One year ago, Meghan Beatty of Elmhurst and her husband walked in the March for Babies as new parents with tiny twin babies still in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
They were unsure what the prognosis for each of their newborns was, or whether they would even survive.
A year later, the Beattys will return to the March for Babies with Ben and Jacob, their healthy and happy 14-month-old twins.
The March for Babies steps off at 9 a.m. Sunday, April 27, from the Naperville Riverwalk Grand Pavilion west of Centennial Beach, 500 W. Jackson Ave. To register, visit marchforbabies.org. Proceeds support the March of Dimes' programs to help mothers carry babies to term and to support families whose babies are born prematurely.
Ben and Jacob were born 12 weeks early on Feb. 23, 2013, at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove. Ben weighed 2 pounds, 9 ounces, and Jacob weighed just 1 pound, 11 ounces. Meghan Beatty recalls this day as the scariest day of her life.
The next few months were a challenging time for Ben and Jacob as they overcame various health conditions. Both needed some of the most advanced medical technology available to help them develop as healthy babies; some of this technology was not available just a few years ago.
The twins battled necrotizing enterocolitis, an intestinal bacterial condition, on two separate occasions, but both times the NICU nursing staff caught it before it could cause serious damage.
"We owe our boys' lives, health and happiness to the care they received at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital and to the research funded by March of Dimes," Meghan Beatty said. "Research is what led to the technology that saved their lives and helped them thrive."
Today, the twins are chatty, active and healthy -- something their parents are very grateful for.
"March of Dimes has been a leader in the prevention of prematurity and birth defects," said Dr. Vibhaben Thaker, neonatologist at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital.
"Their work has saved lives and improved the quality of life for babies who are born premature not only in the United States, but around the world. It has made a global impact on the well-being of mothers and babies."
Community members are invited to support Good Samaritan Hospital's team by walking or making a donation. To join the team, visit marchforbabies.org/advocatehealthsystems and click on Good Samaritan Hospital.
Since 1970, March for Babies has raised more than $2.3 billion to support community programs that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies and fund research. This year, 3 million people will participate in March for Babies events across the nation.