Family, friends raise funds for Long Island baby born 15 weeks early
As a Bayport couple’s newborn daughter advances on the road to health after being born 15 weeks early, the couple’s friends are raising funds to help them cover the unexpected costs for her care.
Meaghan Holmes, 34, and Brandon Holmes, 32, who married in December 2016, have been making constant visits to Stony Brook University Hospital, where their 3-week-old daughter, Dawsyn Harper Holmes, is staying under doctors’ care as she fights several health complications.
“You’re excited to have a baby girl, but at the same time, it’s terrifying that she was born that early and that small,” said Brandon Holmes, who works in construction.
Born at 25 weeks, or roughly six months, at 1 pound, 10 ounces on Feb. 2 at Stony Brook University Hospital, Dawsyn remains at the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit — and is expected to stay there for up to three months. She is breathing with a ventilator and recently overcame patent ductus arteriosus, a heart condition causing abnormal blood flow between two major heart arteries.
Over the last few weeks, as her husband works during the day, Meaghan Holmes, a nurse practitioner on maternity leave, watches the doctors make their rounds for their daughter. At night, Brandon reads Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat in The Hat” and other books to Dawsyn.
“We’re just trying to live our normal life and see her every day,” Brandon Holmes said. “We read to her, hold her when we have the ability to and try to look at her like any other child, but just a little bit smaller.”
As they wait for their daughter to come home, the couple faces another obstacle: climbing medical bills. According to her parents, Dawsyn was described by a hospital staff member as a “million dollar baby,” referring to the high medical costs associated with children born prematurely.
To help the couple cope with the financial burdens, a friend of the family, Eastport resident Christine Brooks, started an online fundraising page to help with Dawsyn’s medical bills.
While Meaghan Holmes admitted the couple felt “a little weird” about asking people for money, ultimately other people convinced them to go forward with the fundraiser.
The GoFundMe page has raised $9,020 since launching Feb. 5. The couple has been overwhelmed by the support.
“It’s a nice feeling, to know that there are people that love you that much,” Meaghan said, adding they have been getting constant calls and texts from friends and family wishing them well.
As the couple expects Dawsyn to come home around May 16, they have kept busy getting their daughter’s room ready.
They have already purchased a crib and a butterfly chandelier and picked out colors for the room: gray, white and pink.