Thursday, March 29, 2012

Love babies too? Help save some.

I'll never forget the night I had my daughter and those special moments we had our first few days together. In my birth plan--or a I called it my "birth wishes"--, there were a few things I knew wanted to happen without a doubt. I knew I wanted to have fun, I wanted my husband to cut the cord, and that my daughter would get a pulse ox screening.

A pulse ox screening? What's that? I didn't know myself until a few months prior to having my daughter. I met a woman online, a woman on a mission to save babies after losing her own.

This mother's story touched me. She had a normal pregnancy, like I had, and a normal birth, like I hoped to have. And her baby Cora was big and plump, just like mine was. She lost her 5-day-old baby in her arms, without warning.

Kristine sent me some pamphlets with helpful information about the Pulse Oximetry Screening, which is a simple test that can help detect congenital heart diseases, one of the leading birth defects.

As I held my newborn in my arms at the hospital I thought of Kristine and her efforts to help new mothers like myself. I immediately asked the nurse when they could give my daughter a pulse ox screening. She asked another nurse, who said she didn't need one, she was healthy, had a great apgars, but I insisted. The on-call pediatrician (Lil' J was born over a holiday weekend) asked why I wanted one so bad, and I told her about my friend who had shared her story with me. I guess it was a good enough answer for her because she gave the go-ahead for the test.

No needles or probes were needed. Just a little band around her foot. I didn't encounter an out-of-pocket bill, but the peace of mind that came when it was done, and they told me her results were normal, was priceless.

Right now only two states have routine pulse ox screenings hospitals. A lot of people don't even know or understand the importance of newborn screening. If you'd like to learn how you can help, or to get more information on newborn screenings for you, your family and friends, visit And spread the word. The more people who know about this, the better.

I'm so grateful for Kristine, for all of the help she's done for families, and for spreading awareness of screenings which have literally saved babies lives. I still hold my daughter now and think of her, and her daughter, and how they've forever left a mark in our lives.

*I was asked to share my story and experience about newborn screenings in a compensated blogger outreach program. I decided to share my story about her pulse ox test because it was especially important to me. I hope you'll take a few moments to visit their website and learn more.
** Yes, looking through these old photos totally made me cry. Time to switch the machine back on!

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