Energy Absorber

NathanAge: 2
Weight at Birth: 2lbs 15ounces
Weeks Gestation: 31
Time spent in the NICU: 2 months

Preemie Power Story:

Nathan was born at 31 weeks and has always been a fighter. I see the glow in his eyes each and everyday never giving up. He is my inspiration and has showed me the true meaning of life. I can’t describe the first time I got to hold him after 2 weeks of being in protective isolation. He was so fragile,yet so magnificent. When we look at a preemie, they are no different than an ordinary baby. They still need love and affection. As Nathan grew older he failed to meet his milestones and they told me this was normal for a preemie. But like any mother could sense, I knew something was different. At age two, we still had no words. Nathan is now diagnosed with level 3 autism. Does this make him any different than any other child? No, he is my life and we will fight to become stronger like we have since day one. Nathan is one of the sweetest boys and loves to laugh. He can make a frown turn upside down on anyone’s face. He has a beauty that makes me a proud mommy. He is a big ball of energy and has an appetite I’ve never seen. He is my life, my everything.

Super Hero Characteristics:

Strong courageous fighter

Super Feisty Autumn

AutumnAge: 1
Weight at Birth: 2.9
Weeks Gestation: 30
Time spent in the NICU: 56 days

My Preemie Power Story:

Though she might be small, she be feisty. Autumn Rayne is a 30 weeker. She spent 56 long days in the NICU. In those first few weeks she had to fight with all her might to overcome gastrointestinal issues, breathing difficulty, jaundice, and a lot of A’s and B’s. Autumn definitely does things on her own time her own way. In the past year she has had PT and OT, wore a cranial helmet, and diagnosed with Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis that’s more rare and severe. None of this defines Autumn though, because through all of the ups and downs she is the happiest little girl We know. She can draw anyone in with her piercing blue eyes and her smile. She loves to be silly and make everyone laugh. She is a very determined little girl that also rules the roost or so she thinks. She has hit every milestone and then some. Autumn will defeat anything put in her path while smiling.

Super Hero Characteristics:
Piercing blue eyes, Infectious smile, and Feisty attitude

Captain Chubbers

CarterAge: 10 months
Weight at Birth: 5 pounds 6 oz
Weeks Gestation: 33 weeks
Time spent in the NICU: 2 weeks

My Preemie Power Story:

Having my first child at full term without complications made me severely unprepared for my son’s early arrival. At 10am as my husband was leaving for the day, I felt my water break as I lay in bed. Luckily he rushed me to the hospital. I wasn’t given anything to stop labor but I did get steroid shots for baby’s lungs. I was told to get comfortable because I’d be in the hospital a long time until he was born. The neonatal team came in and explained what to expect. It terrified me. They did an ultrasound and estimated he would be under 3 pounds at the most. We were so scared and I tried to keep him in longer but at 8:50p that night I knew he was coming. Sure enough, 9 minutes later at 8:59pm, Carter was born at 5 pounds 6 oz. I practically lived at the hospital while he was there and we faced so many obstacles from jaundice over and over to not regulating his body temperature. It was truly a miracle that our little man thrived and after only 2 weeks in the NICU (14 days exactly), we were sent home on Thanksgiving day 2013. What a surprise it was for everyone to finally meet him. He was definitely what we were thankful for that year and every years since. Now he’s almost 11 months and weighs a whopping 29 pounds at 33 inches long. He’s 100% on track developmentally and is doing everything a normal 11 month old is doing including trying to walk. He’s certainly our hero and as his older sister calls him, her Captain Chubbers.

Super Hero Characteristics:

Strong, fearless & feisty.

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.

Warrior Princess

GiaAge: 2
Weight at Birth: 1 pound 2 ounces
Weeks Gestation: 24
Time spent in the NICU: 111

My Preemie Power Story:

Our story begins on April 17, 2012. I was admitted to the hospital on complete bed rest due to Premature Rupture Of Membranes (PROM) at 23 weeks gestation. I was given 3 dosages of steroids just in case she decided to come early. Well, 8 days later, she did! I was rushed into the OR for an Emergency C-Section due to a Prolapsed Umbilical Cord. There are no words to describe how I felt when I was told my baby had a 35 percent chance of survival. Every time a doctor walked into my room, my heart would drop to the floor. The moment I saw my daughter, I just cried. She looked so helpless. I was overwhelmed by breathing machines, tubes, wires, IVS, the fact that I could see right through her skin and consent forms for blood transfusions. I quickly became very familiar with the words “Bradycardia” and “Apnea”, which is a nightmare to witness. The first time she was taken off the ventilator and put on oxygen didn’t go so well. She was getting too tired and was put back on the vent for a few days. The second time was perfect! On July 19, 2012, she was taken off oxygen and did excellent! She was fed every 3 hours through an NG tube until she slowly learned how to bottle feed. Reflux was a major issue. She was prescribed to Prevacid and Zantac. On August, 14, 2012, she was discharged from NICU. Unfortunately, she was admitted into PICU the next day because she refused to drink all together. We found out she had a UTI and was put on antibiotics through IVS for 7 days. The bottle feeding and reflux was getting worse, so the GI doctor decided to mix her formula with Gelmix. It helped! Two weeks later, we were talking about discharge, but of course that was delayed due to blood in her stool. X-rays, ultrasounds and cultures determined it wasn’t NEC or Intussusception. The doctor then decided to do a colonoscopy and endoscopy, but first she had to have a Frozen Plasma Transfusion because her blood wasn’t clotting and Vitamin K wasn’t working. The end results turned out to be an allergic reaction to the Gelmix. The GI doctor then suggested a Nissan Fundoplication and G-Tube to be the next best option. On October 6, 2012, she went in for a 4 hour surgery in which she also had 2 hemangiomas removed. Those were the longest 4 hours of my life. She remained in PICU and Peds until November 5, 2012. Although we have still hit some bumps in the road and she still has her G-Tube, I’m thrilled to say that Gia is a happy, healthy and very intelligent 2-1/2 year old. I love her with all my heart and soul and I thank God everyday for showing me that miracles can happen!

