Superman AJ

AJAge: 2 years
Weight at Birth: 1lbs 8 ozs
Weeks Gestation: 25
Time spent in the NICU: 110 days

My Preemie Power Story:

Avery aka AJ and his twin brother, Archer were born on July 21 2011 the day I turned 25 weeks. Archer was born first and let out a little squeal amd tried breathing on his own. AJ had to be resuscitated, he has been a fighter from his very first breath. The boys were sent to the NICU to fight for their lives. After three weeks, AJ’s brother passed away from a blood infection. It was rough sailing from there.

AJ was intubated until he was 6 weeks old and that was the first time mommy got to hold him. He fought off multiple infections which scared his mommy and daddy very much. He had chronic lung disease and multiple blood transfusions. When he was finally able to come home he weighed 5lbs and was still on oxygen and an apnea monitor and had seven different medications. The first year was tough and slow going, but with the help of his Guardian Angel he has pulled through and thrived. He is now a rambunctious two year old with no oxygen or monitors or meds. He is our little Superman

Super Hero Characteristics:

Fighter- He fought for his life from the beginning and has beat all odds
Strong- AJ has scars on his hands, arms, legs amd bellybutton from all the needles he had to endure. Most of his veins were blown. So not much phases him now. He is the toughest boy I know!
Loving- He is so caring and loving. He gives the tightest hugs and always seems to know when to comfort someone.

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…]

The DOMinator

DominicAge: 6 months
Weight at Birth: 1lb 13 ozs
Weeks Gestation: 28
Time spent in the NICU: 91 days

My Preemie Power Story:

I had chronic high blood pressure and an incompetent cervix held up by a cerclage. The doctor always had a difficult time performing the ultrasounds because Dominic wouldn’t stay still. He was already playing hide-and-go-seek. But I loved it! Dominic was telling me he was okay. Medication was no longer helping. The doctor gave me the weekend to get my stuff together before “turning myself in.” I was put on bed rest and constant monitoring, at The Woman’s Hospital of Texas in Houston.

The first time Dominic’s heart rate dropped, frantic nurses came in, flipped me to the side and put the oxygen mask on me. I was given Magnesium and Celeston. Then he would stabilize. This happened three times. It was a rollercoaster of emotions worrying about Dominic’s survival inside or outside of the womb. But he still kicked like crazy, telling me I’m ready to play.” The nurses were constantly in my room adjusting the belts to keep him monitored. My husband was so proud of his misbehavior.

The Doctor detected breathing-movement. She also saw Reverse-End Diastolic Flow and Dominic wasn’t growing. [Read more…]

Tiny Tornado

RyanAge: 5 years
Weight at Birth: 2lbs
Weeks Gestation: 25
Time spent in the NICU: 134 days

My Preemie Power Story:

Just like a tornado, Ryan came storming into our lives with a flurry of unexpected activity. Ryan was born at 25 weeks, weighing in at 2 pounds. He was born with pneumonia, and remained seriously ill for most of the 19 weeks (134 days total) he remained in NICU. In the span of 5 months, Ryan endured more than most do in an entire lifetime and has the scars to prove it! He continues to not only endure life, but to thrive. This “Tiny Tornado” hasn’t slowed down since NICU…you could categorize his intense activity level as an F-5!

Ryan required Ventilator support for two months, C-pap for one month, and oxygen via nasal cannula for the remainder of his NICU stay. He endured daily chest X-rays, labs, blood transfusions, and required photo therapy for several weeks. A moderate PDA and a Grade 1 brain bleed were found, both of which resolved on their own or with medication. He had mild ROP and today wears glasses. He had two Immunoglobulin infusions while in NICU and one as an outpatient, to bolster his weak immune system. [Read more…]

The Loganator

LoganAge: 10 months
Weight at Birth: 1lb 12oz
Weeks Gestation: 25
Time spent in the NICU: 110 days

My Preemie Power Story: 

The Loganator was born at 25 weeks, due to an infection of the mother. He was given a 10% chance to live. Logan was born at 1 pound 12 ounces, but dropped to 1 pound. At birth he suffered grade four brain bleeds. He had a PDA, devolved ROP, and chronic lungs. His brain bleeds never required a shunt. Logan’s PDA closed itself. He has a 4-hour ROP surgery to correct his eyes. Logan spent 110 long rollercoaster days in the NICU. Logan was intubated 3 months and on oxygen till 5 days till he came home. The hours turned to days, days to weeks, weeks to months and Logan proved to us he’s a real life superhero.

