The story below is a first hand narrative about having premature twins from Ilene Goldman, Humboldt’s CEO Howard Goldman’s sister. It’s stories like Ilene’s (obviously very close to home for us) that show why it is so critical to support great causes like the March of Dimes- March for Babies. If you are interested in donating to or joining the Humboldt March for Babies team you can do so by clicking here. The event is on May 7th at the Hatch Shell. Enjoy… Many people who have interacted with Humboldt may not be aware of Howard Goldman’s intimate dance with prematurity.  On December 17th, 2004 a frightful call was  made to Howard regarding his twin sister Ilene’s OBGYN health.  Ilene, barely 26 weeks pregnant, was being rushed to the Beth Israel after routine tests showed severe preeclampsia (very high blood pressure and protein in the urine).  The team asked Howard to meet them asap.  Within hours, Howard learned his sister had also been diagnosed with Severe HELP Syndrome which is a combination of the breakdown of red blood cells, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets count (necessary for clotting) placing her own life at risk.  Ilene’s twins were in distress showing signs of twin transfusion (one fetus dominates the food supply) and weak, unstable heartbeats.  After days on steroids and various other treatments it became too risky for Ilene to continue with the pregnancy so an emergency Cesarean was ordered.  On December 20th with the help of 16 doctors (8 per baby) and Howard, Ilene delivered Jake and Liam Goldman.  Jake weighed 1.8 ounces and was 12.9 inches and Liam was 1.14 ounces and 13.1 inches. Jake and Liam experienced all the typical micro preemie health challenges. On day 5, they had emergency PDA surgery (heart surgery to close a valve between the lungs and heart which is often compromised with preemies), retinopathy (retina damage from the oxygen however both boys outgrew), half a dozen blood transfusions, lung collapses (Liam) and bronchial spasms (Jake). On the day before going home, Liam had bilateral hernia surgery.  Finally, after 92 days in the Beth Israel Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, both boys were released requiring no additional life support equipment or medicine. Hard to believe after all the machines they were on! Jake and Liam were very lucky and had no life threatening illnesses to battle.  However, life for many years was less than easy as their nervous systems were still so fragile and their little bodies not quite stable.  Most of all both boys struggled with severe reflux and underdeveloped gastrointestinal systems where they threw up for the first 4 yrs of life. The trauma of all the breathing equipment and scar damage on the esophagus left the boys uninterested in food or eating.  Bottles could take 2 hrs. each (and there were 12 feedings a day so you do the math!!) and one bite too much could easily cause a boy to lose the meal.  Months of work to just get a boy to taste a food was typical and often the exhaustion of chewing caused the boys to fall asleep missing meals all together.  A true labor of love for all.  But with all this, both boys always smiled, laughed and showed an endless spirit of warrior-hood and triumph.  Although no question that a baby should be born so early only to have to face  invasive life threatening medical procedures. One thing is clear…the will to live, the will to never give up and a super human determination become’s their sacred character trait.  I believe this is probably true of all preemies born with such a fragile beginning.  In every way, Jake and Liam have had to work harder than their peers but the preemie warrior spirit carries them through. I believe this is how they are successful in overcoming their challenges or catching up to the “milestones” placed on them for their age. Liam and Jake are finishing up kindergarten and have a rich life full of endless activities.  This could not have been possible if it weren’t for the staff at the BI and the advancements in the field of prematurity.  The March of Dimes is the single largest contributor and supporter of Prematurity.  It says so much about Humboldt to choose such an important cause to support. It makes even more special as a third generation Goldman member personally impacted by prematurity, that Humboldt has made the cause their cause as well! In much more appreciation … Ilene, Jake and Liam Goldman

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