General Grant

GrantAge: 19
Weight at Birth: 1 lb. 14 oz
Weeks Gestation: 26 1/2
Time spent in the NICU: 12 weeks

My Preemie Power Story:

Preemie Power Story General Grant was a fighter from the start. Born at just over 26 weeks, this “wimpy white boy” was given a 50/50 chance of making it by the doctors. If he made it, they said he would face many challenges. His first challenge was to have the nurses tie him down so he would not extubate himself. He spent 7 weeks on a ventilator. They had trouble keeping his blood pressure steady. We were called 3 times to the hospital because they thought things looked bleak and they did not know if he would make it through the night. He was fed through a tube for 2 months. Then came the ROP study. They found that his retinopathy looked pretty bad, and even with laser and cryosurgery, maybe a 50% chance that he would not see. He had this surgery when he was just under 3 pounds. [Read more…]

Our Fighting Princess

KimberlyAge: 16 year
Weight at Birth: 2-1/2 lbs
Week Gestation: 26 weeks
Days Gestation: 4-1/2 months

My Preemie Power Story:

Kimberly came into this world with many strikes against her.  We became her foster parents and later adopted her.  We were told when we brought her home that she would only live a few months.  She is fed through a G Tube and has seizures, CP, Hydrocephalus, Microcephaly and sleep apnea.  She has had more than 30 surgeries, mostly for shunt infections or breakage,  She has had a spinal fusion, a hip removed, hip surgeries, her tonsils and adenoids removed and many others.  We almost lost her on 2 different occasions.  But she and God pulled her through.  She smiles, laughs and sings all the time.  We do not understand most of the words she sings but we recognize the tune immediately.  She is always happy.  She loves school and wakes around 4 to 5 am saying bye bye because she wants to go to school.  We have learned that the doctors don’t always know what kind of life the child will have or how long they will live.  Our fighting princess was given only a few months to live and on December 5 she will be 17 years old.  She is truly a miracle.  She is a ray of sunshine in our lives and we can not imagine our lives without her.  She so deserves to win this contest.

Super Hero Characteristics:

Happy, Fighter, Loving

Leilah the Lovebug

LeilahAge: 20 months
Weight at Birth: 1 lb 12 ounces
Weeks Gestation: 26 weeks 1 day
Time spent in the NICU: 85

My Preemie Power Story:
Arriving into this world weighing a whopping 1 lb 12 oz…. Our miracle would turn out to have the greatest power of them all…. The power of Love…times 2! See, she came at a time when we thought having a child was out of our reach! With determination and faith in God, we went for it! So imagine our shock when we found out we were expecting identical twins! But like the previous paths to parenthood we traveled, this would not be ordinary.

Through highs and lows we found out we would lose one of our daughters either at birth or shortly there after. And at 24 weeks we feared this was happening sooner rather than later! However our angel baby knew her sister needed to make her mark on this world so held on and gave us two more weeks in the womb. Finally at 26 weeks, we gave birth to Abigail our angel in heaven and Leilah our Lovebug here on earth! Abigail knew our hearts needed unconditional love and before passing to heaven transferred all her love to Leilah so that our hearts would never be empty….hence the power of love…times 2!!!! The power of her love through her laugh, words, and cries, she keeps our love tank full from now until eternity!

Super Hero Characteristics:
The sweetest, happiest, determined, tenacious little girl we know!

Queen of the NICU

CassieAge: 22 months
Weight at Birth: 650 gms
Weeks Gestation: 26 weeks
Time spent in the NICU: 94 days

My Preemie Power Story:

Cassie was born early due to preeclampsia. We were warned that they weren’t sure they had a tube small enough to fit down her throat. They got in the tube in one attempt. She has been such a fighter! She gained her nickname queen of the Nicu because she never liked to share attention. If there was a baby in distress she would also decide to misbehave. She had a lot of trouble with her lungs and it resulted in her needing to come home on oxygen and heart apnea monitors. While in the Nicu she had 12 blood transfusions, a spinal tap, a picc line, numerous X-rays, her kidneys stopped working for a week and she was so swollen that she was twice the size she should have been. She had to be under 3 billiruben lights at one point. She was on caffeine for a while and blood pressure meds. She fought so hard and her attitude kept her with us during those first two months when we weren’t sure if we were even allowed to tell people she was doing well on any given day. I was so scared that if I said she was doing ok then something awful would happen. I remember one day I called to get an update (about 2 months into our stay) and the nurse told me “she is having a good day” it was the first time they didn’t use guarded words to risk getting our hopes up. It was the first time I allowed myself to use those same words in giving others an update. She came home 4 days before her due date. A Nicu’d motto was the preemie dictates everything. The tiny fighter tells everyone what they are able to handle. Cassie took those sentiments and ran with them. When she was born she stole our hearts and showed us what she was able to handle. They say that most people never get to meet their hero, and I gave birth to mine.

