Families, doctors credit March of Dimes for saving lives of coun - KCTV5

Families, doctors credit March of Dimes for saving lives of countless preemies

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Carter Higgins and his little sister, Reese Higgins, were both born prematurely. (KCTV5) Carter Higgins and his little sister, Reese Higgins, were both born prematurely. (KCTV5)
OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -

Having a baby weeks or months before they're supposed to be born can be a frightening experience for parents.

Carter Higgins and his little sister, Reese Higgins, were both born prematurely. Carter was born at just 27 weeks and weighed one pound and four ounces.

"As soon as he was born, they intubated him and rushed him up to the NICU before I even got to see him," the children's mother, Ashley Higgins, said.

And then, he spent the next 90 days there. His parents spent three months waiting, watching and worrying about their tiny newborn.

"Just lots of pokes and prods and blood transfusions and eye scans ... just lots of things a lot of us don’t even go through until later on in life," Higgins said.

Carter turned out beautifully.

"He’s five years old now. He just turned five in December and we just went to kindergarten round up last week, so he’s all ready for kindergarten, and he’s doing wonderful," Higgins said.

The Higgins family went into action not long after Carter was born to help other families going through the same thing. They spent their free time at Overland Park Regional bringing food to other NICU families and just talking with them.

"Being able to talk with parents about what they’re going through is uplifting, encouraging," the children's father, Jeremy Higgins said.

And it was just three years after Carter was born they found themselves in the NICU once again, his time with Reese.

"Yeah, she was a little bit bigger, farther along. It was our second round, so we kind of said we don’t know any different," Ashley Higgins said.

Reese was born at 34 weeks and weighed three pounds and one ounce.

The Higgins spent another month at Overland Park Regional, eventually going home with brother and sister both healthy babies...

The family and doctors credit the March of Dimes with helping to develop a drug called Surfactant years ago. It has saved the lives of countless preemies.

"It’s a liquid medicine that we still use and still will for years to come. Many of our babies receive it at less than 36 weeks. We can give them that medication to help open up their lungs to get oxygen in better and out carbon dioxide better," Dr Jessica Howlett said.

Howlett had a preemie herself. So there's no question she understands the fears these parents experience. For her, just seeing the little patients again reinforces why she does what she does for a living and why March of Dimes is so important.

The March for Babies walk is Sunday. For more information or to donate to help them reach their goal, click here.

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