Families gear up for March for Babies

Published 8:29 pm Monday, April 23, 2012

When Lane Russell was born 11 weeks premature at Sentara Norfolk General’s Special Care Nursery, parents Anna and Jason considered themselves blessed.

Doctors gave Anna shots to delay delivery when her water broke early, but Lane had other ideas. He was delivered at 11:12 p.m. on May 16, surrounded by a small army of doctors and nurses.

March of Dimes Suffolk ambassador Lane Russell with parents Anna and Jason Russell. Lane was 11 weeks premature.

Anna didn’t get to hold him until 9 a.m. the next day, and it was 51 days before the couple took Lane home to Gates County, N.C.

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“Most women take for granted being able to hold their baby and being able to leave the hospital the next day,” said Anna, a teacher at Creekside Elementary School.

“We had to travel each day. I would sit there and cry every day when I left, although he was in the right place and the nurses and doctors were outstanding.”

The couple was relieved to hear Lane open his lungs for the first time. “We heard him cry, which was a good sign, and we were waiting for them to say everything was going to be OK,” Anna Russell said.

Lane was on a ventilator, high-flow oxygen and other breathing devices several times. He also underwent a special treatment to open his lungs.

Now Lane has been chosen as the Suffolk ambassador for an event to raise awareness and money so the special treatment can continue to benefit other premature babies.

The 2012 March of Dimes’ March for Babies will be held this Saturday at Constant’s Wharf Park.

Registration and an opening ceremony are at 9 a.m., and the event itself gets underway at 10 a.m.

Anna Russell said she was “definitely honored” that Lane was selected as ambassador.

Lane’s entry into the world presented another less heart-wrenching surprise. An early ultrasound had indicated Lane was a girl, Anna said.

“We had the nursery done in pink, with pink curtains, and found out nine hours before (his birth) it was actually a boy,” she said.

Weighing 3 pounds, 12 ounces at birth and measuring 17 inches in length, Lane is now a healthy 21 pounds and 30 inches.

“He’s doing great; you would never know that he was 11 weeks premature,” Anna Russell said.

March of Dimes Suffolk Community Director Jamie Stump encouraged anyone wishing to participate in the event to call 383-8824.