Nathan and Rebecca Jensen and their twins, Asher and Charlotte, are serving as Beaufort County’s 2014 March for Babies Ambassador Family to help raise awareness about the lifesaving work of the March of Dimes.
The Jensens know firsthand what it can mean if a baby is born too soon. Their twins Asher Wyatt and Charlotte Rose were born 12 weeks early, each weighing less than 3 pounds. “No parent should have to experience the heart-wrenching journey that happens when a baby is born prematurely,” said Rebecca. “That’s why we’re honored to have this opportunity to help the March of Dimes continue their work so more parents can know the joys of a healthy baby.”
Asher and Charlotte were delivered on October 18, 2012. Their scheduled due date was January 8, 2013. Asher weighed 2.9 pounds, and little Charlotte weighed just 2.4 pounds. The Jensens describe the next 73 days as the most frightening, sad, joyous and inspirational days of their lives. “The immediate days following their birth were the hardest, the days I care not to think about,” said Rebecca. “We were on our knees praying in our room at the Ronald McDonald house every day.”
Charlotte and Asher were placed on life support immediately because of their underdeveloped lungs. Asher was taken off the following day, but Charlotte stayed on life support for 10 days with serious lung and heart complications. The family was told to prepare for the worst. After many interventions, Charlotte was finally taken off life support and started on supplemental oxygen. After 63 days in the NICU, Asher was finally able to come home. Ten days later, Charlotte was released, and it was now the complete family of four, finally together, at home.
“To have both Nathan and I sitting on the couch, each holding a living, breathing baby was the most gratifying feeling after all we had just been through,“ remembers Rebecca.
Premature birth touches half a million babies and their families every year in the United States, including nearly 9,000 babies in South Carolina each year. Babies born too soon struggle to survive and may have lifelong health consequences.
Beaufort March for Babies will take place on April 12 at 9 a.m. at Naval Heritage Park. Funds raised for March for Babies help support community programs and vital research into the causes and preventions of premature birth. March for Babies is the March of Dimes’ largest fundraising event.
The Jensen family invites all of Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties to register for the event at marchforbabies.org or by calling 843-571-1776. Participants can sign up as individual walkers, start a corporate or family team, or make a donation.