In honor of #worldprematurityday, I thought I would share this photo. This is the first time I was privileged to hold my baby girl. She is 8 days old here. Although Caroline was a term baby, she had an arduous course in the NICU.
You see, premature birth, or giving birth to a sick child can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, you can do everything right and still have this outcome. Premature birth is blind to race, religion, or economic status. It's a painful thing to watch your child fight for their life -- one I may never get over. It's not fair when what should be one of the happiest moments in your life quickly turns to one of the most frightening. Trust me, you don't think it will happen to you.
Luckily, Caroline had a positive outcome. Everyone at the children's hospital treated her as if she were their own child.
As I reflect on this day, I owe a few thank you's:
Thank you God for giving Caroline the strength to overcome all challenges.
When we were told her organs may not work because she was without oxygen, she proved her medical team wrong.
When we were told that she may have seizures coming out of cooling therapy, she didn't.
When we were told that it may take weeks to wean her off of morphine, she was off in several days with no withdrawal.
She made it through ECMO with no brain bleeds or blood clots.
We were told she could possibly have developmental delays, but at 7 months she is crawling and pulling herself up on furniture.
Thank you to the person who gave blood so Caroline could receive a transfusion just minutes after birth.
Thank you Cameron Klostermann for being my rock thru all of this.
Thank you to our families for support.
Thank you to the NICU staff at the Children's Hospital of Illinois, especially Dr. Ashley Fischer who had just arrived back from maternity leave, and truly treated Caroline as her own child.
Thank you to the painter at the hospital for bringing me pb&j sandwiches from his home.
Thank you to the receptionist who always brightened my day.
Thank you to the woman in the elevator who whipped $50 out of her Louis Vuitton wallet to buy us dinner after I told her that Cameron and I were going out to dinner to celebrate that our child came off ECMO and was going to survive.
These NICU babies overcome so much, just to leave the hospital. As a parent, it's heartbreaking to leave the hospital without your child.
Luckily we have people and organizations like the March of Dimes dedicated to working to save every baby -- no matter how small.
And children's hospitals are wonderful places to be when your child is sick. Everyone who works there is constantly trying to heal your child, and make your day brighter.
To the expecting mamas out there, be selective about where you have your baby because life is fragile. Also, if something doesn't feel right get it checked out immediately. Only mere minutes can matter when you are in preterm labor.