Super Hero Characteristics:

Logan has the amazing ability to heal and rejuvenate. Logan can turn anyone’s frown upside down with his smile.  He has a massive amount of determination. Logan can clear any room with his stinky farts. He shows affection,and love to everyone. Logan can over come anything obstacles that lay in front of him.

Happy Jax

JaxonAge: 14 months
Weight at Birth: 1lb 8oz
Weeks Gestation: 23
Time spent in the NICU: 93 days

My Preemie Power Story:

My pregnancy was healthy and normal. An ultrasound said we were having a girl! My husband and I were on vacation 4 hours from home. We spent hours in our boat talking about how we would take our daughter fishing. I was 23 weeks along – just over half way.

But on the last day of vacation, I went into labor. I was airlifted to a hospital with a high-level NICU. And the baby was born. It was not breathing.

Doctors were working frantically, everyone was crying.

And then I heard the most amazing sound – a tiny little cry! The baby was alive! [Read more…]

Awesome Austin

AustinAge: 23 months
Weight at Birth: 1lb 13oz
Weeks Gestation: 26
Time spent in the NICU: 140 days

My Preemie Power Story:

Austin was born after 8 wks of strict bed rest entering this world very quickly, at 26 weeks and 2 days, weighing a scant 1 lb 13 oz.  It was a rough start but he immediately showed us his super power strength!  He defied many odds from day one.   He never had a heart problem, no brain bleeds, no gi issues, but many lung issues that contributed to a long 140 days in the NICU.  Austin had many clamp down episodes and coded a handful of times in the NICU.  There were many days we weren’t sure if he’d be around to see the next hour, let alone the next day.  But Awesome Austin continued to show us that patience with him was all we needed to allow his super powers to shine.  We have been blessed beyond measure and he is now a thriving toddler.  He still holds his CLD diagnosis and struggles with reactive airway disease, but is otherwise healthy and not much a strong little super hero, such as he is, can’t handle.  He loves to climb and and be outdoors.  He loves to wear his superman cape and run around outdoors!  He likes to go hiking and roll around with his dog, Fredward.  He has a big brother whom he looks up to.  He likes to watch mommy cook and even makes up his own recipes!  He and daddy love to play toss with the football, and he is overjoyed each day daddy comes home from work!  We are watching his weight as he is so active he really takes his time packing on the pounds- but he will get there! ….and thus far his slow weight gain hasn’t held him back from showing off his super powers!! Life with Austin is awesome… He is awesome!

Super Hero Characteristics:

Austin is strong, brave, determined and has a positive spirit!

The Amazing Grace

Grace ~ Super Hero Alias: The Amazing Grace

GraceAge: 3 months
Weight at birth: 1 lb 9 ozs
Weeks gestation: 24 weeks
Time in the NICU: 98+ days, still there

Diagnosis, complications, surgeries? 

Chronic lung disease. Bacteria in her lungs. Grace was off all oxygen, had an eye exam and during the eye exam,stopped breathing,she is now back on oxygen at 2 liters on the nasal cannula.

Why Should Your Child Be Recognized as Preemie of the Year?

Grace has overcome so much.She was born at 24 weeks gestation weighing in at only 1lb 9oz. She spent the first 2 months of her life with breathing tubes down her throat which caused 2 forms of bacteria to form in her lungs. She’s spent most of her 3 months on this earth in isolation because of the bacteria so was not able to feel the loving touch of her family.She was 2 months old before her mom got to hold her for the first time. She is a fighter.She is my super hero. I would never be able to handle everything this poor child has had to endure these past 3 months. [Read more…]

The Electrifying Tiny Hiney

Ryan ~ Super Hero Alias: The Electrifying Tiny Hiney

RyanAge: 4 years
Weight at birth: 1 lb 15.5 ozs
Weeks gestation: 25 weeks
Time in the NICU: 134 days

Diagnosis, complications, surgeries? 

