Fairfax Neonatal Associates (FNA) encounters many families with unique stories. Often, these stories begin with prematurity. That is why FNA has worked hand-in-hand with the March of Dimes since FNA’s formation over 40 years ago. Together we have cared for thousands of babies, including the Greenmans – the Ambassador Family of the 2016 Signature Chefs Auction Gala.
As the Greenman’s say, “We’re here supporting the March of Dimes because we dream of a day when every single baby is born healthy and full-term.”
Read their story:
At 24-weeks the babies received surfactant to help their lungs develop in case they were born early. The nurses and doctors were available 24/7 to monitor every little change and check for any and all issues that could potentially arise. We were able to hear our children’s heart beats twice a day, and though it was always an anxious moment, we loved knowing that they were alive and well. We were absolutely enamored with every kick, punch, and movement they made. Everything was going as hoped until we realized Caitlin was having contractions. They tried to stop the contractions and prolong the pregnancy by pumping Caitlin with magnesium and then terbutaline. The contractions eventually stopped but it was too late – Caitlin was seven centimeters dilated and there would be an emergency c-section.
Five weeks after being admitted to the hospital, on the morning of March 9, 2015 our twins arrived – Jordan Ross and Eliana Riley. Unlike the magical moment we’d imagined, Jordan and Eliana were very briefly shown to us and almost immediately rushed off to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Both babies weighed 1 pound 15 ounces and were 13 inches long. Though Jordan was born with a “cloudy sac” (most likely meaning he had some type of previously undiagnosed infection in the womb), the doctors were relatively pleased with their birth size and weight – a much needed glimmer of optimism/hope that we relished at the time. Scott kissed Caitlin and immediately followed the doctors and babies to the NICU, where he signed what felt like a hundred documents to allow the medical staff to use any means necessary to keep our children healthy. Welcome to parenthood!
The first few days were a blur, as were the remaining 120 days in the NICU that followed. Despite feeling constantly overwhelmed and rarely having time to process or reflect upon everything that was transpiring, our 120 blurry days were also full of vivid moments. The babies stayed in isolettes (a neonatal incubator) and their tiny bodies were always covered in wires monitoring their oxygen levels, heart rates, and breathing rates. They had feeding tubes and IVs for blood transfusions and antibiotics. There were countless X-Rays taken and a never-ending stream of tests. We waited 4 days to hold our daughter and 14 days to hold our son. To say it is overwhelming to be in a NICU is an understatement of epic proportions.
We heard in the NICU that the first month was the hardest. We had made it through the first month and were still standing so we felt good! Then, on April 15 we got the dreaded call. “Your daughter is really sick. She is really really sick.” Eliana was strong, and unlike her brother, hadn’t ever needed the oscillator (the most extreme form of ventilator). She cried when she was delivered (a promising sign), had no sign of brain bleeds, and she was, as our nurses loved to call her, a “rock star”. We were shocked when we heard the news of her sickness. Her intestine had perforated and she continued to be much too fragile to take to surgery. After about 36 hours, we had to say goodbye to our sweet Ellie. The disease was called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and she had the worst case possible. There are still no proven preventative measures and we had taken every single recommended precaution. She was healthy and doing so well, until all of a sudden, she wasn’t. Our world was turned upside down. The following days were unimaginably difficult as we were forced to return to the NICU to care for our son while we were grieving the loss of our daughter.
After three more months of NICU residence (and multiple tests and scary moments), we brought Jordan home on July 4th. It will forever be our greatest Independence Day as a family. Jordan has now hit the 18-month mark and is blowing us away with his development. We are so incredibly thankful for the nurses, doctors, medicine, and research that helped him grow in his early days.
Nobody can determine why Caitlin went into early labor and nobody knows if it will happen with future pregnancies. We hope to grow our family one day and yet the unknown of why our babies were born prematurely is terrifying. We’re here supporting the March of Dimes because we dream of a day when every single baby is born healthy and full-term.
We are so honored to be serving as the 2016 Signature Chefs Auction Ambassador Family and grateful to be able to raise awareness of an organization supporting a mission that is so close to our hearts. We hope that the next generation has more answers!
With love and thanks,
The Greenman Family – Scott, Caitlin, Jordan and angel Ellie