Premature to perfect: Parents say Hattie's story shows March of Dimes' success

Premature to perfect: Parents say Hattie's story shows March of Dimes' success

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - This weekend, people will lace up their sneakers in support of the March of Dimes.

The annual March for Babies kicks of Saturday morning at 9 a.m. at the Boardman Pavilion in downtown Cape Girardeau. It’s a walk all about life, and making sure that a baby’s first months set them on a path for a healthy, long life.

Parents Jim and Emily Versemann say without the research conducted by the March of Dimes, their daughter Hattie might not have survived.

In 2011 Hattie was born three months early. Emily’s blood pressure skyrocketed due to a disorder called preeclampsia. The situation became so dangerous for Emily, doctors made the decision to bring Hattie into this world ahead of schedule.

“We had a cesarean at 28 weeks,” said Hattie’s mom Emily Versemann. “Hattie was born at two pounds, she was just 14 inches long and she stayed at the NICU for two months. We brought her home at exactly two months old.”

Hattie turns three years old next week. You would never guess to look at her now how precarious her first months of life were. Now she’s a happy, healthy and spunky toddler who doctors say is tall for her age.

“There was a list of things that could have gone wrong, but she caught up her first year,” Emily Versemann said. “She has thrived. Even her pediatrician is amazed. She has completely caught up physically and mentally.”

Saturday the March for Babies walk will raise money to help the March of Dimes continue to research ways to prevent premature birth, and ways to boost the chances of survival of those babies who are born premature.

“The first time you saw her, it was crazy,” said Hattie’s dad Jim Versemann. “To see something so small, yet everything was there and she was perfect. Now she’s running, playing, just a bundle of fun.”

That is why Team Hattie will be ready to walk Saturday morning. The March for Babies starts at the Boardman Pavilion at 9 a.m. Saturday. Registration begins at 8 a.m.

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