'Every Breath Is Celebrated’: Donors Come to Aid of Family of Micropremies

As she held her vocal, 6-pound baby son Beckham in her arms, Brittany Meyer considered the “miracles on miracles, a million little miracles,” that brought her family to this point.

“This whole journey has been eye-opening to what miraculous beings these babies are,” Brittany said. “There’s no way to prepare for something like this. It’s been humbling and horrible and just a unique experience.”

The generosity of donors has been a cozy blanket of love wrapped around the Meyer family during the high peaks and low valleys of micropremies, who were born shy of 26 weeks and came into the world between 1 and 2 pounds.

That was too soon for Caden Carter, who slipped away two days after he was born. Beckham, Trustin, and Gracelynn faced brain, heart, lung, and eye issues that at times terrified their parents. They are home now and doing well.

“Every breath is celebrated. Every milestone matters,” Brittany said. “When they were first placed on our chests on week three, we saw their heart rates calm. It was incredible, and nerve-wracking, and beautiful. It’s what we have been praying for.”

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Donors who back Mercy Flight were with Trustin as he flew to Seattle for two neurosurgeries to remove spinal fluid and pressure around his brain after brain hemorrhages. Angel Fund supporters helped Brittany ship breastmilk to feed Trustin despite the miles between them and helped her husband, Carl, travel with his tiny son to Seattle.

Donors to the Benefis Women’s and Children’s Center are creating a medical home for future care as the children grow through wellness checks and beyond.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit cameras above the incubators gave the babies’ parents and grandparents peace of mind when they’re not in the room, a comfort possible because of donors.

“To everyone who donates, thank you. Everyone’s generosity and kindness is helping us through this,” Brittany said. “It really does make a difference.”

The NICU room itself, specially designed for multiples, is a gift from donor Delores Seay and her husband, Kenneth. When Delores was born in Miles City as one of Montana’s first quadruplets in 1947, the hospital had to request incubators from Minnesota and Billings. The smallest baby and Delores’ identical twin, Donna, was barely 1 pound and succumbed within a few days.

Nearly 75 years later as a new set of quadruplets arrived in the world, they had the state-of-the-art Seay Triplets Room, donated in memory of Delores’ parents, Edward and Esther Randash. The family moved to Great Falls in 1961.

“I’m thrilled the room is there,” Delores said. “We hope it’s a place of comfort where the babies can all be cared for in one room.”

Without the triplet room, the Meyer babies would have needed three separate rooms to accommodate their incubators and monitors.

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When Delores and her siblings were born, news of the quadruplets spread quickly around the country, and support poured in.

“It was unreal, but multiple births were very rare then,” Delores said.

Quadruplets are still rare; the odds of having them are only about 1 in 571,787.

“Miles City folks put cans in the bars and grocery stories and collected $1,500 to pay the hospital bill,” she said. “Baker, where our parents lived, wasn’t going to be outdone and collected $1,500, too.”

Delores reached out to the Meyer family and sent baby blankets. Brittany called her a “wonderful advocate and gentle voice. It’s very neat we get to be part of the story of those quadruplets born so long ago.”

The generosity of bar patrons and distant newspaper readers when she and her siblings were born inspired Delores throughout her life. Now it’s rippling through her own generosity into the lives of the Meyer babies.

That’s the power of philanthropy.