Super Hero Characteristics:

Gia is strong, intelligent and courageous

Bat Girl

MacieAge: 6 months
Weight at Birth: 2 pounds 3 ounces
Weeks Gestation: 28 weeks
Time spent in the NICU: 60 days

My Preemie Power Story:
Macie was born march 10 2014 her due date was May 27 2014. She showed us her strength and power everyday and continues to show us as sh progresses through her developments. She is little but she is mighty. She is now six months and weights about 12 pounds. Her cousin is batman and he calls his little cousin Macie Bat girl!! That’s her super hero name!!

Super Hero Characteristics:

Strong, fierce, and fiesty

Little Peanut

JaxonAge: 3 Months
Weight at Birth: 2lb 8 oz
Weeks Gestation: 31w6d
Time spent in the NICU: 53 Days

My Preemie Power Story:

I gave birth to my son, Jaxon Connor on Monday, June 16, 2014 5:35pm at 31w6d gestation, he weighed only 2lbs 8oz and was 35cm long. There were complications with my placenta and the way it was functioning. My son’s stomach was small, smaller than it should be at his gestational age which ended with me having to have him early. I didn’t even get to see my son until the day after, and didn’t get to hold him until he was 6 days old. I always thought having a preemie just meant a tiny baby, I never expected something like this to change me so much. For me, crying in public is an embarrassment, but the first time I saw him in his isolette I cried, for a very long time, in front of nurses, doctors, and strangers. My heart was outside of my body and I couldn’t do anything for him at the time. I watched him fight and grow and get stronger every day! His struggles while in the NICU included breathing issues which landed him back on the Cannula off and on and I had troubles feeding him, I would get so frustrated and disappointed that I couldn’t get him to eat or burp. By the time it was ready for him to go home, I was very worried and scared that he wouldn’t eat and would have to go back to the hospital. 3 Months now and I don’t have any trouble feeding him or burping him, he is 9lbs and still growing like a weed. I am constantly going through his old pictures and his transformation is so inspiring. I am so proud of my son and amazed at his journey and I can not wait to watch him continue to change!

Super Hero Characteristics:

Resilient, Brave, and Determined.

Aubrey the Feisty

Age: 1.98Aubrey
Weight at Birth: 1lb, 9oz
Weeks Gestation: 24
Time spent in the NICU: 4 months

Preemie Power Story:

All attempts to keep Aubrey where she should have stayed for nine months were unsuccessful. After a very scary day and night of contractions and steroid shots and feeling like I was being lit on fire from doses of magnesium sulfate, Aubrey deemed it time to be born at only 24 weeks 3 days gestation and weighing 1 pound, 9 ounces. Not me, her daddy, grandparents, nor her many doctors and nurses could convince her it was a bad idea. The first sign she was a fighter was her birth time—3:57a.m. A .357 Magnum, that one (daddy is a police officer, so he made that connection). The second sign was the three tiny cries she gave upon being thrust into the world way too early. The third sign was when she was taken off the ventilator just two days after she was born; the nurses were amazed and immediately dubbed her “feisty.” The fact that she swatted at their hands and kick boxed in the isolette may have had something to do with the nickname as well.

Aubrey’s major problem was getting her brain to tell her lungs what to do and when to do it, and then getting her lungs to listen. I watched her turn blue and purple so many times that I lost count. I could “hear” her monitor alarming while at home in the shower. She took the tube feedings fine if the tube was in her intestine; the doctors tried it into her stomach and milk shot out of her nose repeatedly until the tube was moved down again. So, we would let her grow more and try again, and again it wouldn’t work. After being in one NICU for 3 months and the doctors there running out of ideas, we were moved to a second NICU at a nearby teaching hospital. I guess that made Aubrey realize she had to shape up, because a week after our move she was taking milk in her stomach and another week after that and she was off of extra oxygen all together.

