Ary the Incredible

AryAge: 14 months
Weight at Birth: 2 lbs 5 oz
Weeks Gestation: 27
Time spent in the NICU: 75 days

My Preemie Power Story:
The day I found out I was pregnant I was shocked, excited and nervous all at the same time. It was a perfect pregnancy for me. Every day I was so thankful for this little miracle I was soon going to be a first time mom to. It wasn’t until 25 weeks and 6 days I woke up around 3:30 am to use the bathroom. When I turned on the lights and looked down I saw blood running down both my legs and clots just kept coming out. I had my mom rush my to the hospital and as soon as I got there my contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes. They did a sonogram and luckily everything with the baby was perfectly fine. My cervix was thinning which was causing me to go into pre term labor. I was given Magnesium to stop the contractions and Celestone to help her lungs mature. I was on bed rest for 8 days before I had her. Coincidentally, I had a doctor appointment that morning to make sure everything was going as it should. As soon as the doctor checked me I was 100% effaced and 2 cm dilated. She told me to go to the hospital because more than likely the baby was coming soon. 2 hours after settling in to the hospital my OB came in to check me and told me I was already 5 cm dilated and going fast. I had an emergency C-section and was amazed to hear her little cries when she came out. They told me not to expect to hear anything and that they were going to rush her to the NICU. She was intubated for a few hours but was able to breath on her own so they switched her to a CPAP. The first month and a half in the NICU was very hard on us but nothing was physically wrong with her. She was just having trouble keeping her weight up. The second month in the doctors noticed she was starting to develop NEC. Thankfully, they were able to catch it early and no surgery was needed. She was not able to have any breastmilk for 21 days while she was on antibiotics. This was an extremely difficult time for us but the little fighter she is made it through. Finally after 11 weeks she was able to come home. She is doing very well except for some developmental delays that she is getting therapy for 3 times a week. She is my miracle baby and I will forever be grateful for the little girl that she has turned out to be.

Super Hero Characteristics:
Intelligent, Inspirational, Extraordinary and One of a kind

Super X

XavierAge: 1 Year
Weight at Birth: 640 grams
Weeks Gestation: 23 weeks
Days in the NICU: 125 days

My Preemie Power Story:
Well, here we are, one year after Super X’s traumatic and premature entrance into this world at 23 weeks gestation. For the first 125 days of his life, he took us on the scariest roller coaster, with terrifying twists and turns. Since his NICU discharge he has been the most chill, relaxed baby.

Super X isn’t just our miracle baby, he is also our “rainbow baby.” A rainbow baby is a baby born after a miscarriage.

Super X has overcome what so many people believed was possible. Doctors didn’t expect Super X to survive and they suspected if he did, chances were high that he would be blind, deaf, or suffer from cerebral palsy, amongst other complications.

From the moment I went into premature labor and was admitted at 4 cm dilated with Super X’s foot hanging out of my cervix, God has looked out for him. Super X was able to “cook” in me for five more days, enabling doctors to give me 2 courses of steroids to speed up Super X’s lung development.

They say babies born in the amniotic sac (“born in the caul”) are blessed babies; Super X proves that! He was born with his sac breaking at the last possible moment. Being born in this manner prevented him from trauma, such as dangerous bruising and brain bleeds.

Super X’s bravery was admirable, evident from the day he was born. He fought to live, hardly crying through any of his multiple painful procedures while in the NICU. He has overcome more than what many of us adults have!

Super X overcame Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), the second most common cause of death in preemies, which required 2 intestinal surgeries. He also had ROP and underwent laser eye surgery.

Super X also had a hernia and PDA, which were resolved on their own without medical intervention.

We couldn’t even hold him Super X first few weeks of his life because he wasn’t stable enough, and because his skin was paper thin and could be easily ripped.

We were able to hold him when he was 7 weeks old, one week after his first intestinal surgery, for a few minutes.

Even at his sickest, Super X was a tenacious and feisty firecracker. He was the boss and he was driving the bus, as his doctors would say.

“We’ve learned that you don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have” (author unknown).

We look at Super X every single day and marvel at him, especially when we think back to all the possible outcomes we were given based on his gestational age at birth. Super X is such a happy baby and fills our hearts with joy.

God blessed Super X with the BEST doctors and nurses as well, and for that we are also grateful.

Super X is tough and strong! He is our 1 pound 6 ounce miracle.

“Most people never meet their hero. I gave birth to mine.” (author unknown).

Super Hero Characteristics:

Courageous: From the moment he was born, letting out a tiny kitten sounding cry, when doctors didn’t expect him to be born breathing, Super X has shown his determination to survive to make this world a better place. When first born, he was strong to squeeze our fingers when he held his hands. He sensed our worries and wanted to reassure us with his strong grip. Tiny but mighty!

