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Family's tale inspires at 'March' event
Annual fundraiser benefits babies
3March
Kelly Fields, center, shares her recent experience with Wendy Wyatt, a community director for March of Dimes, as husband Mark listens during the March for Babies Kickoff Luncheon on Tuesday at Northside Hospital-Forsyth. - photo by Autumn Vetter

 

At a glance

The 2012 Forsyth County March for Babies will be held May 5 at Otwell Middle School. Anyone interested in serving as a team captain for the event should contact Wendy Wyatt at (678) 564-5240 or wwyatt@marchofdimes.com.

Kelly and Mark Fields were thrilled when they learned she was expecting their third child.

However, things didn’t go quite as planned.

When she was 12 weeks into the pregnancy, Kelly Fields discovered she was pregnant with twins who had a rare condition in which they shared one placenta.

"Our doctor told us that we had a 50 or higher percent chance of losing one or both the babies," she told a group of March of Dimes supporters during this year’s March for Babies Kickoff Luncheon on Tuesday at Northside Hospital-Forsyth.

The Fields are this year’s ambassador family for the walk, which will be held May 5 at Otwell Middle School.

During that doctor’s visit, Fields said she also learned that due to the condition, the babies would have to be delivered at just 32 weeks. Full gestation is 40 weeks.

She would also have to enter the Women’s Center at Northside-Forsyth around the 24th week of her pregnancy and remain there, under close monitoring, until birth.

While it wasn’t what she hoped for, Fields said she was grateful for medical advancements, many of which have been created through March of Dimes research.

"We had access to the latest fetal medicine," she said. "The technology here was second to none."

Due to those advancements, and the compassionate care of medical staff at the hospital, Fields said the twins were born Nov. 22.

Bennett weighed just 3 pounds and 13 oz., while his brother Brooks was 4 pounds and 1 oz.

Both had breathing and cardiac problems, but today, at 14 weeks old, they are doing well.

Fields called the doctors and nurses who took care of her and the twins the family’s "angels."

"They take truly extraordinary measures for the health of all babies," she said. "They were put here by God to help us bring our miracle babies home."

Melissa Sugg, manager of Northside’s Women’s Center, and Lawrence Wallin, a doctor specializing in neonatology at the center, also briefly spoke at the luncheon.

Sugg said one in every eight babies in Georgia is born premature. Across the U.S., every four and a half minutes a baby is born with some birth defect.

Wallin added that the U.S. has a pre-term birth rate of 12 percent, which is higher than many other developed nations.

"Many life-sustaining methods have been developed through March of Dimes research," Wallin said.

Funds raised through the March for Babies event will go toward research to develop more.

Wendy Wyatt, community director for north Georgia, said the goal for this year’s Forsyth County March for Babies is $117,880.

Last year, she said, the local event raised $114,000, while more than $103 million was raised nationwide.