Aubrey endured the many preemie eye exams like a trooper, but she ended up having laser surgery to correct retinopathy of prematurity in both eyes. She went through having scopes down her throat twice, and marched right along through the barrage of swallow tests, x-rays, brain scans, and everything else a preemie has to endure. After 122 days in two different NICUs, we brought her home with a feeding tube and an apnea monitor. She finally got the hang of the bottle about 5 weeks after coming home and hasn’t looked back. She’s almost two now, and she’s absolutely perfect (I’m not biased at all, honest!). When we go back and visit our NICU nurses and doctors that took such good care of us, they still talk about how feisty she was even at two pounds. I can’t wait to see what Aubrey the Feisty has in store for us in the coming years.

Super Hero Characteristics:

Super strength! At 1 pound, 9 ounces, Aubrey was throwing around a board strapped to her arm to keep her IV lines from kinking. She gave the nurses kick boxing lessons. Even though she was 16 weeks early, she was only on a ventilator for a total of four days. Superman’s got nothin’ on her.

X-ray vision! At less than two pounds, her piercing gaze could shoot right through you; it still can. I couldn’t leave the NICU while her eyes were open, following me, drawing me back with those tractor-beams.

Mind control! This tiny human had many people at her beck and call, 24 hours a day. She controlled my thoughts at all times. She told educated doctors and nurses what to do. One blip of her monitor and people were set into motion to do her bidding. She was a baby super genius totally in control.

The Wiggle Worm

EdgarAge: 10 months, 20 days
Weight at Birth: 1 lb 2 oz
Weeks Gestation: 23
Time spent in the NICU: 153 days

Preemie Power Story:

Our story is no different than any other. But they all have their own special meaning. Edgar The Wiggle Worm was born at 23 weeks, also known as micro-preemie, November 25, 2013, weighing in at only 1 pound and 2 oz. We will soon be celebrating his first birthday since he was born. He would always find a way out of his snuggle, knock out his feeding tube and respiratory tube. When the nurses would place him on his belly, he would be so comfortable he didn’t like his assessments. It was always a challenge trying to get through them with out his heart rate dropping or his respiratory going down. He looked like a little man, long eyelashes, dark eyebrows and a small hairy back. As he is growing, he shows us he still has that strength he had while in the NICU.

Having surgery at less than 1 month of being born and another at almost 4 months of being born, a feeding tube for about 4 months, and sometimes not being able to be fed due to having problems with his stomach, and having oxygen support for about 3-1/2months, Edgar is a miracle preemie.

Now at almost being a year old he is one tough Wiggle Worm. He rolls all over the floor, loves to jump around his bouncer.

We are thankful for everyone that helped our Wiggle Worm fight for his life. He is our little miracle preemie.

Super Hero Characteristics:

Loves to wiggle his way out of trouble, drinks his super milk, and uses his strong legs to play.

Love Bugs

Emma & MattieAge: 8 years
Weight at Birth: 952 & 950 grams
Weeks Gestation: 26 6/7
Time spent in the NICU: 82 days

My Preemie Power Story:

The director of neonatology at st. John’s came into my wife’s hospital room. She had been contracting all night. It didn’t look good. The babies had only been in there for 20 weeks. The doctor explained the many potential complications of a premature birth, which included, brain and nervous system disorders, hearing loss, vision loss, breathing issues, developmental delays, learning disabilities, and the list went on– that is, if the babies even survived, a 20% likelihood. She bravely asked one question- “At what point, what magical week would things look drastically different?” He looked at her and said, “At 27 weeks, viability changes to 90%.” Of course, there would still be serious cause for concern, but at least their chance of survival increased. He went on to say he did not suspect she could make it that far, but that each and every day counted. And so began our hospital stay. They would give her a maximum does of magnesium sulfate to keep her relaxed for as long as her body could take it. May 5th at 7am, exactly 2 weeks and 6 days later — one day shy of the magic number of 27 weeks and 13 weeks early the doctors said the twins were coming. The contractions had increased overnight. We needed to get them out quickly. I was sitting there just above Emily’s head as the doctor delivered Mattie Danielle, wrapped her up, and set her on Emily’s chest. She was so beautiful — this perfect little 2 pound baby girl. Emily and I were looking at the first love of our lives.

What Emily couldn’t see was the controlled pandemonium that ensued on the other side of the surgical curtain just after Mattie was set down. The doctor pulled out Emma Claire–also 2 pounds– quickly. She was blue. She was not moving. I couldn’t let Emily know. She had just fallen in love thirty seconds ago. The nurse came over to take care of Mattie and get her to NICU. Then I raced off to find Emma. The team had stabilized her. I’d never seen so many tubes coming out of a baby. She was so small and frail. But now she was with us too.

That first day, I put my hands into the sealed isolette that was protecting Mattie. I placed one hand over her head and one hand around her bottom. Our nurse explained that preemies who were cradled by their parents as early as possible seemed to do better. I remained there for quite some time. I remember thinking that if any heartbeat or any breath could be her last, how could I leave? We didn’t get to hold Emma for almost a month. During her NICU stay, Emma had a surgery to close a valve adjacent to her heart and, shortly after her NICU stay, a second surgery to save her vision.

Thankfully, after eighty-two days of ups and downs, we brought our two beautiful daughters home.

Super Hero Characteristics:

powerful, brave, transcendent, indefatigable, brilliant, kind, smart, humble, funny