Help make more miracles like John Michael (and his brother Patrick) possible

April is a storied month in the Mistak household.

Less than two weeks ago (April 12th) Jessica and I celebrated John Michael’s 4th birthday. During the first 48 hours of John’s life celebrating a fourth birthday seemed like the remotest of possibilities. While he was a generous weight for a 28 weeker at 4 pounds 1 ounce, he was born very ill. In a lot of ways he was more symptomatic of a 24-26 weeker. His blood pressure remained far too low and his prognosis would become far more grim if that didn’t change soon. Luckily his blood pressure did eventually normalize. Though John would require a surgery prior to leaving his 52 day stay in the NICU, two surgeries since graduating from the NICU and a small army of doctors and therapists; John is a happy and dare I say healthy 4 year old. John has been a blessing to me, his Mother, his Grandparents and all of our extended family and friends. This would not be possible without the research funded by donors such as you.

Now, in less than two weeks (April 30th) we will celebrate the first birthday of John’s brother Patrick. Patrick is also a success story for the March of Dimes. Knowing that following a premature birth, expectant mothers have to be particularly careful; Patrick, through his Mother’s diligence and the accumulated knowledge and experience of the March of Dimes, was the product of a full-term pregnancy.

Finally, this Saturday (April 27th) Jessica & I will be participating in our 4th March of Dimes March for Babies. While I am generally uncomfortable with soliciting for donations, I ask that you consider making a donation (no matter the size) to our team for the March of Dimes March for Babies. As the recipient of not 1 but 2 miracles that the March of Dimes undoubtedly contributed to, I can think of no greater reward than to help future parents be capable of stating the same thing.

Two Years Ago Today

One of the main reasons I started blogging was to have a record of John’s entry into this world including:

  • my wife’s initial premature labor (at 26 weeks)
  • her bed rest after the doctors were able to stop here initial premature labor
  • John’s Birth (at 28 weeks), and
  • his stay in the NICU (including his first surgery).

Two years ago today marked the beginning of the first of the milestones above (something I first wrote about last year): Continue reading

What would you do if you had $100K to do it? (Part 2)

As I stated in yesterday’s post I recently threw my hat into the ring as a competitor in Dockers® Wear the Pants™ Project. The intention of this contest is to provides someone that has a “big plan” but hasn’t had the time or resources to get it done, the funding and resources to realize their plan.

In my post yesterday I provided my plan:

I want to increase my efforts to advocate and raise money for charities related to premature birth and related complications. My son was born at 28wks gestation. His first 52days of life were spent in the hospital. His first surgery took place when he was just over 1mo old. I want to resume training for triathlons and other endurance events while blogging about my training and my son’s progress.

Continue reading

What would you do if you had $100K to do it?

Last night I decided to pull the trigger on my idea to participate in Dockers® Wear the Pants™ Project. Instead of trying to describe the contest, I’ll let their video do it for me:

Here is my proposal:

I want to increase my efforts to advocate and raise money for charities related to premature birth and related complications. My son was born at 28wks gestation. His first 52days of life were spent in the hospital. His first surgery took place when he was just over 1mo old. I want to resume training for triathlons and other endurance events while blogging about my training and my son’s progress.

Stay tuned as I’ll be blogging more details later today.

Training Plan Confessional: Forgive this father for I’ve been lazy…

(Spoiler alert: my penance will hopefully be of a benefit to raising funds for the March for Babies)

Forgive me readers for I’ve been lazy. Its been weeks since I’ve completed a full week’s planned workouts. Unfortunately in some cases getting in one of my workouts has been an accomplishment.

Unfortunately up till this point of my new fitness journey I’ve set a number of unrealistic expectations on myself. Up till this point I’ve treated my fitness goals as a kind of “bolt on accessory” to the rest of my life (an afterthought). As with many afterthoughts it’s that thing you do last if you get to it at all. It’s liking trying to put out a fire using a bucket with a hole in it. As I feel I’ve already set up too convoluted of a metaphor, I’ll leave it at that. Continue reading

Remembering What’s Important

In an individual’s life there are those random moments that return you to remembering what’s important and how far life’s journey has taken you down a path that you could have never imagined before.

For all of the things people blame on the internet, I wish that people would recognize those stories you happen upon online that make you look back to a time in your own life where you may have experienced a great triumph or tragedy. When I see the story of a preemie in critical condition, or hopefully one beating the odds, I more often than not will find myself thrust back to the time John spent in the NICU.

I know that regardless of the ups and downs of that family’s individual story that they will be changed in ways they can’t imagine (not that they have any time at the moment for imagining or, for that matter, even thinking about anything at all other than their present human drama).

Stories like this remind me how lucky we are to have organizations like the March of Dimes and the advances they have pioneered over the years. My family is tremendously privileged to have witnessed John’s success story. We are reminded of this every time one of John’s doctors from the NICU sees how well he is doing. Seems like we’re long overdue for a visit.

Recap: What you don’t want to hear from your wife when she’s 26-weeks pregnant

The following is my first post recapping Jess’ initial premature labor, her subsequent bedrest, John’s birth and his stay in the NICU.

“Something doesn’t feel right.”

I’m not sure those were her actual words.  In fact they probably weren’t.  The actual words weren’t all that important. What was important at that point was that it was clear to us that our first action should be to call the doctor. We were both quite convinced that it was probably nothing, but we seemed to have an unspoken agreement to not to follow our usual inclination (to see how it goes after a night’s sleep). Thankfully we took the course of action that we did. Continue reading

Until I had something to say…

For a number of years I have considered writing my own blog. At various times I thought I had something to contribute to “the series of tubes”. This thought was usually brought on by a temporary surge of ego that was soon squashed by reality:

  1. A realization that I am not the next Jeffrey Zeldman (Web Design / Standards Icon), Lance Armstrong (born on a bicycle) or David Plouffe (political campaign wizard)
  2. Competition with my many hobbies/interests/obligations
  3. While I was more than happy with the sites that I designed for others, I was unsuccessful in designing a site for myself that I thought would do a good job of representing me and my goals.

In short — I didn’t think I had something worth writing, the time to write it, or a venue worthy of presenting it.

In the past year (plus a little bit) I believe I have lived the experiences that are worth reading about, and I’ve resolved to take the time to share them. Continue reading