Alessia – 31 weeks
Our daughter, Alessia, was born at 31 weeks on Valentine’s Day 2018, weighing 2lbs 6oz and only 15in long. Due to her gestational age, the doctors were most concerned for her respiratory system. They told us to be prepared for CPAP’s, breathing machines, and all the like. But aside from a brief CPAP right at birth, she never needed any respiratory assistance again – which we were told was extremely rare for a baby of her gestational age. She spent 5 weeks in the NICU, mainly to gain weight and reach the required 4lbs. 8 months later, she is a 16 lb happy, goofy, thriving little girl. If it weren’t for the impeccable staff at Orange Regional Medical Center and Hailey’s Hope Foundation, I’m not sure what our journey would have looked like. Each person we ever leaned on for support allowed us to be completely vulnerable in their presence, which was the greatest gift to first-time parents navigating this new world of parenthood re-imagined. We are forever grateful and will never forget the support that we received, and we hope to pay the support forward to other NICU families who find themselves facing the challenge of a lifetime.