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Challenge: NICU Parenting

Just Keep Swimming

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My experience with the NICU was a long time ago. It will be 19 years ago on December 2. My son, Jeremy, came into the world in Newton, Massachusetts, past term, and was a beautiful, perfect-looking newborn. He was my second child, as as a "seasoned pro", I was left alone at 3 am with him after a very quick and uncomplicated delivery. I started to nurse him, and he started turning blue. I immediately alerted the staff, and he was whisked away for tests. I quickly learned that he had a tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal atresia- his trachea and esophagus were connected, and his esophagus was not connected to his stomach. Any liquid he ingested went right into his lungs. My husband and I had no warning there was any problems. He was the perfect size and I had a very normal pregnancy. He was taken to the Boston Children's Hospital and attended to by the best doctors. We were asked if we wanted Jeremy baptized; we were were told there was a chance he wouldn't make it off the operating table. As I had just given birth, I wasn't allowed to leave the hospital to accompany him, but my husband went with him. We gave our permission for his baptism, and he was baptized out of our presence. We were so fortunate that when the surgeon opened him up for the TEF repair, he found enough length to his esophagus to connect it to his stomach. He made it through the surgery with flying colors. He spent ten days in the NICU, with the most wonderful, caring staff. We spent as much time there with him as we could, and every day he improved and had one less wire or tube attached. On his tenth day, we brought him home to meet his big brother.

Today, Jeremy is a wonderful, caring, generous young man, who is a college athlete, swimming and studying chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story!

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