story
When Ali and I found out that we were having twins, we were told to start preparing ourselves for the possibility of an early birth. It is rare that a multiples pregnancy goes to term, but we convinced ourselves that if we did everything right, we would be that rare case. At 34 weeks and six days, Ali had a Caesarean section. Whitney arrived first, at three pounds and nine ounces, and Cameran arrived two minutes later at four pounds and seven ounces. They received steroid shots and both girls were breathing on their own with no trouble. Whitney was on a continuous positive airway pressure machine for a few minutes, and Cameran didn’t need to be on it at all. Both girls received steroid shots and surfactant, which immediately helped them with their breathing.
In the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU), the girls received intravenous tubes (IV) to help with blood sugar. Whitney received a nasogastric tube to help with her feedings, and both girls moved to enclosed temperature controlled isolettes to maintain their body temperatures. For the next few days, Ali and I spent our days going between her post-partum room and the NICU to feed and hold the girls as much as we could, as well as learn everything possible from the nurses. We celebrated on day three, when Cameran got her IV out, and then on day four when Whitney did the same. That day, Angela from the March of Dimes came into the NICU, to speak with Ali. She asked how everything was going, how the girls were and how we were doing as parents. She shared a packet of resources with us, a schedule of events, and told us about the NICU Baby tracking app. After combing through the March of Dimes resources she provided, we realized we weren’t alone and that while the NICU is challenging, there are a lot of happy endings. We ended up leaving both girls in the NICU when Ali was discharged on day four, which was devastating, but we found comfort bonding and sharing the challenges and joys with other NICU parents.
On day nine, Cameran was able to come home, but Whitney had to stay, making the milestone bittersweet. Then on day 15, Whitney was able to come home. While our NICU stay was shorter than some, it still seemed like an eternity and we can only imagine how other families feel when they stay significantly longer. There is nothing that will completely prepare you for a NICU stay, but the resources the March of Dimes provides, and the success stories of other parents really help keep you going when it feels like you just can’t. We are proud to share our story and support March of Dimes and will continue to do so for years to come.