2013-05-01 13:53:50 by Anne Merchant, Senior Marketing & PR Specialist, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.
A lot has changed since this picture was taken! Change Bandit Holly Kulick's daughter is now a toddler, and to show her gratitude for the care Rylee received in the NICU, she's raising money for the "Have a Heart, Do Your Part" radiothon.
Our daughter, Rylee, was born 12 weeks early and weighed only 1 lb. 13 oz and was 13 inches long. It was the scariest day of our lives. We knew the high survival statistics of a 28 week old preemie, but it was terrifying.
Holding my daughter for the first time when she was over a day old was breathtaking. She was the tiniest little person that I had ever seen, but we were instantly in love. Rylee was in the special care nursery for a few days, but my husband and I opted to have her transferred to the NICU at Akron Children's. It was the best decision we ever made. When we saw Rylee a few hours later, we could see her tiny little face and eyes, and she looked so much more comfortable.
The NICU staff was so welcoming and comforting to us in a very difficult time. They recognized my husband and me as the parents and let us take a part in Rylee's care, changing diapers, taking her temperature, etc., despite how fragile she looked. We could call any time, day or night, and someone would always be there to talk to us and tell us about our daughter. Leaving our daughter every night became easier and easier throughout the weeks because we knew she was in the best care possible.
After nine weeks in the NICU the nurses, especially Rylee's primary nurses and doctors, were like family to us. They were always a shoulder to lean on during the difficult days, as well as to smile and laugh with during the fun milestones and easier days. We took our daughter home weighing 4 lbs. 4 oz., but we wanted to take the nurses and doctors with us!
There were tears in our eyes and the nurses’ eyes because we had become so close. Spending 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for nine weeks with someone creates a long lasting relationship. No words can truly describe our experience with Akron Children's NICU, but we do know that we would not have such a beautiful, healthy daughter without the NICU staff. We cannot thank them enough!
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