This mom is on a mission to give a voice to the smallest among us, preemie babies and their families. Find out how you can help.
Welcome to another installment of the Community Over Competition Series. In this addition we are hearing from Shann Eva, creator of shanneva.com. Shann is bringing hope and awareness to premature childbirth by sharing her personal story as well as the stories of others. She is also sharing how we can get involved with the March for Babies. I am honored that she has taken the time to share with us in the Community Over Competition series.
Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Shann, and I’m a mom, wife, writer, dancer, and teacher. I’ve been a dancer all of my life, and now teach ballet and creative movement to children. I’ve also found a passion for writing. When I’m not working, I enjoy working out, shopping, reading, and watching TV.
I’m a “boymom” to three active, adventurous, and creative kiddos. My oldest is 7-years-old, obsessed with all things Minecraft, has a wild imagination, and is a beautiful artist. My youngest two are identical twins, and they are truly miracles. I actually started blogging because of them.
What led you to create a blog?
I started writing when my twins were in the hospital, as a way to keep our friends and family informed about their condition. I found writing to be therapeutic and something I really enjoyed. From journal entries, it slowly turned into more than just our day-to-day life. I truly found a passion in writing, and my blog has continued to grow.
What is your experience with premature birth?
As I mentioned, I started my journal when my twins were in the hospital. They had been there since their birth at just 25 weeks, 5 days.
Before I had them, I had never even met a premature baby. I had no idea what happened when a baby was born so early and so sick.
They were born early due to TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome) and SIUGR (Selective Intrauterine Growth Restriction) which are both conditions of the placenta causing a very unequal amount of nutrients to go to each baby. When my placenta could no longer support the growth of my smaller baby, they had to be delivered by emergency c-section. My twins weighed only 1 lb 7 oz and 2 lbs 2 oz at birth.
They spent 91 and 93 days in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) of our hospital. They both needed help breathing, eating, regulating their body temperatures, and just basically staying alive for many weeks after they were born. They also had to endure numerous blood transfusions and surgeries. We are so lucky that they did get to come home, and are healthy now.
What led you to share other peoples premature birth stories on your blog?
My pregnancy and the months following were some of the hardest of my life. I searched for support everywhere. I looked for stories of hope and survival.
When I started to write my journal, people began sharing my story. I found I could reach other moms, and help them as they were going through similar situations. I started a series on my blog called “Micro Preemie Monday” as a way for other people to share their stories with premature birth.
I want people to know they are not alone, and there is support out there. There is so much hope in each story. I’m so honored to be able to share these special stories with people that really need to read them. That is truly how Shann Eva’s Blog was born!
What is the March for Babies?
Not only did I want to help other moms with my writing, but I wanted to do something more to fight premature birth. I did a lot of research once the twins were released from the hospital, and found the March of Dimes. Their research has led to development of life-saving medicine that is responsible for the high quality of my twins’ lives.
The March for Babies is an annual fundraising walk that takes place across the country. You can walk as an individual, family team, or company team. It’s a chance for families to share their stories of premature birth, and raise money to give all babies a healthier start in life.
At the walk, you will see teams with t-shirts that proudly display facts about their babies. There are also memorials set up for babies that have been taken too soon. It’s really a chance to celebrate the life of our smallest fighters, and to remember the ones that are no longer with us.
How can people get involved?
Even if you are not local to me in WI, you can still be a part of our family team. Simply make a donation of $25 or more on behalf of our team, and I will send you a team t-shirt. You can then wear the t-shirt to your local walk, or do your own walk, if there’s not one close to you.
To donate on behalf of our team please visit: https://www.marchforbabies.org/shanneva
This cause is especially special to me because my twin brother and sister were preemies.
Thankfully, they only had to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks. I was only 4 years old but I will always remember this time. I am so thankful for organizations like the March of Dimes and people like Shann that are spreading hope and awareness about premature birth.