With the Christmas season coming around, it was a time of great joy and excitement. I’m a sailor with a baby girl on the way that just moved from a Naval Base in San Diego to a new area on orders and was expected to go to my new command’s Christmas party, celebrate my birthday being the next day, getting a promoted to Second Class Petty Officer, and my daughter’s ultrasound after that.
The excitement of being pregnant with my first child was all short lived when Peyton was born early at 24 weeks and 6 days, weighing in at 1lb 15oz. Now being in The Navy taught me how to be strong, a leader, and also how to put my emotions in the back of my mind; it was time to take care of the mission. But to see my daughter in the incubator on a ventilator fighting for her life for the first weeks, having to stay in the NICU for 105 days, and making a decision for her to have a PDA ligation on my own was hard. I was not only a first time mom, but I was also a military mom that had a job to do. I was alone for the holidays; her father was deployed and my family was not able to be there due to some circumstances. I got to meet all the others parents that shared similar experiences there, met the most amazing doctors and nurses that took care of Peyton, and had lots of prayers and phone calls between my mom and Peyton’s father; these things made me feel less alone. When she was released on St. Patrick’s Day, it was the luckiest day of my life. I stayed strong for her and she felt that energy. Today she is a very happy, active, and playful 6 month old who knows that her mom not only defends the country, but also was there for her.
What were the circumstances surrounding your child’s birth?
I had a placental abruption.
How old is your child now and how are they doing?
She is 6 months old and is very advanced and playful for her age being a micro preemie.
How did your whole family cope with this experience?
They were very supportive and helped me emotionally through the journey in the NICU, along with my chain of command in the Navy.
How are you all doing now?
We all laugh and celebrate each milestone, let the small things go, and give Peyton all the love and support that she needs.
What did you learn about this experience that you’d like to pass on to others?
To be strong and to never give up no matter the circumstance. These babies are true fighters and will survive through the love and support you give to them.