DANVILLE — Leading the charge at the Susquehanna Valley March for Babies this weekend will be two-year old Daniella Andreacci and her parents, Stephanie and Joe.
It’s well-earned reward for the Bloomsburg family, who serves as this year’s ambassador family for the regional March of Dimes event, especially since her parents were scared Daniella wouldn’t even survive.
Stephanie and Joe’s first son, Dante, was stillborn, resulting from severe form of a disease known as preeclampsia.
“What happened with our son literally happened overnight,” said Stephanie. “Throughout the whole pregnancy with Daniella, we were sort of on pins and needles… It was an emotional roller coaster. You’re worried, you’re anxious, you have really no control.”
There is not a lot of research on preeclampsia said Stephanie, who works at Geisinger Medical Center as a clinical social worker. What is known is that it affects pregnant women severe high blood pressure, which can result in seizures, stroke, kidney failure and liver failure, all of which can affect the baby’s health as well. The only response is to monitor symptoms as they come, said Stephanie.
She develop severe preeclampsia at 28 weeks of pregnancy and was put on hospital bed rest 17 days before Daniella was born. Doctors decided to deliver Danillea early because she was not growing due to the preeclampsia.
Daniella was born nine weeks early, weighing only two pounds and 13 ounces. “My husband’s wedding band fit on her wrist as a bracelet,” said Stephanie. She was quickly admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
While Stephanie and Joe waited for their daughter’s health to improve, they found some relief with Geisinger’s family support activities program. The programs, offered jointly through Geisinger and the March of Dimes, gave them a chance to meet with other NICU parents and escape from the sometimes tense hospital environment. Participating in events such as onesie decoration, scrap-booking and pizza parties helped restore a sense of normalcy to their lives, said Stephanie.