Kevin – 23 weeks
It was a typical Christmas morning in our home on December 25, 2009, until I began having sharp pains. I thought it was cramping from my cerclage procedure the week prior. As more sharp pains followed, I called for an ambulance to take me to Westchester Medical Center (WMC). I felt so upset for our 2 daughters, Molly (6) and Katie (4). With my husband at work, grandma was doing her best to distract them with presents. Their bright smiles were quickly replaced with tears, screams and questions.
At the hospital I went into labor and received medication to slow down the contractions. Knowing something was wrong, my mind raced with possibilities. I was worried about the baby, Molly and Katie. We were supposed to celebrate Katie’s 2nd birthday. I was admitted and monitored daily. Three days later, my contractions got worse and my water broke. As the nurses and doctors prepared for the delivery, I prayed for our baby. My husband Martin and I knew it was all out of our hands. On December 28, Kevin Patrick was born prematurely at 23 weeks weighing 1 lb. 11oz. He was 13 inches long. Although hearing, “It’s a boy” brought joy to my heart, tears rolled down my face as I quickly caught a glimpse of our precious tiny miracle before he was swept away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Overwhelmed with fear and anxiety, my husband went with the NICU team while I went to recovery. I truly missed not being able to see or hold Kevin. Martin went back and forth checking on him and keeping me up to date.
My first visit with Kevin was the following evening. We watched helplessly as our precious, fragile baby, entwined in wires and tubes, struggled to survive. My emotional pain was stronger than my physical pain. As Martin touched Kevin gently through the holes in his isolette, I felt so disconnected missing those first crucial hours of his life. The NICU was Kevin’s home for 118 days. We learned very quickly what to ask but not what to expect. Participating in daily rounds, juggling hospital visits with work and caring for the girls was exhausting and challenging. Martin stayed nights and I covered days. While in the NICU, Kevin had numerous transfusions, needed support from ventilators, had a PDA ligation and barely survived a nearly fatal pneumonia. It broke our heart leaving Kevin each day and night, but we knew that he was in good hands. His incredible nurses were true miracle workers and always treated Kevin with much tender love. They became family. We also received tremendous support from Hailey’s Hope Foundation. We were so touched that there were strangers willing to help us through this difficult time. They lessened the burdens we faced and made the days a little easier.
We finally brought Kevin home on April 26, 2010. Weighing 7 lbs., he came home with an apnea monitor, many medications and numerous follow-up appointments. Molly and Katie welcomed Kevin with a big sign and big smiles. We are so grateful for all of the prayers and support from family and friends. It has been amazing having Kevin home. He receives early intervention services almost daily. Although we have been juggling all of the schedules, our greatest challenge has been living in contact isolation and limiting exposure to germs. Kevin is now 20 lbs. and 29 inches! He is a true miracle.