My husband and I had difficulty getting pregnant, and after two early losses we were excited to learn I was pregnant again, this time with a healthy child.
The whole pregnancy was beautiful, until suddenly on Dec. 29, 2010, I went into premature labor. Despite best efforts to stop it, my son, Gage, was born at 31 and 1/2 weeks.
Gage was delivered at St. Elizabeth's Hospital and placed into the immediate care of the Akron Children's staff. The staff kept me updated with his condition and explained all they could in the delivery room.
Once stabilized, they allowed me to see him, and encouraged me to bond with him right away, even though I was unable to hold him.
He spent several weeks in Akron Children's Beeghley campus NICU
where the nursing staff looked after him like he was their own.
Every morning I'd walk in to be greeted by his doctors, Dr. Rossi
and Dr. Mosqueda
with an update. My husband and I were treated as part of a family.
From the moment we walked into the building to visit him, from the moment we walked out, we felt the love that the staff had for each individual baby, many worse off than my son.
They offered me lunch and dinner when I didn't want to leave his side, and provided me with as much information as they could on how to continue his individualized treatment at home.
Akron Children's NICU team and staff gave me the support and courage I needed to be a good parent for Gage while he was in the NICU. Because of them, I was able to focus on the triumphs we faced, and not the setbacks.
Two years later, my daughter, Aria, was born 5 weeks early at the same hospital.
Due to a traumatic birth in which the cord was wrapped twice around her neck, we had a brief run in with the NICU staff once more. I cannot praise the efficiency of the NICU staff enough.
Unbeknownst to me, I had arrived to the hospital fully dilated and delivered her within 20 minuets of arrival. The NICU staff was in the room with me before her delivery, prepped and ready to care for her.
After evaluating her, they were able to give her a clean bill of health, and placed her into my arms.
Gage is now a happy 2 year old who loves discovering the world around him. He has gone from a tiny little preemie to being in the 98% for height.
Aria recently turned 8 months, and is nearly crawling. She loves to watch her big brother, and is full of smiles and laughter. She is still very small for her age, but makes up for it with with a big personality.