March of Dimes provides support in the NICU

Full Frame

March of Dimes provides support in the NICU

When signs of labor rushed Danielle and Joshua Donohue to the hospital one morning, the first-time parents were nervous and stressed. But their nerves were more than just the normal pre-delivery jitters of expecting parents: Danielle was only 26 weeks pregnant, and they worried that their baby wouldn’t survive.

The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) team at Stony Brook Hospital explained that the odds weren’t very good, but the Donohues remained optimistic – even after the delivery, as their baby struggled in the first few days of his life.

But the Donohues didn’t have to face the ordeal alone. The NICU Family Support Specialist from the March of Dimes was there with much needed information and support.

March of Dimes provides support in the NICU

March of Dimes provides support in the NICU

in the NICU, March of Dimes programs provide strategies for care that help bond parents and babies, and even save lives – strategies like kangaroo care, in which a parent holds the baby against his or her bare chest. This skin-to-skin contact can help a baby sleep, breastfeed, stay warm, and keep his or her heart and breathing stable, in addition to the emotional benefits for the parents.

The March of Dimes, a non-profit organization founded in 1938 to combat polio, now works in countries around the world to help prevent birth defects, premature births and infant mortality.

And in the NICU, March of Dimes programs provide strategies for care that help bond parents and babies, and even save lives – strategies like kangaroo care, in which a parent holds the baby against his or her bare chest. This skin-to-skin contact can help a baby sleep, breastfeed, stay warm, and keep his or her heart and breathing stable, in addition to the emotional benefits for the parents.

“I remember the first time that I held him, they placed him on my chest, and Max was very unstable at that point and the moment that he was on our chest, his heart rate stabilized, his breathing stabilized, his oxygen saturation stabilized. Everything was perfect,” said Danielle Donohue.

Since going home with their healthy son, Max, Danielle Donahue has returned to the NICU, this time to help other expecting parents as a March of Dimes Family Support Specialist.

“I work with NICU families as well as families in the antepartum unit – and those are the moms who are waiting to deliver. And it’s inspiring to be there,” said Danielle Donohue. “I love working in a place where miracles happen every day.”

This week on Full Frame, Joanne Colan reports from New York on the March of Dimes’ work with preterm babies at Stony Brook Hospital and beyond.

Follow March of Dimes on Twitter: @MarchofDimes