TAMPA (FOX 13) - Elizabeth Andino is so thankful for her 3-year-old daughter, Aurora and 1-year-old son, Eddy. They were both preemies.
"Never would I have imagined in a million years that it would happen to me and I never imagined that it would happen twice," said Andino.
Andino was seven months pregnant with Aurora when she was in a car accident. She went to the hospital and doctors told her that her baby had stopped growing.
"The doctors told me, ‘We have to induce you because if not, you might have a stillborn baby,’" she recalled.
Aurora was born at 33 weeks. She weighed 3 pounds and 9 ounces. She was quickly rushed to the NICU.
"I never got to have that first couple of seconds when your baby is on your chest,” Andino said.
Aurora has autism.
"Aurora, still at the age of 3 and a half, is not potty-trained. Aurora can't communicate her feelings. Aurora can't tell you her name or how old she is," Andino continued.
A year later, Elizabeth was pregnant with twins. She began to bleed. She lost one of the twins.
Eddy was born at 34 weeks and went home with his mom.
"Edward's lungs were underdeveloped, and about two weeks after he was born, he stopped breathing on me. Had to be whisked back to the hospital and spend time in the NICU," Andino recalled.
Eddy was born with a hearing disability and hasn't spoken a word to anyone. "I have not heard him say mommy and daddy.”
Doctors implanted tubes in Eddy's ears in hopes that it would help him speak.
"Hope that that will make a difference and one day, I will get to hear my sweet little boy say ‘Mommy.’ That's all I long for," Andino offered.
She says the March of Dimes was a tremendous help to her family. She encourages community support.
“I believe -- truly, truly believe -- that if we don't have organizations that do the science, that work hard to try and find cures and try to find medications, treatments for our children, I don't know if Aurora and Edward would be here today," Andino added.
For information about the March for Babies events in your area, go to https://marchforbabies.org/Registration/Events/?SessionId=&PersonId=&ParticipantId=&CampaignId=74&zip=33609