Age: 5.5 months
Weight at Birth: 1lb 5ozs (587 grams)
Weeks Gestation: 24 weeks 6 days
Time in the NICU: 170 Days
My Preemie Power Story:
After a mostly uneventful pregnancy, I was admitted to the hospital with severe preeclampsia at 22 weeks 6 days. I spent two weeks there on bed rest before being rushed to a c-section due to the baby showing signs of stress. We were warned our baby was so young that we wouldn’t hear him cry. Instead, he made three little cries for us! We should have known then that he was telling us what a little fighter he was going to be.
Victor had a very brief honeymoon period and less than 24 hours later, ended up on the oscillator. Even though I had received steroids, his lungs were very very weak. He received four doses of Survanta, and finally his body slowly started showing some response. Then at one week old, his left lung partially collapsed. Somehow he managed to avoid a chest tube.
With the help of steroids, Victor moved on to the regular ventilator, where he spent the next 8.5 weeks. During that time, we had a few firsts. At 13 days of life, we got to do our first kangaroo care. The following week, he finally got to start taking in breast milk through a gavage tube. I changed his diaper for the first time, and he started wearing clothes.
At just before two months old, once he hit 1500 grams, Victor underwent a PDA ligation. Again we were warned of something — this time that the recovery could be pretty rough. Somehow, he didn’t have any of the expected issues. A week later, he was able to say goodbye to the ventilator and hello to CPAP.
Two weeks after Victor’s PDA surgery, we received word that his eyes were showing Stage 3 ROP plus disease. He would go on to have laser eye surgery the next day.
The week after his eye surgery, the doctor noticed during rounds that Victor’s right leg was swollen. An x-ray confirmed a broken femur. He was fitted for a Pavlik harness to keep his leg stable and scheduled for a follow up x-ray in 3 weeks. Two weeks into it, his breathing had worsened. A chest x-ray showed broken ribs. Thankfully he healed as quickly as predicted, and by his due date, the broken bones — and harness — were behind him.
Victor struggled to move from CPAP to high flow. Once he was able to go to high flow full time, he got stuck at a high rate. Steroids were administered again, and that allowed him to wean down to a lower flow rate.
At one month past his due date, Victor moved to be with the feeder growers. He struggled with bottle feeding, but once the right bottle/nipple combo was introduced, he showed improvement.
Finally, after 24 weeks and 2 days in the NICU, Victor got his first breath of fresh air — via stroller ride home! He is on 1/2 L of oxygen and has many follow up appointments…..but he is home!!!
Super Hero Qualities:
The main super hero qualities my son exhibited were courage and a willingness to fight. Every time we hit a bump in the road, I would be an emotional wreck. Not my little guy. He would take it all in stride, and then at the last minute he’d conquer the “enemy” as if to say “have no fear…”
In true super hero fashion, my son also liked to defy the odds. He wasn’t supposed to cry at birth, but he did. He had a collapsed lung but avoided a chest tube. He was a likely candidate for a tracheostomy, yet he managed to fend that off too.
Lastly, super heroes are charming. That is definitely my son. He had lots of nurses who wanted to take care of him on any given day and night. It is easy for him to bat his beautiful eyes and immediately get his way.