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Mom-A-Thon slated for May 10

The Madison County Mom-A-Thon, a local fundraiser to raise money for the March of Dimes, is set for 10 a.m., May 10. It will begin at Azaela Park and end at the Fredericktown Police Department Training Facility.

The fourth Madison County Mom-A-Thon story comes from the Shults family, Jacob, April, Ollie, Livi and Maylee. April and Jacob had Ollie in 2008, Livi in 2012 and Maylee in 2013.

“Ollie is my tender-hearted, drum playing, little chef. Livi is my beautiful little mess that can always be found with a crayon in her hand. While carrying the first two I loved pregnancy. They were both full term, so we never expected what happened next. Maylee, is my angel above. She was born at 30 weeks and only lived for seven short hours,” said April.

It was early 2013 when Jacob and April found out they were expecting their third child.

“My daughter was only 11-months-old, so finding out I was pregnant again was quite a surprise. Even though it was a shock to be pregnant again I soon fell in love with this tiny blessing in my belly,” said April.

April said her sister was pregnant with her third baby and it was exciting to know they would be having babies around the same time.

“Just a couple months into my pregnancy, our family experienced our first tragedy. My sister and her husband lost their baby at 21 weeks. She came into the world too small and frail, and there was nothing that could be done. She was so perfectly formed, but barely over a pound. Baby Peyton was here and gone before I could even make it to the hospital,” said April.

She said planning for another baby helped bring the family some happiness.

“Physically, I felt great, and everything looked normal at my doctor visits. There were no complications of any kind, until the week I had Maylee. I had been experiencing unusual abdominal pain and pressure all week. I was admitted for monitoring on Thursday, but I was sent home after two hours. I was told it was just Braxton Hicks contractions. Two days later, on Sept. 14, 2013, I woke up early in the morning to very uncomfortable abdominal pain and pressure once again. This pain was even more severe. I tried to deal with it, thinking I was having Braxton Hicks again. After a couple hours, it became too much,” said April.

She continued, “My husband drove me to the hospital, and the next thing I knew they were rushing me to the operating room for an emergency c-section. Everything happened so quickly, I didn’t even have time to comprehend what was going on. At 9:59, our daughter was born. She was 4 pounds 14 ounces and almost 16 inches. We had lots of friends and family at the hospital to welcome our sweet girl. Maylee came out crying, but the doctors quickly knew that something wasn’t right. She spent the first couple hours of her life in the same hospital I was in, but when her condition was stable, she was flown to the St. Louis Children’s NICU. The only contact I had with her before she left was a few moments to hold her hand. If I had known what was to come, I would’ve never let go.”

April said Maylee fought all day with people who loved her by her side, but her condition declined and they lost her at 5:05 that day.

“As quickly as she was brought into this world, she was taken away. Our precious baby girl passed away in her daddy’s arms. Later in the evening, Maylee was flown back to Farmington to be with me. Looking at her face to face was the most precious, yet most heartbreaking moment of my life. I’m so grateful for the time I was able to spend with her,” said April.

She said the only option her doctor had was to deliver Maylee.

“My water broke without me even knowing, and I had a placental abruption. Maylee’s CT scan showed she had pulmonary hypoplasia, which basically just means incomplete development of her lungs. Specifically, her condition involved a low number of alveoli in her lungs. This hadn’t been detected in my pregnancy, so until I gave birth, we were completely unaware. I’ve been told that nothing could’ve prevented it. Even if I hadn’t had the abruption, and Maylee was full term, we would’ve faced the same complications. I think her issues were very complex, and I may always have unanswered questions,” said April.

She continued, “I joined the Mom-A-Thon team to support March of Dimes in honor of my daughter and my niece. The pain of leaving the hospital without your baby is indescribable. Instead of a baby in my arms, I carried a small box of keepsakes from the hospital. If the little bit that I can do to support March of Dimes means that one baby is saved and one more family is spared the heartache of losing a child, it’s worth it.”

April said there are so many complications that threaten the health and the lives of premature babies. March of Dimes supports the research behind preventing and treating these complications.

“I’m so thankful that God gave me Maylee, even though she was only with us for a little while. She is definitely a Heaven-sent blessing. My heart is completely filled with love for her, and I would rather have that, than not have her at all. God’s plan doesn’t always make sense, and I struggle every day with my grief. Like many other moms, I take it one day at a time. Our precious girl may have only spent moments in our arms, but she will forever be in our hearts,” said April.

The Madison County Mom-A-Thon is a 5K, or 3.1 mile, run. The last mile-and-a-half will feature obstacles every quarter mile. For more information about the Madison County Mom-A-Thon visit the website: or the Facebook page: Mom-a-thon.

The Mom-A-Thon is currently looking for sponsors and participants. For more information contact Tara Hale at, or 573-783-1848.

The annual St. Francois County March of Dimes Walk for Babies is Thursday at Long Memorial Park in Farmington. In 2013, St. Francois County March of Dimes March for Babies successfully reached their goal by raising $38,631. Beth Simmons, director of the Southeast Missouri Division of the March of Dimes, challenged St. Francois County to reach a goal of $44,000 for 2014. There are many ways to participate in the March for Babies including corporate sponsorships, corporate teams, family teams and donations. For more information contact Beth Simmons at 573-651-6033, or

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