Support Karter's Kause

$254
5%
Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
5 Donors
7
days left
Project ends on February 29, at 09:37 AM EST
Project Owners

Support Karter's Kause and the TGH NICU.

Kim Park's TGH Jennifer Leigh Muma NICU Story:

In January 2020, we had only lived in Florida for 2 months. I was 26 weeks pregnant and not feeling the best. I chalked that all up just being pregnant. But then I really couldn’t sleep, and one night I was sitting up to try and breathe with a weird noise in my throat like a frog. I thought it was really strange so I actually recorded myself so my husband and doctor could hear what I was talking about. The next morning I called my OBGYN and asked to come in because something was off. It took me so much effort to get dressed, I actually sat and leaned on the bath to rest and my dog was all over me and concerned. I was having trouble catching my breath. I called my husband and a friend to see if they could even possibly take me to my appointment because I really did not feel good. Unfortunately, no one was close so I just got myself together and went. Once I was at my appointment, my blood pressure was very high, the ultrasound left a mark on my belly, and they needed to go get another ultra sound to try and listen for the baby. The doctor came back in with the head doctor of the practice and strongly, but calmly, told me you are experiencing severe pre-eclampsia and need to go to Tampa General Hospital because they have a NICU. 

I was taken by ambulance to TGH, only about a 30-minute ride. They had to give me blood pressure medication 3x in the ambulance. When I got to TGH I was brought into the 24/7 Monitor section of the Labor and Delivery. Fluid was building up all throughout my body, including my heart, and they thought I was in heart failure. Overnight I lost 10lbs from all the fluid being released. I woke up to a doctor sitting on the edge of my bed, explaining I was not going to leave the hospital until I had our baby, and we were going to try to get to 32-34 weeks. I was extremely upset and completely hysterical. I couldn’t even tell my parents the update, because I was so upset. My husband had to explain that I wouldn’t be leaving the hospital. Thankfully, they jumped on a plane and came to help my husband with the house, our dog, and anything that I needed so my husband could continue to work until we had our son. The goal was to get my blood pressure down and stable, watch the baby on the monitors, and then we found out in an ultra sound our baby was also IUGR: Interuterine Growth Restriction. We were then introduced to the NICU, we signed papers ahead of time in case of an emergency, and informed of how fast things could happen and what to prepare for.

Six days later, around 11pm the decision was made to have an emergency C-section to save both our lives. Our son, Karter, was born on January 15, 2020 at 27 weeks weighing 1lb 10oz and 12inches. He was taken to the NICU with his father as they finished with me as I was still very sick. I did not hold our son for 26 hours due to being so sick. 

This was the beginning of our 83 day stay in the Tampa General Jennifer Leigh Muma NICU. He was in an incubator, tubes, wires, blankets, and a lot of beeping. He was alive and now this was the fight of our life. After 2 nights, I was discharged, and went home alone while our son stayed in the NICU. We had a camera on him so we could login and see him. I went everyday to the NICU to be with him. My husband stayed working and came to the NICU nights after work, so he could take time when Karter was able to come home. They say it takes a village – the NICU was our village. The nurses and staff became like family to us. They helped us as a family, not just our son. I received help with pumping, they always checked on me to make sure I was taking care of myself – sometimes they had to force me to go eat in the cafeteria. 

The valet even became our friends. They checked on us, made sure I grabbed dinner before leaving for the night, asked how our son was, and made us feel at home. Then March 2020 came. Lockdown in the NICU. My husband could no longer visit, and I had to live in our sons room and not leave the NICU. We had already overcome so much: eye exams, blood transfusion, increased feedings, working on regulating temperature, moving to a crib, gaining weight, and now a lockdown. Thankfully, we only spent 2 weeks in lockdown and came home April 7th. 

Without the support of the NICU staff there is no way we would have made it through this journey. They made an impact on us in the worst days of our lives. The primary nurses became like family to us, and some of them even watch our kids now for us. They were our support system. They understood the significance of our little boy gaining an ounce and moving up 2 ml of milk was a BIG deal. They were there for my husband and I while they were fighting to keep ALL the babies in the NICU alive. They are angels. They encouraged us, supported us, and held us when we cried. They are the reason our son is alive today and they are the reason we can stand here today and tell our story. This is why we want to give back to families going through their NICU journey & the NICU staff!

About the Karter's Kause Foundation: 

Following our families stay in the NICU, we created Karter's Kause Foundation. Our mission is to help current families in the NICU and support for the NICU staff. It can be as simple as needing the bare necessities while living in the NICU: food, blankets, clothes, octopi, or gas cards etc. The small gestures are big ones when you're a NICU parent. We want to give back to the NICU families and help assist the staff with anything they need to do so. Now, it is our mission to make a difference for families like ours during their NICU journey. The NICU was the most traumatic experience of our lives and we want to support those currently going through that journey. All while bringing awareness to the NICU and prematurity!

Levels
Choose a giving level

$10

$10 Donation

1 in 10 babies are born prematurely in the United States.

$27

$27 Donation

Karter was born at 27 weeks weighing 1lb 10oz, 12inches.

$50

$50 Donation

Up to 50% of women who give birth to premature babies have known risk factors. I had severe pre-eclampsia.

$83

$83 Donation

Karter spent 83 days in the Tampa General Jennifer Leigh Muma NICU.

$100

$100 Donation

Not all babies get to go home from the NICU. In remembrance of all of our angel babies.