Manchester March for Babies kicks off 2017 event with mother's premature birth experience
MANCHESTER — Melissa Brule had a healthy pregnancy until doctors at Elliot Hospital diagnosed her with preeclampsia seven weeks before her due date.
Preeclampsia - a high blood pressure which can affect both the mother and unborn child - led to the premature birth of Brule's son, Bradley.
Brule, who also works at the hospital as the Practice Manager for Pediatric Specialties, said it felt unusual walking through the patient door instead of the employee door.
"It kind of turned my whole world upside down coming from the patient side instead of the employee side," Brule added.
After doctors tried to induce labor for 11 hours, Bradley entered the world weighing only 3 pounds and 10 ounces at 17-inches long.
He mostly had difficulty with eating because he did not have the sucking reflex, Brule said. He also was unable to regulate his own body temperature.
Bradley stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for three weeks, nursing back to health with the help of March of Dimes.
"March of Dimes, the research and the funding, is the reason why Bradley was able to grow and be healthy," Brule explained.
The organization launched the Prematurity Campaign in 2003 to address the crisis and help families have full-term, healthy babies. For the past 15 years, Elliot Hospital has been a sponsor to one of their large events, March for Babies in Manchester.
March of Dimes means so much to Elliot Hospital because they offer neonatal intensive care to mothers such as Brule. Dr. Matthew Ryzewski, Event Chair for the 2017 Manchester March for Babies, said their NICU "seems to be getting busier and busier all the time."
During their 15-year sponsorship, Elliot Hospital has raised close to $35,000 for the organization. The Manchester event raises around $150,000 a year, which is the most throughout New Hampshire. New Hampshire as a whole typically raises around $350,000.
The 2017 Manchester 3-mile march will take place on May 21 at Southern New Hampshire University starting at 9 a.m., with a registration time of 8 a.m.
The event encourages donations to help with their mission: "A fighting chance for every baby." So far, the event has raised over $30,000 of their $150,000 goal.
Join the event or donate by visiting marchforbabies.org.