Rallying support for preemies
Published 7:19 pm Saturday, April 6, 2013
Richard Brinker and Stephanie Hacker, who live in the Holland area, along with their friends and family, were nervous on learning they were pregnant again in 2009.
On March 13, 2006, Hacker had prematurely given birth to a daughter, Trinity, weighing just 1 pound and 8 ounces. At two weeks of age, Trinity contracted an infection and died within 10 days.
“When we heard Stephanie was pregnant again, it came with a lot of mixed emotions, and also reservations, because of what had happened to Trinity,” said Brinker’s mother, Wanda Moss.
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Nerves were put further on edge when Donovan Layne Brinker was born 11 weeks premature, weighing just 3 pounds and 14 ounces, on March 22, 2010.
Knowing he would be taken to the same hospital where Trinity had died, The Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, further ratcheted up the anxiety for those who were praying for Donovan.
“Trinity (was premature) because they had to do a medical procedure to stop Stephanie from going into labor, but she received an infection which sent her into early labor,” Moss said. “Donovan, they don’t know why he came early.”
But when he did come weeks before his due date, and spent the next two months in CHKD’s neonatal intensive care unit, “we were a little more diligent,” Moss said. “We watched over and asked more questions; we knew what to check on with him, and he did great, he did really well.”
Donovan was able to go home after eight weeks. He has developed normally, with the exception of walking independently. He’s walking now, but has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which was brought on by periventricular leukomalacia, a type of brain injury.
Nevertheless, now a bright, charismatic 3-year-old, Donovan has been selected as Suffolk’s 2013 ambassador for the March of Dimes. His mission is to drum up support for the walk, to be held at Constant’s Wharf Park on April 27 to raise money for the special treatments and devices that keep “preemies” alive.
“I had two preemies, now my son has had two preemies, and every time it has been the surfactant” — the synthetic formulation of a naturally occurring chemical that helps air sacs in the lungs stay open — that has been critical, Moss said.
Those around Donovan are “tickled pink” by his selection as ambassador, Moss said.
“I got involved with the March of Dimes right after Trinity passed away,” she recalled. “I’ve got several friends that have had preemies, also, and have been ambassador babies for Suffolk.”
Registration for the event is 9 a.m., and the walk gets underway an hour later. For more information, email email@example.com or call 383-8824.