Super Hero Characteristics:

Her goal seems to be to make everyone smile. She will grab your arm and kiss it. She is daring and willing to run around with the older kids. She is brave, even when she isn’t feeling well she never complains.

Lil Warrior

AsherAge: 5-1/2 months
Weight at Birth: 1 lb 14 oz
Weeks Gestation: 26
Time spent in the NICU: 125 days +21 days in PICU totally 146 days

My Preemie Power Story:

Asher is dressed as Clark Kent in this picture. He has secretly been Superman from the very second he entered this world. Asher entered this world at 26 weeks weighing 1 lb 14 oz and 13 inches long in the parking lot of his brothers daycare in my pants with no medical personnel on hand. He was crying!! It is that determination that propelled him through all the hurdles he faced with his early arrival.

At less than a month old he had the PDA Heart Ligation surgery and it took 2 titanium clips to close the hole in his heart. At almost 3 months old he had a Tracheotomy due to having paralyzed vocal cords, and then at almost 4 months old he had four surgeries in one for the G-Tube placement, Fundoplication, Hernia and one other. After multiple re-intubations, 2 bouts of pneumonia and almost losing him two times, my lil warrior always kept fighting and always had a smile on his face. He showed me what true strength and grit means and he his the epitome of strength in my book. What he has overcame in his short life is nothing short of miraculous and I am so honored that God blessed me with such an incredible little boy.

His determination through every obstacle he has faced, and continues to face, is a testament to how much he wants to be in this world and he is going to do something great. He already has made such a difference in people lives with how inspirational he is with his huge smile and happy face despite what he has been through. His brother and I adore him and are happy to celebrate that he has been home a month now after a 5 day hospital stay for Bilateral Viral Pneumonia 3 weeks after coming home. At almost 6 months old he weighs 7 lbs 14 oz and is 20 1/4 inches long. He just amazes me and I am so fortunate to be able to look into the eyes of his beautiful face and witness a miracle every day.

Super Hero Characteristics:
Resilient, Conqueror, Courageous, Inspiring, he smiles in the face of adversity……I could go on and on. 🙂 (He has 2 amazing sidekicks in his brother and mom too!)

Mr. Incredible

ChaseAge: 4 years
Weight at Birth: 2lbs 3 ozs
Weeks Gestation: 26
Time spent in the NICU: 92 days

My Preemie Power Story:

Chase was born at 26 weeks, weighing 2lbs 3ozs. At exactly 1 week old we were told he had a massive brain bleed on both sides of his brain. At only 3 weeks of age and less then 3lbs he had his first of many surgeries to have a shunt placed to drain the fluid that was building up. A month later he was diagnosed with a UTI and Meningitis and the shunt was removed immediately. At that moment my life fell apart. I had watched my son work so hard to breath on his own, go from an incubator to an open crib, and to be able to eat from a bottle versus through a tube. He had worked 6 long weeks to get where he was and in a matter of seconds all the work had disappeared and he was being kept alive by a ventilator. That was probably the longest week of my life.

I remember walking into his pod and seeing all the wires and monitors and feeling like we were starting at the beginning again. He proved to me and our entire family that week what a fighter he truly was. Once all the meds kicked in he was able to begin the fight for his life. He fought hard for 7 days and in the end he won. He would not let life beat him. It seemed like one day he still wasn’t improving and then the next he was back to him self and doing everything he was doing just a week before. [Read more…]

Our Miracle Gaby

GabyAge: 4 years
Weight at Birth: 1lbs 5 ozs
Weeks Gestation: 26
Time spent in the NICU: 314 days

My Preemie Power Story:

Our daughter Gaby was born extremely premature due to pre-ruptured membrane first at 14 weeks. Our doctor advised us to be induced because in his professional experience it was too early in our pregnancy for this child to survive. My husband and I agreed to let nature happen and God’s will be done so I was sent home after 2 days in the hospital. A few days later, my doctor called and was shocked to find out that I was still pregnant so I was placed on complete bed rest in the hospital.

An ultrasound was done once a week until 26 weeks when our doctors couldn’t understand or scientifically explain how it was possible for this child to be growing and weighing appropriately with still no measurable amniotic fluid. A C-section was scheduled and we were before warned that our baby may not be fully developed or formed. Upon delivery, Gaby was taken away after just a glimpse into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). She was placed in an isolette, put on a mechanical ventilator, oxygen and all sorts of tubes and wires on her tiny fragile body plus crazy alarms going off every second. [Read more…]

Mighty Mouse

KaitlynAge: 11 months
Weight at Birth: 1 lb 1 oz
Weeks Gestation: 26
Time spent in the NICU: 91 days

My Preemie Power Story:

On November 11, 2012, I gave birth to twin girls, Kaitlyn and Kristen. I was 26 weeks gestation when I had a placental abruption and learned that my daughters had to be delivered immediately via c-section. I had no idea what the future held or what the fate of my two daughters would be. When I awoke from surgery my husband told me that he saw the babies as they were brought up to the NICU. He told me they were both really small, but they were both moving and we had to have hope.