Ryan was born with a pneumonia infection which required daily chest X-Rays and labs.  Due to the amount of blood drawn, he required several blood transfusions.  He remained on ventilator support for  two months, on C-pap for another month, and nasal cannula for the remainder of his NICU stay.  He became septic due to multiple pneumonia infections, and suffered from Respiratory Distress Syndrome. He had high Bilirubin levels and remained under the photo therapy lights for a couple of weeks.   A moderate PDA and a Grade 1 brain bleed were found, both of which resolved on their own or with medication.  Diuretics were necessary, due to fluid overload.   He had mild ROP and today wears glasses.  He had two Immunoglobulin infusions while in NICU and one as an outpatient, to help bolster his weak immune system.  After returning home, Ryan required oxygen during feedings, was medicated for GERD, and was considered for a PEG tube at 8 months.  Ryan developed Torticollis and Plagiocephaly and wore a cranial remolding helmet for 5 months.  He also wore orthotic shoe inserts to assist with toe walking and low tone.  Ryan has Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia/Chronic Lung Disease and asthma controlled with daily medication and inhalers.  He received multiple therapies and attended Early Childhood Special Education classes until age four.

Why Should Your Children Be Recognized as Preemies of the Year?

Our Tiny Hiney is quite “electrifying” and not easily forgotten. Ryan’s BIG brown eyes are typically the first thing people notice, but it doesn’t take long before they realize he has a passion for anything mechanical and electrical…especially vacuums. With his first word being “light”, it is no wonder he is asking Santa for a new vacuum, a power strip, and an extension cord for Christmas, or that he named his pet fish Dyson. We have joked that his name should have been Cord. He has an inquisitive nature and a methodical and analytical mind, often taking a scientific approach to most everything he sets his mind to. We attribute this, in part, to his being “raised” by machines for the first 5 months of his life.

Ryan was born at 25 weeks, due to preterm labor. He was born with a pneumonia infection which caused his already compromised lung function to be even more critical. He remained in NICU for 19 weeks…134 days total. Ryan endured more than most do in an entire lifetime, in the span of 5 months…and has the scars to prove it! He continues to not only endure life, but to thrive. He was on the move even in NICU (the nurses had a difficult time keeping him swaddled and he often pulled at his ET and NG tubes) and he hasn’t slowed down!

Life since NICU has not been uneventful for Ryan, yet typical for a micro-preemie. In less than five years, there have been a multitude of medical appointments, procedures, medications, therapies, orthotics, and other special needs. Additional appointments and therapy are in Ryan’s future, to help assist with a cross bite, lateral and frontal lisp, asthma, and for farsightedness and cross-eye. Through it all, Ryan has risen to meet each challenge with a great deal of strength and determination, an intense curiosity, and great sense of humor.

Ryan is not just our Preemie Super Hero of the Year, but of every single day. We recognize him as our Super Hero not only because of his personality, abilities, or his endurance, but because he is a testament to strength, endurance, and determination of the Neonatalogists, NICU nurses, Respiratory Therapists, and other specialists who devote their careers to ensuring a happy, healthy future for our babies. They make miracles like Ryan happen!

To read more about Ryan’s NICU days, and the months following, please take a peak at his Caring Bridge site at and enter the site name ryanondrick. For a smile, please watch a video of Ryan reciting the Pledge of Allegiance last Fall at [Read more…]

Adventurous Atticus

Atticus ~ Super Hero Alias: Adventurous Atticus

AtticusAge: 14 months
Weight at birth: 2 lb 1 oz
Weeks gestation: 26 weeks
Time in the NICU: 90 days

Diagnosis, surgeries, complications?

Apgar scores of 1:1:1:5, required mechanical ventilation for the first week of life, neutropenia at birth, anemia of prematurity- required multiple blood transfusions, Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Chronic Lung Disease of Prematurity, Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia, Moderate PDA, Bilateral Inguinal Hernia Repair

Why Should Your Children Be Recognized as Preemies of the Year?

The first 3 months of Atticus’ life were difficult to say the least.  The constant rollercoaster of the NICU took i’s toll on myself and my husband.  That’s the best way I can describe the NICU experience… A rollercoaster.  We never knew if he was going to be okay or what medical surprises would be waiting for us when we walked through the NICU doors; we never knew if Atticus was having a “good day” or a “bad day”; we never knew if he would be well enough to hold that day, or even touch; we never knew when he was coming home… being told constantly that he would be, only to be let down because he had a bad day.  Through it all, Atticus was the one in our family who was the strongest. [Read more…]