HOUSTON - Becoming a mother can expose some of life’s greatest complexities and challenges -- something Shannon Alexander knows all too well.
Alexander is a mother of two, and serves as the 2018 March of Dimes March for Babies Ambassador Mom.
Premature birth is the No. 1 killer for babies in the United States, according to the March of Dimes, an organization committed to raising money for research aimed at eliminating premature birth and the complications that can cause it.
Alexander’s connection to the organization took hold when she delivered her son Christian 11 weeks early.
"It was terrifying. We didn't know what to expect, if he was going to be OK,” Alexander said.
Christian was rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit, known as the NICU, where doctors and nurses scrambled to save his life.
"They rushed him to the incubator, and hooked him up to tubes and wires and monitors and machines. We were terrified. We were scared and there was nothing we could do to help," she said.
Christian received a treatment known as surfactant therapy, aimed to help his respiratory system, and remained in the NICU for 2 1/2 months.
Alexander was able to connect with an old friend who worked with the March of Dimes who helped her through the long period of time she was separated from her newborn son.
After Christian went home, he continued to do well. But Alexander’s next journey as a mom would prove to be even more heartbreaking.
She found out she was pregnant with her third child, a baby she and her husband named Cameron. At her final checkup before Cameron would be born, Alexander got some heart-wrenching news.
"We went to the doctor's office and we found out there that there was no heartbeat. I was full term. He was due the next week."
Baby Cameron was gone even before he was able to take his first breath.
“(It was) beyond tragic. It's devastating. There's nothing that can prepare a mother or a family for something like that to happen."
Alexander and her family held a funeral for Cameron, and she turned to friends and her pastor for support.
Her experiences ultimately lead her to partner with the March of Dimes as an Ambassador Mom, and she shares her stories with other families who are also going through incredibly trying times.
"You may be going through one of the darkest moments that you'll ever go live through in your life, but you can get through it. And there are people there to help you."
Alexander will lead the Alexander’s Angels March for Babies team at the 2018 March of Dimes March for Babies.
The march is Sunday, May 6, at the University of Houston Central Campus. Registration for the walk opens at 8 a.m. and the march begins at 9 a.m.
KPRC Channel 2 is a proud sponsor of the event. Meteorologists Khambrel Marshall and Britta Merwin will serve as co-emcees.
To register to participate, click here to visit the March of Dimes website.
To donate to the March of Dimes, click here.
To learn more about what March of Dimes does to help babies and moms, click here.
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