The Sayles Family
Kelsey went into her first pregnancy thinking everything would be normal, until the day that her water broke at just shy of 24 weeks. Her due date wasn’t for another 3 and a half months. Daelyn came into this world weighing 1 pound 3 ounces. She and Dalen received devastating news that their daughter had only a 30% chance of survival.
There are many things a baby born so early cannot do, and that means there are times when something as small as holding your baby gets put on hold. Kelsey and Dalen were not able to hold their daughter until she was 3 and a half weeks old. While in the NICU Daelyn was intubated for her first 2 months of life. Daelyn was born with her eyelids still fused together and did not open them until she was 1 week old. Due to the large amount of oxygen she needed on a daily basis, Daelyn underwent a successful laser eye surgery at just 3 months old. In the end, Daelyn spent 136 days in the NICU and was sent home with medication and oxygen, although she no longer needs either. She may require behavioral assistance in the future, but is otherwise a happy and healthy 5 year old.
When Kelsey went to the doctor for her second pregnancy, she was told there was a good chance that her child would be born early. Contractions came at 34 weeks, and after contracting on an old vertical uterine scar, Kelsey was rushed into an emergency C-section. Although still premature, Kyra weighed 4 pounds 12 ounces and had a feeding tube for the first 2 weeks of life, but didn’t require intubation or oxygen. Unlike her older sister Daelyn, Kyra stayed 15 days in the NICU.
During both of Kelsey’s pregnancies, she received surfactant therapy in the days leading up to giving birth to encourage her children’s lungs to develop faster. Surfactant Therapy was researched and funded by March of Dimes, and has since reduced Respiratory Distress Syndrome in babies by nearly half.
Like Daelyn and Kyra, about 380,000 babies are born too soon in the United States each year. Preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth may face long-term health challenges, including breathing problems, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disabilities. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants.
As the 2022 Transportation, Building & Construction Ambassador Family, Kelsey will share their story and help raise awareness and funds in support of healthier moms and stronger babies. They hope their story can help March of Dimes level the playing field for all moms and babies, no matter their age, socio-economic background or demographics.