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Challenge: NICU Parenting

The Little Engine That Could

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In 2011, my husband and I began the journey into expanding our family. After unsuccessfully conceiving on our own, we decided to go through the fertility process. Within a few months, we found out we were pregnant and having a baby girl. Our little girl was due on December 24, 2012.

During my second trimester, I started having complications and went on bed-rest. At 24+ weeks, I experienced more complications and was rushed back to the hospital. After 3 days on watch, my doctor felt it was best for my daughter’s health that I deliver immediately. Devin was born via C-Section on September 11, 2012 weighing only one pound seven ounces.

The Neonatologist, nurses and respiratory therapist at West Boca Medical Center were there during the delivery so they could take her immediately into the NICU. So many thoughts were swirling through my head. Would she survive? How long would she be in the hospital for? What am I supposed to do? Especially as first-time parents, my husband and I weren’t prepared for anything like this to happen, and we were terrified.

Leaving the hospital to recuperate at home was difficult, knowing that our little girl was not coming with us. We soon learned quickly what the process was to have your baby in the NICU. You certainly got to know everyone on a personal level, from the NICU staff to other couples going through the same grueling process.

Devin spent 124 days in the NICU and not a day went by without my husband and I visiting. Sometimes we stayed for a complete shift and others we visited multiple times a day. There were moments that felt like it would never end but then there would be the days that made us feel hopeful, that there was a light at the end. The support from the NICU staff at West Boca Medical Center was amazing. They were my mentors guiding me through, teaching me what to do every step of the way. We were treated like family.

On January 13, 2013, our little miracle came home. It was bittersweet because I knew that our NICU days were over and now we were on our own. There was no more relying on the nurses and doctors. My husband and I were now responsible to make all the decisions in the best interest of our daughter. Looking back, it was the most difficult time in our lives, but we had each other and we got through it one day at a time.

I wrote that segment above after Devin’s first year home. The hospital had asked me write our story for others going through similar experiences. Fast forward to today, our daughter is 5! I can’t believe how fast time flies! She is the greatest gift I could have ever received. I am thankful every day for her and appreciate all of her accomplishments big and small. She is our little engine that could.

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