Tough: Super X is mighty and tough, banishing the most dreaded preemie complication: NEC. He overcame 2 intestinal surgeries and laser eye surgery. He looked muscular even at his birth weight; his muscles were evident.

Resilient: Super X has shown that he can overcome whatever challenges come his way. Super X was discharged from the NICU without any monitors or oxygen needs, almost unheard of for a 23 weeker!

Dynamic Duo: Outstanding Owen & Bionic Bryce

Owen and BryceAge: 9 months
Weight at Birth: 3lbs 13oz and 3lbs
Weeks Gestation: 30w 5d
Time spent in the NICU: 6 weeks

My Preemie Power Story:

We found out I was pregnant with twins at our first doctor’s appointment in August 2013, I was 8 weeks along. We were so excited and shocked! My husband left for a 6 month deployment to Afghanistan a short 3 weeks later. My due date was March 25th so we had high-hopes he would make it home in time to see the birth of our identical twin boys, but knew he would miss most of my pregnancy. My pregnancy was 100% “by-the-book”; I experienced every symptom, perfect vitals and weight gain, and the babies were growing and healthy as could be. So when my water broke at 30 weeks I was in complete shock, this wasn’t in the book and my husband was still half way around the world.

I arrived at the hospital where I was told, “You probably just wet yourself, its common. There’s no way you are in labor.” A quick check revealed I was 2cm dilated and contracting every 2 minutes. I was quickly put in a room where I was hooked to every monitor imaginable and told I would be on strict hospital bed-rest until the babies were born. They began magnesium sulfate to slow my labor and steroid shots to help develop the boys’ lungs in preparation for a premature birth. The following 2 days were very scary, the magnesium sulfate was working against my body and I was having a lot of trouble breathing. Around 7am on January 13th we were told that Baby B’s heart rate was dropping and that it was time for an emergency C-section, I was 30 weeks 5 days.

At 7:55 we welcomed Owen into the world at 3lbs 13oz followed by Bryce, weighing 3lbs. Owen and Bryce spent a total of 6 weeks in the NICU. Bryce was intubated for a few days, they were both on C-Pap, then Bi-Pap, then high-flow oxygen that was slowly weaned down over the weeks. Both boys had jaundice so were under the bili lights for a few days, caffeine for apnea of prematurity, and had multiple blood transfusions for anemia.

At 3 weeks both boys developed NEC. Owen had developed stage 2 medical NEC so was flown to a bigger hospital an hour, 3 hours by car. Bryce remained at stage 1 so they kept him in our hometown. I now had a baby where we lived, one 3 hours away, and a husband in Afghanistan. We utilized Red Cross to get my husband home at this point. Owen was on antibiotics for 10 days before being flown back to our hometown where they boys were discharged 4 days later. Our family was finally together for the first time! Since being discharged the boys have been doing wonderful! They are both gaining weight, eating great, and meeting their milestones for their adjusted age. We currently have ECI therapy once a week. I love our superheroes so much and love sharing their story of bravery with everyone!

Super Hero Characteristics:
Bravery- Owen and Bryce have been through more than most grown adults have been through medically and continue to amaze the world around them!

Strength- Owen and Bryce are super strong! They have the strength to overcome anything that comes their way.

Power- Owen and Bryce have the power to make everyone around them smile!

Jonny McDash

JonathanAge: 2
Weight at Birth: 1 lb 5 oz (600 grams)
Weeks Gestation: 23
Time spent in the NICU: 150 days

My Preemie Power Story:

Jonny is fast. As soon as he could stand, he walked. And as soon as he could walk, he ran. This speed is his greatest strength, and his greatest weakness.

Half-way through his gestation, he thought he was ready to fight supervillains. His sisters pleaded for him to stay put. “No-no-no, baby, don’t come out!” His mother told him it wasn’t time. But there was no slowing down McDash. He burst his bubble and made his escape. A superhero was born.

Jonny’s first stop was the Neonatal Incredible Kid University, or “Niku,” a school for super-kids like him. He learned to do normal baby things like unfuse his eyes and hold his heat. He trained to enter the world as his mild-mannered alter-ego. But even in Niku he was not safe .

