Jessica, Chris and Greyson Gage are honored to serve as the ambassador family for the 2018 Pittsburgh March of Dimes Signature Chef’s Auction. Just like many other parents, they had no idea how much the March of Dimes helps babies to thrive until they looked back at the full picture.
Jessica’s pregnancy was typical until it wasn’t. A couple of days shy of 28 weeks, Jessica woke up with excruciating back and lower-rib pain that made breathing difficult. At the ER, she
became sick and started having vision issues. Put on immediate bedrest, Jessica’s blood pressure was so high she could have had a stroke. The pain was due to her liver having a reaction to elevated enzymes or Severe Atypical HELLP Syndrome.
48 hours after arriving, Greyson, was born at 28 weeks, weighing only 1lb 12oz and dropping as low as 1lb 5oz in the next couple of days. Surprising his parents, he made his entrance with small, lamb-like cries. He was given surfactant treatments, breathing assistance, a feeding tube, and a central line. Chris and Jessica could not hold him for a week and then only limitedly.
Greyson stayed in the NICU for seven weeks, and then in a transitional infant care facility for an additional two. During those months, there were ups and downs with temperature regulation, breathing on his own, nursing and bottle feeding. Their entire family struggled through the emotional challenges of having a child in the hospital.
Greyson came home on his two-month birthday (still 3 weeks before his due date). Almost two years later, the Gages are a typical family with a healthy toddler. Greyson is a spunky, talkative toddler, meeting all of his developmental goals! He loves being outdoors, playing with bugs, waving to trucks, snuggling with the family pets, and reading every book he can get his hands on.
The March of Dimes’ research proves the importance of prenatal vitamins, proper OBGYN care, and healthy diets which have helped millions of moms deliver healthy babies. Their research has also brought about things like the APGAR score and surfactant treatments that help preemies like Greyson have a fighting chance.
Chris and Jessica are honored to share their family’s story and are grateful for the other preemies and families who have walked this journey before them. Every child should have that same healthy start at life. Thanks to the work supported by the March of Dimes, it is possible.