Like other babies born prematurely, Isaac Wagnon had a few more challenges than many youngsters.
A little more than two years later, the Tahlequah toddler is happy and healthy. He enjoys his family, his guitar, shooting a basketball or simply chasing bubbles in the backyard.
“He was born at 30 weeks and five days, or about 10 weeks early,” said Brian Wagnon, Isaac’s dad.
It came as a surprise, and caught him and his wife, Ashley, off guard.
“[Ashley] went in for a check-up on a Monday, and Isaac was born two days later on Wednesday,” said Brian. “My wife had pre-eclampsia, a fairly common problem during pregnancy. The doctors determined it would be best to deliver Isaac even though he would only be around 3 pounds. It was so sudden. Isaac’s fine now, but he was in the hospital for five weeks. It was a trying time.”
This year, Isaac is the Muskogee County March of Dimes March for Babies ambassador as the agency continues its quest to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.
Isaac’s parents had planned to put together a team to participate in this year’s march, set for Saturday, March 15, at 9 a.m. in the Muskogee Civic Center west parking lot. They started fundraising efforts in February with a team goal of $3,000, and were later contacted about having Isaac become the ambassador.
“Our team is unique,” said Brian. “Isaac’s team is probably representing about a dozen preemies.”
So far, three dozen people have signed up for the team.
The Muskogee March for Babies is working toward a goal of raising $65,000 this year, and Isaac’s efforts are going to help. Corporate and individual sponsors have helped his team pull in more than $1,000 already.
Locals can also join his team to walk for the cause in May.
“Your responsibility as team member is basically to just show up for the walk,” said Brian. “We have taken on a lot of the fundraising responsibilities, and we’re not asking anyone to take part 100 percent in the fundraising. But they can if they want to.”
Bank day, when teams gather to count up their total donations, is May 11. Change buckets can be found in Tahlequah at Katfish Kitchen, Tulsa Teachers Credit Union, TMC Pharmacy and Tahlequah Drug Co., near Reasor’s.
Isaac’s story – and the journey it has taken his family on over the past two years – is reaching out to other families of premature babies in other aspects, as well.
“Every preemie is different, on a case-by-case basis, and sometimes to an extreme,” said Brian. “While we were in the hospital, we were wondering why this had happened, and began to realize it was so we could help others in similar situations.”
Brian and Ashley said finding information, and others who had experienced what they were going through, wasn’t an easy task when their son took his first breath.
“Even soon after he was born, we started thinking that, as people of faith who believe God’s working all things for his good, we could use this to help other people,” said Brian.
The family began reaching out and talking to others. From there, his family and others started the non-denominational Northeastern Oklahoma Parents of Preemies as a support group for families all across the northeastern side of Oklahoma. The goal is to provide physical, emotional and spiritual support for parents of preemies in all stages of their journey.
“Through this support group, we’re gathering up people who have had these experiences,” said Brian. “We’ve talked with families that had twins as preemies. We had a family who had a preemie that had Down Syndrome, and we have had a family that lost its baby.”
Some of the interaction is simply in the form of prayer requests.
“Sometimes, it’s just about being out there, being on call,” said Brian.
Brian and Ashley say they hold tight to one particular scripture, 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. Verses 3-4 say: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
To learn about joining Isaac’s Muskogee March of Dimes team, call Brian Wagnon at (918) 931-2153, or visit the website at www.marchforbabies.org/team/t1366079 to donate or read about the event. To learn more about Northeastern Oklahoma Parents for Preemies, contact Wagnon, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or search for the support group’s fan page on Facebook.com.