Kaitlyn (Baby A) weighed 1lb 1 oz, 12.5 inches and Kristen (Baby B) weighed 1lb 14oz, 13 inches. Both girls were immediately placed on ventilators and we learned that while both girls were in extremely critical condition, Kristen was suffering from pulmonary hypertension and every minute would count. [Read more…]

Mighty Micah

MicahAge: 14 months
Weight at Birth: 2 lbs 4 oz
Weeks Gestation: 26 weeks
Time spent in the NICU: 105 days

My Preemie Power Story:

On July 27 of 2012, I was admitted into labor and delivery at 25w 5d because I was dilated to 2cm and 80% effaced. Was I really going into labor? I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock. My pregnancy had been perfect up to this point. I always imagined being whisked up to the hospital with a big grin on my face, bags packed, and anxious to see my chubby little pink baby boy. This was not the case. As I lay in a hospital bed, doped up on magnesium to stop the contractions, I prayed. I prayed hard. I begged God to please let my baby stay in. The goal was 34 weeks…that was still another 8.5 weeks away. They told me I had to stay at the hospital on bed rest because if I were at home, we would never make it in time back to the hospital once he started coming. I mentally prepared myself to live in the hospital for 2 months. You can do ANYTHING for your baby. God had bigger plans.

Four days later on July 31st, Micah Emory was born at 2lbs 14.25 inches long. This was not the joyful moment I expected. I was terrified. I had never seen a baby so tiny and fragile in my entire life. I was in shock. Would he live? Would he be ok? What would the next few months have in store for him? What would his life have in store for him? All these questions raced through my mind. Something came over me. God came over me and I had peace; a peace I can’t explain. I knew that this journey ahead for Micah, Royce, and I would not be easy, but I trusted God to see us through. I will walk by faith even when I cannot see. Micah dropped down below 2lbs and was so tiny and underdeveloped. He depended on oxygen and other high-tech equipment to live. Still, I had faith. Micah went through numerous tests, X-rays, PICC lines, and countless IV’s. Still, I had faith. He underwent PDA ligation at 4 weeks old (at 2lbs). Still, I had faith. He had many blood transfusions, a couple of infections, a tumor on his brain (that resolved itself!), and we were told that he had stage 3/4 ROP. The bleeding in his eyes was very severe. It had already affected his eyesight. I was absolutely terrified. Would my baby be blind? Would he see the ocean, play baseball, see my face? Still, many questions raced trough my mind. But still, I had faith. Micah underwent a new procedure that was to stop the bleeding in his eyes and still allow the good vessels to grow. Micah was the first baby at the hospital he was at to ever have this procedure done. After 105 days in the NICU, our sweet Micah finally came home! That was the BEST day of our lives! When Micah was 9.5 months old, we got great news from his retinologist that his eyes are finally fully developed! Thank you, God! He has had several follow up appointments for his heart, kidneys, eyes, and urology and we have gotten nothing but great reports! Micah is now a happy and healthy boy and so full of life!

We never would have made it through without God, a team of doctors and nurses that cared for Micah, and for our family, friends, and complete strangers who prayed so diligently for miracles to happen.

Micah is a sweet reminder of how precious is and how good God is.

Super Hero Characteristics:

Mighty, Strong, Fighter

Tiny Buddha

BridgetWeight at Birth: 1 lb 9 oz
Weeks Gestation: 26 weeks
Time spent in the NICU: 119 days

My Preemie Power Story:

Bridget was born at 26 weeks due to chronic abruption. Three days before she was born, we found out that Bridget had a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. The doctors were accustomed to seeing TOF in term babies, but nobody knew what to expect of a baby born so early with TOF. We were told that her chance of survival was less than 10%. But our little girl continues to amaze us all with her vitality, strength, and courage.

We had our share of scary times along the way. After three failed extubation attempts, we feared Bridget would never breathe on her own. Because her troubled heart had to work so hard, Bridget was slow to gain weight. The TOF led to frequent drops in Bridget’s oxygen saturation. Bridget’s heart medicine dramatically increased the frequency of her apnea spells. Bridget tested positive for cystic fibrosis at one month old, but she wasn’t big enough for further testing until much later (thankfully she does not have CF, but is a carrier). Bridget was diagnosed with retinopathy of prematurity (which subsequently resolved). [Read more…]