SOLWAY – A syndrome that affects less than one percent of all pregnancies, a four-hour ambulance ride and a premature birth have resulted in a blessing and a curse for one family.
Charlotte Peterson, at a tiny 2 pounds, 10 ounces, is most definitely the blessing for her mother, Kayla Sundvall, and father, Dustin Peterson. And while Sundvall sits by her daughter’s side in a Minneapolis hospital, Charlotte’s aunt, Lindsay Spragg, has been busy planning a benefit Saturday to address the expensive curse of hospital bills.
“I really have no idea,” Spragg said of the costs of Charlotte’s premature birth, and her extended hospital stay. “They’re giving her probably three to four more weeks. She needs to be four pounds.”
Two and change down, two to go.
Sundvall suffers from HELLP syndrome, a condition that affects between .2 and .6 percent of all pregnancies, according to the American Pregnancy Association. The organization defined the best method of treatment as “delivery of the baby.”
In Charlotte’s case, that delivery was three weeks prior to her scheduled arrival.
HELLP stands for Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzyme levels and a Low Platelet count. High blood pressure usually accompanies symptoms of the condition – which was the case for Sundvall.
“She was at 225 over 111,” Spragg said of her sister’s blood pressure when she was rushed Jan. 2 to Sanford Bemidji Medical Center in Bemidji. “She was basically taken as soon as she got there to Minneapolis by ambulance.
“The benefit is something that I started about a week after (Charlotte) was born.”
The exact costs of Charlotte’s birth and hospital stay aren’t yet known, but a 2009 study by the March of Dimes put the average annual expenses for a child born prematurely at $49,000 for its first year of life.
The cost is a burden, and one which the family will need help with, but Charlotte’s birth is nothing but a blessing. And some might term her relative good health a miracle.
“The doctors are astonished at how well she’s doing,” Spragg said. “I’m hoping for the best and praying for the best. And as a sister that’s pretty much all you can do.”
If You Go
What: Benefit for Charlotte Peterson, born three weeks premature on Jan. 2.
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Lammer’s Town Hall, Solway
The benefit will feature a spaghetti dinner, silent auction and bake sale. All funds raised will go to help the family with medical expenses for Charlotte’s birth and hospital stay.
For more information, call Lindsay Spragg at 218-209-6155.