March of Dimes saving lives: Goodson thankful for support shown during March for Babies event

Abigail Gibson

PIKEVILLE — Pikeville Medical Center Public Relations Specialist Melinda Goodson was flooded with emotions as she stood on the stage and addressed a crowd in the Pikeville City Park during the annual March for Babies event this past weekend.


"I was very pleased with the support our community showed at the Central Appalachia March for Babies," she said. "Without previous supporters and donations, we wouldn't have the treatment options, such as those that saved my child's life."


She said her family was honored to be selected as the 2017 Ambassador Family.


"This was an experience my family and I will never forget. Bringing awareness to what the March of Dimes does and what they did for my family was a humbling experience," Melinda said.


Over 350 people, including a number of Pikeville Medical Center employees, took part in the March for Babies. Activities included, a T-shirt design contest, kidzone, mission connection Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) notes, superhero sprint, wishing tree, ambassador avenue and lei distribution.


The Emcee gave purple leis to the Goodson family in honor of their journey. The Goodson's in turn presented white leis to a family in memory of their child.


Melinda and her husband, Jeremy, found out in May 2016 they were expecting a child. The couple, along with their five-year-old daughter, Isla, went for the first ultrasound to check on the newest addition.


"We discovered our family had two new additions on the way," Melinda said. "We were pregnant with identical twin girls."


She said as her pregnancy progressed, the girls continued growing and thriving, but she began feeling less and less like herself.


"I knew something wasn't right," Melinda said. "My feet, face, and hands were swollen (more than the usual pregnancy), my appetite would come and go as I was nauseous throughout the entire pregnancy, and my energy was nonexistent. But, I would just brush it off as this must be what it feels like to carry twins."


After multiple blood draws and tests, her attending physician decided to proceed with an emergency C-section on Dec. 29 due to her diagnosis.


"When the decision was made to deliver the babies, our biggest concern was their lungs as it is very common for premature infants' lungs to be underdeveloped," she said. "During my delivery, I continuously told my doctors and nurses that I wanted to hear the babies cry, because it would be then that I knew they were going to be okay."


Both newborns, Averie and Maisie, had lung complications, which resulted in respiratory distress syndrome, and were rushed to the NICU. They required oxygen, had continuous bloodwork and multiple other tests that preemies require.


"I was under constant supervision for my blood pressure, along with receiving four pints of blood and magnesium sulfate post-delivery," Melinda said.


As time passed, Maisie was making strides of improvement but Averie's health continued to decline.


"We made the decision to transport Averie to a higher level NICU located three hours away. Maisie would stay at the local hospital to continue progressing with the treatment she was receiving," she said.


Through the next few weeks, they began to see significant improvement in the twin's health.


"Day by day different machines, cords, and tubes would be turned off and removed, medicines would be decreased and eventually done," Melinda said. "We began getting positive progress reports. Maisie would be in the NICU for 12 days and Averie for 21. Each time we brought one of our girls home, we knew God was the reason we were able to celebrate their homecomings."


Melinda said the support of March of Dimes saved her babies.


"While in the NICU, they were diagnosed with Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) and required a treatment call surfactant. Averie went on to develop Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Neonate (PPHN), and required nitric oxide; this is the treatment that saved her life, without it she wouldn't be here today. The March of Dimes funded the research for both, surfactant and nitric oxide," she added.


In Kentucky, more than 55,900 babies are born every year and each one are touched by the March of Dimes, whether they are born healthy, prematurely, have a birth defect or other complications.


She encourages other expecting mothers to realize how important it is to keep your scheduled checkups.


"Routine prenatal appointments are so very important. It was at one of these visits where the suspicion was discovered that I was developing HELLP syndrome. Without that appointment, the outcome of my pregnancy would have been unimaginable," Melinda said.


She touched on the importance of helping support the March of Dimes.


"It's so important to support the March of Dimes and their mission of improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality," she concluded. "Being a mother of children who required intensive care when they were born, I cannot stress enough how important the research is that the March of Dimes funds."


To date, nearly $15,000 has been raised.


Sponsors for the event included Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Community Trust Bank, Passport Health Plan and Walmart.


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