LIFE GOES ON

The birth of her twins inspired Marla Lindsay to help others like her

By JILL INGRAM MA ’08

Nothing about Marla Hyman Lindsay’s ’00 second pregnancy went according to plan. First, Lindsay had the shock of learning that she and her husband, Lonnie Chea Lindsay, were expecting twins. The pregnancy quickly became complicated, with Lindsay requiring extended hospitalizations. “It became like a nightmare,” said Lindsay, of Greensboro, who becomes emotional with remembering.

Marla Lindsay (center), with twin son Christian, after finishing the 2011 March for Babies. Also pictured (from left) are family friend Dominique Blunt, holding twin daughter Christina, son Lonnie II and husband Lonnie.

Lindsay carried the babies to 31 weeks, and on Sept. 5, 2010, delivered a boy, Christian, weighing 3 pounds and 6 ounces, and a girl, Christina, weighing 3 pounds and 2 ounces. The babies, who joined an older brother, kindergartner Lonnie Chea II, spent the first two months of their lives in intensive care. A former member of the WCU track and field team, Lindsay relied on her WCU connections to help her through the time, staying in touch with many of them through Facebook. “I constantly tell people it was those prayers that helped my kids get out of NICU,” she said.

The babies’ early arrival prompted another unexpected turn of events. “Financially, the home needed to be a two-income home,” Lindsay said. Ultimately, however, with the twins’ extended stay in the NICU and the special care they would need at home, Lindsay left her full-time position as an IT specialist with manufacturer Gilbarco Veeder-Root.

Though focused on the health of her children, life events left Lindsay struggling with guilt and depression. She found relief when she learned of the nonprofit March of Dimes and its mission to raise awareness about and find the causes of premature birth. “I felt compelled to help myself by helping others,” said Lindsay, who dove into the local March for Babies, raising money on behalf of the “Lindsay A Team” for the spring event. Friends, family, neighbors, her husband’s co-workers, even a local fire department – Lindsay enlisted the support of all. “It felt like therapy for me,” Lindsay said.

Lisa Edwards, a former nurse with the Guildford County Department of Public Health, met Lindsay through a program that provides support for young children at risk for developmental delays and also worked with her during the 2011 March for Babies, which Edwards helps organize. The walk bolstered Lindsay by allowing her to give back, said Edwards, the mother of two premature babies, now teenagers and doing great. “Working, being busy and doing something for her children helped her a lot,” she said.

Lindsay’s twins continue to achieve new milestones and in most ways are typical for their age. While she still finds her day-to-day role challenging, Lindsay has learned to embrace her stay-at-home status, and she’s gearing up for the 2012 March for Babies, scheduled for April 28. “We want to earn $10,000,” said Lindsay, who is organizing a team. “We’re really going to go outside of the box.”

Supporters can click here to contribute to Lindsay’s efforts online.