March of Dimes provides support to parents of NICU babies

Members of March of Dimes create handwritten cards for parents of infants in the NICU. Photo courtesy of Dr. Marcie Moehnke.

By Sarah Pinkerton | Staff Writer

The Baylor chapter of March of Dimes brought food to the Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest Newborn Intensive Care Unit Sunday and made 14 isolate cards for the pre-mature babies in the NICU.

These cards are meant to allow parents to track their baby’s growth and have something positive to take home. Since Valentine’s Day was Friday, members made Valentine’s cards for the babies, using the baby’s footprints in the shape of a ‘V.’

Senior biology lecturer Dr. Marcie Moehnke is the adviser for Baylor March of Dimes. Moehnke has had personal experience in giving birth to a premature, a stillborn and a healthy baby and is able to act as support to the NICU parents.

“When your baby is in the NICU, you don’t get the opportunity to do a lot of those fun little photoshoots, newborn shoots… you don’t get to do any of that, so this is just one way to recognize that and give them a little something special,” Moehnke said.

The Hilton Hotel in downtown Waco is a partner of the March of Dimes organization, and they sponsor NICU events. The hotel provided a full meal for the parents and nurses that the organization was able to bring to the families along with the cards.

“A lot of times when you have a baby in the NICU, you’re not really thinking about where your next meal is,” Moehnke said. “So sometimes, just having a snack is nice.”

March of Dimes also provided coloring and crafts for the siblings of NICU babies to enjoy while they were at the hospital.

“A lot of our students in the group have had siblings that were in the NICU so they remember that as young children being a sibling of a baby in the NICU as well,” Moehnke said. “Sometimes a parent will come in like ‘We made it to three pounds today!’ and just celebrating that with them is so important.”

Sierra Seda, Las Vegas senior and president of the Baylor March of Dimes, said the Baylor chapter has a close relationship with the March of Dimes practice in Waco, Humble and Killeen and work with them for their fundraising and awareness events throughout the year.

“Our organization now does everything in their power to hopefully prevent prematurity,” Seda said.

In addition, the Baylor March of Dimes has an event in the fall titled “The Waco Signature Chef Event” put on by the Waco March of Dimes. They provide all the volunteers for this event. They will also be hosting the “March for Babies” event in April at the Cameron Park Zoo.

While this national organization was originally created by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 to fund a polio vaccination by persuading individuals to donate their dimes, it now supports “healthy moms, healthy babies.” It raises funds to prevent prematurity and assist premature babies and also educates parents on how to have healthy pregnancies.

“I’ve always wanted to work in pediatrics or do something related with children,” Seda said. “Once my brother [who was premature] was born, I really wanted to become a neonatologist because after he was born, I knew that without the help of the doctors and the nurses in the NICU, he would have never made it and so that impacted my career goals.”