Every expectant mother dreams of the day that she will deliver her new little baby! It will be perfect, everyone will be there and everyone will be happy! Boy were those dreams shattered when my first-born decided to enter the world at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early! The doctors told us “IF he makes it through the night, he will have cerebral palsy.” As soon as he was born, they took him quickly away to NICU and we barely got to see his tiny little face. We were all sad, scared, shocked and so unprepared. After I left recovery, they wheeled me by his bed so that I could see his tiny little 3 pound body hooked up to so many tubes, machines and iv’s! I was scared to even talk to him – what if he did not make it through the night – this tiny little boy that I already loved so much!
That day began our long, 54 day journey in NICU. He made progress every day…….sometimes he would take 1 step forward then 2 steps back but eventually we were able to hold him, feed him, change his diaper…..do all of the things that “normal” parents got to do at home. The doctors and nurses became like family to us as we spent all day and night with them………..almost 15 years later, we still speak to 3 of his nurses. Our story ended successfully, he came home, spent several years getting caught up in therapy and today is a healthy strong, wonderful, straight A, guitar and drum-playing teenager! For those other parents of premature babies out there – you have sadly joined a new club – but you will survive! You will never forget the heartache – but you will survive and be stronger for it!
Dena Day, Program Director, Infant Program, Easter Seals Greater Houston