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Challenge: NICU Parenting

Sophie's journey- "Because Kids Need Us" Hospital Spokesperson 2001

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Sophie was born Feb. 13, 2001- at 24 weeks and 5 days old, 1pound 7 ounces. She spent 110 days in the NICU at Legacy Emanual Children's Hospital in Portland Oregon. Today she is a stubborn, bright and beautiful 16 year old. We spent our journey in the NICU with baby Seneca (another 24 weeker) and her mom Laura . I would love to see these two again someday and have Sophie meet Seneca. Between the two babies we experienced brain bleeds, heart valve concerns, retinopathy of prematurity laser eye surgery at 2 pounds, etc. This was before Hippa laws closed the curtains and required much stricter privacy. Long hours in rocking chairs, kangaroo care, tiny baby bath time, challenging feeding sessions and the sights and sounds of the NICU activity all around me changed me. Surprise stuffed animals, baby blankets and poems would appear on her incubator and would move me to tears; these were gifts from strangers who encourage us and comforted us as we waited and watched Sophie grow. I have a treasure trove of wires, heart monitors, iv's , tiniest of diapers and doll clothes in a box. The nurses and NICU staff were incredible, with such skill and patience, they monitored her every need (and mine too.) I have often dreamt of meeting these nurses again to thank them and introduce Sophie to them. Sophie became the 2001 spokesperson for Legacy Emanual and was featured on buses and billboards in a campaign "Because Kids Need Us." But really, I am blessed to have Sophie in my life TODAY, because I NEED HER.

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