Episode1: McDash vs. The Potent Deceptive Alternate (PDA) & Necros Ever Crank (NEC)

Knowing that Jonny McDash would become a formidable enemy, the League of Supervillains (LoS) infiltrated Niku. They whispered to McDash to keep a heart duct open. An open duct would make him faster, they lied. He was still young, so their deception worked. His body slowed. A team of superheroes, “The Doctors” gave him an antidote to close the open duct. LoS heard of this. Upset that their deception had been thwarted, they sent Potent Deceptive Alternate (PDA) to open the duct again. “Surge,” the superhero in scrubs, defeated PDA with two staples and a scalpel. Brilliant! But without wasting any time, the LoS attacked again. This time they sent Necros Ever Crank (NEC) against Jonny’s intestines, the source of his energy and strength. Over a half a foot of intestines died. But once more, Surge came to the rescue, discovering the stealthy villain and sending her packing.

Episode 2: McDash vs. the Rush Reserve Operative (ROP)

Having failed to eliminate Jonny McDash, the enemies sought to neutralize him by taking away his eyesight. To catch the speedy hero, they sent in their fastest Reserve Operative (ROP) – Rush ROP. Armed with an impenetrable protein cloud, Rush ROP attacked McDash’s eyes, threatening to tear them apart from the inside. The operative got more than he bargained for, however, since Jonny and the Doctors were ready with their laser cloud piercer, turning back Rush ROP in record time.

Episode 3: McDash strikes out on his own
The Supervillains kept trying, but McDash had grown strong enough to defeat them easily. Desat, Apnea, and Brady often attacked together. Kidney killer threw him into renal failure more than once, and Anemia showed up again and again. But each time, Jonny McDash and his team of teachers (wearing badges like “RT,” “RN,” “NP,” “OT,” and “PT”) and The Doctors warded them off. When ready, McDash passed his graduation exam (known in-house as the “carseat test”), with flying colors. He was ready for the world!

Next Time on McDash: LoS unleash a top secret project, code-named “Failure to Thrive,” and Dr. Nephros delivers McDash from Acidosis Monster. McDash triumphs again!

Super Hero Characteristics

Primary Superpowers:

Speed, quickness, and super-fastness. Also good at being early and fighting supervillians

Gabby the Great

GabriellaAge: 2 years
Weight at Birth: 1lb 4 ozs
Weeks Gestation: 29 weeks
Time spent in the NICU: 118 days

My Preemie Power Story:

My beautiful daughter was given a 10% chance of survival. She overcame so much during her 118 day NICU stay. She was a fighter all the way. She had all the usual micro preemie problems, including NEC. She had an umbilical hernia, sacral dimple and severe edema. She was on a vent for 51 days, and came home on oxygen.

The NICU days were just unbearable, not knowing if she would live or die. I learned to lean on God more than I ever had before, lots of bedside prayers. The first time I held her, she was well over 2lbs and 1 month old. So small, but yet so mighty. I had never in my life seen a preemie until her. What amazing things the doctors can do these days to keep these tiny super heroes alive!

When my daughter came home she was 5lbs 14ozs. She had a heck of a time eating, and as a result she was a tiny 11lbs at one year old. Despite her small size at 18 months, she learned to crawl, and at her second birthday she walked. She does not eat any food as of yet. We are in Feeding, Speech, Occupation and Physical Therapies. She has AFOs for her feet because her gait is very off. She doesn’t talk yet, but I am hopeful she will soon learn. She has her fair share of troubles still. She has a serious Developmental Delay, she is G tube fed, she amazes me.

We see so many specialists who have no answers as to why she is not progressing very well. I am proud of her everyday, for never quitting. I can’t communicate with her yet, but I know she understands how much I love her. I was not always the best mother, before I got her. I feel like I have been redeemed in my role as a mother caring for her special needs day in and day out. The traumatic birth, and long NICU stay, then all the issues that follow a micro preemie through life, don’t seem so bad, when I see her smile. Other days, when its seems like all hope is fading, I still can just think of how hard she fought just to live, all of the things she had to face as a 1lb infant in this big scary loud cold world when she should have been in my womb.  Well, she is a super hero. A miracle is what I like to refer to her as, OUR FAMILY MIRACLE! I can’t imagine one day of my life without her, thank you, God, for Gabby the Great!

