Babies get support from NICU staff at Avera McKennan
It's hard to believe that Ryder Daly, now four years old, once weighed less than 2 pounds and spent four months in an incubator. First time mother Darlyne Daly wasn't prepared to go into labor prematurely.
"During those four months it was a roller coaster ride," she said. "You have your good days. You have your bad days. You think everything would be great one day, the next day it wouldn't be."
The Daly's of Columbia, South Dakota, were overwhelmed by their circumstances. Now there are services at Avera McKennan to help families during this stressful time. It's all part of the national March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program
"We bring in a lot of families outside of Sioux Falls, and they're not at home," said March of Dimes NICU Family Support Specialist Jackie VanderWoude. "So we offer support in many different ways, (because) having a baby whether you're prepared or not is mind numbing."
Darlyne agrees and having survived the experience, she has some advice for other mothers
"You just have to hang in there: lots of friends, lots of family and lots of faith," she said.
In an average week, 24 babies are born prematurely in South Dakota. In 2006 there were 1,004 premature births in the state. Nationally 1 in 8 babies is born prematurely. There are things you can do before you get pregnant to give your baby a better chance of a healthy and full-term birth. They include reducing your stress level and taking a multivitamin with folic acid.