2015 Preemie Power Winners Announced!

November 2, 2015

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the Sixth Annual Preemie Power Photo & Essay Contest! We received over 80 entries ranging in ages from mere weeks old up to 10 years. Each of the entries was accompanied by an inspiring story of strength and hope, proving that our littlest babies really are our biggest superheroes. We’d like to extend special thanks to our prize sponsors Bambinos Baby & Children’s Boutique and Huggies, and our corporate sponsors Mead Johnson NutritionNeotech, and Prolacta Bioscience. And now we present the winners!

Age 0-1

Remarkable Reese

Photo Credit: Costakis Family

Remarkable Reese

  • Age: 10 months
  • Weight at Birth: 1 pound, 6 ounces
  • Weeks Gestation: 23
  • Time spent in the NICU: 97 days
  • Super Hero Characteristics: Resilient, Strong, Brave, Energetic, Tenacious

“I went in for my 24 week appointment at 23 weeks, 3 days. My physician found my cervix to be opened and immediately sent me to the closest hospital with a NICU. I was given magnesium for 3 days, but Reese was ready to enter the world the day after Thanksgiving last year at just 23 weeks, 6 days gestation. She weighed 630 grams. She spent 97 days in the NICU but still came home 15 days before my due date. We had our share of problems while in the NICU, PDA ligation, 7 transfusions, mild ROP. She came home on oxygen for just a few weeks and has not looked back! She is growing well and is meeting or ahead of all of her milestones for her adjusted age of 6 months. She is such a fighter and we couldn’t be more proud to be her parents.”

Thundering Thurston Overall Winner & 1+-2 Year Age Category Winners:

The Mighty Quad Squad

Photo credit: Sallaska Family

The Mighty Quad Squad

  • Age: 1 year
  • Weight at Birth: 1lb 9oz, 1lb 7oz, 1lb 5oz, & 1lb 6oz
  • Weeks Gestation: 25 weeks 2 days
  • Time spent in the NICU: 82, 101, 105, & 108 days
  • Super Hero Characteristics Mighty, Courageous, Fearless

“These are my amazing quads born at just 25 weeks 2 days gestation: Alyssa, Carter, Miles, & Bentley. They were born weighing 1lb 9oz, 1lb 7oz, 1lb 5oz, and 1lb 6oz. Miles has overcome 3 surgeries in his first year of life including: Bilateral laser eye surgery for Stage 2, Zone 2 Retinopathy of Prematurity with plus disease, bilateral inguinal hernia repairs, and a hypospadias repair. Bentley has also had a hypospadias repair. All have varying stages of chronic lung disease, but have been free of all oxygen support after 2 months of being home and have remained hospital free since their NICU discharge and are happy, healthy babies. I am so proud of how far each has come. There was a time that we didn’t know whether they would all survive. I am so thankful that they not only survived, but continue to thrive daily. They continue to amaze all around them with their progress. They each are meeting all their adjusted milestones and have even caught up in some areas to their actual age!! My babies inspire me every day. They are true fighters and true miracles. I am so blessed to be their mommy!!”

Age 2+-5

Bentley the Brave

Bentley the Brave

Photo credit: Paulson Family

  • Age: 3
  • Weight at Birth: 1 lb. 14 oz.
  • Weeks Gestation: 25
  • Time spent in the NICU: 91 days
  • Super Hero Characteristics Courage, Strength, and Determination

