2014 Utah County Ambassador Family
At 24 weeks pregnant, I rushed to the Emergency Room at St. Charles Medical Center and learned that my placenta was tearing away from my uterine wall. The hospital staff was able to stop my labor. I was advised that I would most likely deliver my baby sooner than later. If my baby were to survive, he would be at an increased risk of cerebral palsy, learning difficulties, behavior problems, respiratory conditions, and problems with his hearing or vision.
At 27 weeks it was discovered that I had developed a very serious infection in my uterus and it was no longer safe to carry my baby. Despite the education that I had received, hearing that it was time to deliver my baby was terrifying. My number one fear was that he would not be strong enough, and that he would not survive. Thinking about a loss of that magnitude was unbearable. On March 31, 2009 Noah was delivered via cesarean section weighing in at 2 lb. 4 oz.
The first memory I have after his delivery was waking up in the recovery room and asking my mom if my baby had cried. He was breathing great on his own, Noah was alive and fighting.
The next few weeks in the Oregon NICU were a roller coaster. We were blessed with triumphs, as well as setbacks. While his brain scan looked great and his organs were fully functional he suffered a severe bacterial infection. His gut stopped digesting my breast milk, and so he had to begin receiving all nutrients intravenously. The biggest reward came when Noah was around 4 weeks old and I was able to cradle on my chest for the first time. It was a truly magical moment for me. I feel it was for Noah too, as his oxygen levels seemed to stabilize as he cuddled on my chest.
Once in Utah, the setbacks were replaced with successes. Noah learned to maintain his body temperature, he graduated to an open isolate and he learned to bottle feed, eventually graduating to breastfeeding. He began gaining weight steadily, but still struggled with maintaining his oxygen levels. On July 3, 2009 Noah was released from the NICU and sent home with our family. He was 14 weeks old.
Noah is currently enrolled in his second year of preschool and is on track to start Kindergarten in the fall. His teachers and doctors can’t believe he was a premature baby. He is a very caring and loving boy. He is bright and gets along well with other children. He is truly an example of how prenatal care and March of Dimes premature research and medical science can unite and save lives. He is a great candidate to represent the March of Dime’s mission, and I am so proud of him. My hope with sharing our story and partnering with the March of Dimes is to raise awareness of prematurity and to reduce the rate of premature births. I also wish to give hope to other families who may be affected by prematurity, that they can know that they are not alone in their journey. Thank you.