Super Hero Characteristics:

Strength, Fierceness, Persistence

Miss B

Brentlee Age: 2 years
Weight at Birth: 6lbs 14 ozs
Weeks Gestation: 39
Time spent in the NICU: 98 days

My Preemie Power Story:

At 3 weeks of age we were care-flown to Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. After getting to Children’s they ran several test and determined she had a condition called Necrotizing Enterocolitis. This is mainly a pre-term disorder, but for some reason, still unknown, it had invaded my newborn’s body. The first 3 days at CMC they ran antibiotics to try and fight the infection, but it wasn’t enough. During the 4th night, her bowel perforated and she was rushed in to emergency surgery. During surgery, they removed 2 ft. of bowel and left her with 3 ft. She was given an ileostomy and came through surgery. After surgery, she had a very slow healing. Her bowel was shorter now, so she didn’t have enough length to absorb the food like she needed, so she was given a feeding tube. They had to wait 3 weeks after her surgery to even introduce milk to her again. She was strictly on IV nutrition. Once she would start doing better, we would hit another speed bump. The first was a central line infection. [Read more…]

Super Averybug

AveryAge: 2 years
Weight at Birth: 1lbs 9 ozs
Weeks Gestation: 24
Time spent in the NICU: 4 months

My Preemie Power Story:

Avery (and twin sister Eliza ) were born at 24 week, 6 days. Each weighed a pound and half. Eli had a fairly easy go of it compared to a lot of preemies, but not Avery. Avery had a grade 3/4 IVH (brain bleed) and we were given the option to stop treatment (as children often with that diagnosis are not more than wheel chair bound, blind and deaf) and let her pass.  We decided to let her keep the fight, and she is a super AVERY!  She had NEC, she has had 9 brain surgeries, one g-tube surgery, pneumonia, and countless trips to the ER after she was out….but today, Avery not only survives, she thrives. She walks with a walker, her hearing is normal (after testing as severe and profound hearing loss for a year and half, now normal? I know!) she loves her musical box, being chased, and “ba ba black sheep.”  She likes to steal her twin sister’s binkie and snuggle up on her cousin Dax.  She is amazing.

Super Hero Characteristics:

Strong, Assertive, Amazing!

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…]

Storm Trooper

JaylenAge: 9 months
Weight at Birth: 1lb 8oz
Weeks Gestation: 23
Time spent in the NICU: 255 days

My Preemie Power Story:

It was a very sleepness night in the NICU. As I tossed and turned I felt a dark cloud surrounding my room. Where am I? On March 31, 2012, I was awakened by many doctors only to be informed it was time for him to join me in the world. My baby was beginning the fight of his life. Only being twenty three weeks pregnant, I knew then my baby was coming, but I wasn’t sure if he was ready to take on the world. Out of nowhere, I felt a strong and mighty kick! I knew at that moment I had a brave daredevil growing inside of me. What my little guy didn’t know was that all the prayer warriors in our family, at church, as well as friends were constantly lifting him up in prayer. The nobility of the doctors and nurses was also on his side. [Read more…]

Gabby the Great

GabriellaAge: 4 months
Weight at Birth: 11 ozs
Weeks Gestation: 22
Time spent in the NICU: still in the NICU

My Preemie Power Story: 

Hi my name is Gabriella some call me GG for Gabby the great. I was born on May 31, 2013 at 22 weeks weighing in at 11 ounces. My younger sister McKenly the Magnificent was born 30 minutes later at 12 ounces. My Mom had the nerve to have her cervix stitched up thinking she was going to hold us in there for nine months but my sister and I had said the devil is a lie get us out of here we have bad guys to fight!

But my sister decided the day after we were born that she would rather be my guardian angel in Heaven. Its nice to have someone upstairs helping you and telling you when to breathe when I forget sometimes.

My mom TuffTiff is one tuff cookie. She is there by me every single day. She has been there when I had to get my ostomy bag put on on her birthday which was also Father’s day because my bowel became perforated. Then I developed NEC. I had to be put into isolation. Yeah, those other babies are jealous of me because I have a nice room to myself and my own Nurse to watch over me. LOL

Then I developed ROP and had to have this needle stuck in my eye. Whew, that hurt but I am a fighter so I beat that too!!

Then I got 2 broken bones. My femur and my arm got broken when I was fighting off those bad guys. But hey, the docs try to say because I am a preemie, it happened. They just dont know how I have been running those bad guys off. lol.

I have finally made it up to 3 pounds and I can wear my super hero costume now. I was getting a little chilly there just wearing my diaper around. Then I hurt my feet so I have to have bandages on them for awhile. I will be glad when I get some shoes. This hero thing is alot of work!

I have 2 big sisters ages 20 and 11, and 1 big brother age 14. I even have a nephew that just turned 1 year old! My Mom and Dad said its been a roller coaster ride watching me beat up these bad guys in the NICU and they will be happy when I come home with them so I can teach them my tricks. They just don’t know that they will be up all night with me telling them all about my adventures. They might think that I am crying but really I will be talking to them. Well I hope you enjoyed my story as much as I have enjoyed telling it to you. Love, Gabby the Great!

Super Hero Characteristics:

A fighter, winner, never gives up!