Amazing Nate

NateAge: 1
Weight at Birth: 2 pounds 12 ounces
Weeks Gestation: 32 weeks 5 days
Time spent in the NICU: 28 days

My Preemie Power Story:

At 28 weeks gestation my water broke. I was admitted to the hospital where I stayed 33 days on bed rest until I went into labor. Despite all we were told little Nathan never needed help breathing and was a feeder and grower while he stayed in the NICU. He gained weight steadly and showed everyone what he was made of. When the doctors thought he was too small for something or were about to change something in his routine its like he knew and would prove them wrong by taking all of his bottles, maintaining his body temp outside the isolette or even nursing with no issues. Just shy of 4 pounds he was removed from the isolette proving to his doctors that he was ready to go home by maintaining his temperature with no assistance and taking all his bottles in record time. 28 days after he was born and at 4 pounds and 1 ounce, Nathan left the hospital and hasn’t looked back.

Super Hero Characteristics:
Strong because he’s proved everyone wrong about what he can do. Curious because he’s always looking around and getting into stuff. Charming because his little smile melts everyone’s heart.

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

Miracle Man

JacobAge: 5 months
Weight at Birth: 3 lbs 1 oz
Weeks Gestation: 29
Time spent in the NICU: 58 days

My Preemie Power Story:

Jacob is our little Miracle Man! He was the answer to so many prayers in so many ways, and being his parents has been one of our greatest blessings. Jacob’s story of how he came to our family is a miracle, and how he made his grand entrance into the world is even more so. After years of infertility and pregnancy losses, we knew we wanted our older son to be a big brother, and we knew once again adoption was the right answer for us.

We matched with his beautiful Birthmom in mid-April. She was due in July, and we were all enjoying getting to know each other, and planning for Jacob’s arrival. We planned for his delivery, and made arrangements for our 7 hour trip to meet them. Well Jacob had other plans! We received a phone call at 5:30 in the morning on April 28 that his birthmom was in labor. We started to scramble to pack for an immediate trip. By 8:43am Jake had made his way into this world, and we were on the highway heading to meet our miracle. We were later told a placental abruption was the cause of his early delivery. Thinking about that day still floods me with emotion.

Meeting his birthmom in person and sharing our dreams and worries for Jacob, was a conversation I will never forget. Having them open the hearts and selves to us was an amazing experience. By that evening we were finally able to meet our little miracle. He looked tiny and fragile, but indescribably beautiful. I was and still am in awe of how hard he fought just to be here.

Jake was strong and described by the nurses as feisty from day one. He struggled with breathing issues, and spent a good deal of time on a CPAP and nasal cannula. He also had a PDA that resolved with medication. Jacob was slow to give up breathing assistance, and that’s ok, because even miracles take time. We spent 58 days with Jacob in his home state NICU. I will admit it was difficult.

Being far away from home, and trying to plan trips for my older son and husband back and forth to home. BUT he was worth every second! The hardest part was just watching him struggle. However, I found so much joy in each milestone he reached. It was a blessing watching our little miracle in the making! Each day he seemed to get stronger and reach a new milestone. Even the tiniest of milestones, just like the tiniest of neonates are a blessing. At 5 months old Jacob is thriving! He is over 15 lbs., and meeting milestones ahead of his adjusted age. He is the happiest little baby and just a complete joy to have. Watching his bond with his brother is incredible. Miracles happen every day, and I am beyond blessed to get to hold mine in my arms!

Super Hero Characteristics:
strong, resilient, inspiring

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

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.

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

The Blue-Eyed Snuggler

ColtAge: 20 months
Weight at Birth: 2lbs 1 oz
Weeks Gestation: 28
Time spent in the NICU: 97 days

My Preemie Power Story:

You never expect to be told that if you continue to carry your unborn child, one or both of you won’t survive. After all isn’t a mother’s body made to keep her growing baby safe? That’s what we were told on January 30, 2012 when I found out I had severe preeclampsia. I had to deliver immediately, at 28 weeks 0 days, to give Colt the best chance for survival. Colt Matthew came into this world a tiny 2 pounds 1 ounce (the NICU weighed him in at 1 pound 10 ounces) and 13 inches long. I didn’t get to see him before they took him away, but I heard him cry. I knew that meant that he was breathing! 

The following day I finally got to see my little angel, and all I could do was cry and tell him how sorry I was that this was happening to him. I felt like I failed him. I was supposed to keep him safe, and now his safety was no longer up to me but the doctors and nurses. The beginning weeks were a testimony to Colt’s will to survive. He fought through blood infections, blood transfusions, a spinal tap, a central line, and more x-rays and blood draws than you could imagine. 

On Easter Sunday, after months of praying and waiting, the doctor told us that if all goes well Colt will be home by the end of the week. That was before we got the phone call saying that Colt had stopped eating, was struggling to breathe, and they had no idea why. He was put back on oxygen and was moved to the respiratory therapy floor. The light at the end of the tunnel was gone. After many failed attempts to help Colt breathe, they decided to scope his throat. A twenty minute procedure turned into an hour of patiently waiting. The doctor finally came in and handed us a picture of Colt’s throat. He had a rapidly growing birthmark, called a hemangioma, growing in his throat right above his lungs. It was already blocking over 90% of his airway and would have continued to grow had they not found it. Had Colt been born full term and not twelve weeks early the hemangioma would have blocked his entire airway, and he would have never been able to take his first breath. 

A week later, after 97 days in the NICU, we brought our 8 pound 2 ounce son home…on my 30th birthday! I see the life and love in his eyes today and thank God every day for miracles. Colt is the reason I believe. 

Super Hero Characteristics:

Determined, Inspirational, Compassionate