Grateful Patient Spotlight: Katie Vallely Martz
The difference Melissa's Fund made for NICU graduate Palmer Martz
"These preemies have a very big job to do as it is … We ask them to develop all of these skills that would have otherwise been done for them in the womb. Without the community's support, Palmer might not have had access to the necessary equipment and technology he so desperately needed to progress and thrive."
As first-time parents, Katie and Matthew Martz pictured what it would be like to celebrate the birth of their son and leave the hospital as a family of three. When Palmer came 10 weeks early though, they say their “perfect day dreams went out the window.”
Before they knew it, Katie and Matthew had a 2 pound 12 ounce premature baby who relied on the lifesaving equipment of our Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to help him breathe and grow.
“Palmer couldn't feed himself, breathe on his own or regulate his own body temperature,” Katie said. “Each of those 44 days came with an intense rollercoaster of emotions. We knew we were his parents, yet each day, we left the unit to drive home, no baby in tow.”
It means so much to Katie to know that much of the equipment Palmer needed was made possible by donors to the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund at Huntsville Hospital Foundation.
“The level of community support for the Huntsville Hospital NICU means the world to me as a recent NICU mom," Katie said. "These preemies have a very big job to do as it is … We ask them to develop all of these skills that would have otherwise been done for them in the womb. Without the community's support, Palmer might not have had access to the necessary equipment and technology he so desperately needed to progress and thrive.”
Forty-four days later, the Martzes got to walk out of the unit and hospital, finally complete as a family of three.
“It was the most joyful day! We felt like we could finally breathe for the first time in over 44 days," Katie said. "After so many times walking out of those hospital doors without our baby, feeling defeated and heartbroken, November 14, 2021, was a walk I'll never forget! We walked that same beaten path, this time with our baby in tow, feeling grateful and excited.”