“Nothing could have prepared me for the birth of my twins at 25 weeks. My daughter Aubrey was born at 1 lb. 4 oz. 11 inches. A minute later my son Bentley was born weighing 1 lb. 14 oz. 13 inches. Four hours after my emergency c section the neonatologist informed me that they had stabilized my son, but there wasn’t much more they could do for my daughter. Nurses strolled me into the NICU where I would say goodbye to my angel and meet my super hero for the very first time. Little did I know that moment would redefine my meaning to life and miracles. The NICU team warned me that his extreme prematurity would be a long journey filled with one step forward and two steps back. If he survives, he faces the risk of severe health problems and lifelong disabilities. Bentley proved to be a fighter from day one, and continuously defied odds. Milestones became joyous celebrations, no matter how big or small they were. After 91 days of watching my baby grow with the help of an incubator, ventilator, picc line, blood transfusions, PDA, cpap, vapo-therm, nasal cannula, jaundice, feeding tube, brain ultrasounds, eye exams, and countless blood draws, Bentley was able to come home. Within his first 2 years’ home, he endured 3 surgeries and numerous hospital stays. While he has faced several challenges due to his prematurity, he has proven that no fight is too big with his strength. Having the qualities of a super hero does not mean that he will never face failure or disappointment, it means that he will get up every time the odds are against him and try with all of his might. Bentley may look and act like the average three-year-old, but the resilience, courage, and fighting spirit within him make him my very own superhero. I am forever thankful to have a continuous reminder that miracles really do happen.”

Age 5+ Winner

Miracle Girl!

    Miracle Girl

    Photo credit: Caraway Family

  • Age: 6
  • Weight at Birth: 2 pounds 14 ounces
  • Weeks Gestation: 29 weeks
  • Time spent in the NICU: 38 days
  • Super Hero Characteristics: Abby is our strong, mighty over comer. She’s the underdog you root for that will not back down!

“Abigail means the joy of the father. She’s the gift my husband wanted while the rest of the family wanted a boy, we got the girl he wanted. I was never put as high risk or given a notice of anything wrong with my pregnancy. One day I began heavily bleeding and didn’t stop. Only after one week of bed rest, it was determined that after an infection had spiked there was no choice but to do an emergency c-section. We were told she would be intubated, possibly damaged from the infection but the extent would be unknown until she came out. Well, she came at a whopping 2 pounds 14 oz and was breathing on her own! When the NICU team said she would be in the NICU until her actual due date (10 weeks), Abby would instead leap over every hurdle and only be there for 5.5 weeks. Even at home she continued to leap over hurdles, amazed her pediatrician with how much she grew and was so joyful through it all. Looking at her now, no one would believe she was a preemie. She’s our mighty overcomer who wouldn’t back down, kept fighting to live and she did it with a smile on her face!”

Executive Director’s Award

Admirable Abigail

Photo credit: Poorman Family

Admirable Abigail

  • Age: 1
  • Weight at Birth: 1lb, 11oz
  • Weeks Gestation: 25
  • Time spent in the NICU: 157 days
  • Super Hero Characteristics: Strong, Fighting Spirit, Energetic, One of a kind, and Loving

If she doesn’t get you with her story, she will get you with her dimpled smile! Abigail has been flaunting her preemie powers from 21 weeks gestation when mommy suffered from preeclampsia and liver failure. Taken out of the womb at 25 weeks, Admirable Abigail weighed in at one pound eleven ounces. She has had a strong yet rough fight. It took a variety of machines to keep her tiny little body alive as her body grew and developed enough to thrive on her own. 23 days after birth, mom was finally able to hold her baby for the first time; at this point, we bonded, and I knew she was going to change me in many ways; I gained my preemie parent super powers. After five failed extubations she joined the “trach life” where she depends on a tracheostomy to breathe. After a 157 day slumber party in the NICU, she joined mom and dad at home, and has been thriving ever since! Over the past year, we together, have grown and conquered more than we could have ever hoped! Within these few months since you’ve been home, you’ve gotten rid of equipment they prepared us to have for years to come: feeding tube, oxygen, and your ventilator. I reminisce in memories some would be afraid of, some of things no one will ever understand. The milestones we celebrated were different than the average parent celebrates, but these milestones were more significant; they supported the fact of how far you have come, and how strong of a little girl you are.   Thank you to all who entered this year’s contest! Your photos and stories have warmed and delighted our hearts!