At the beginning of each month Ella's Halo will have a NICU family tell their story about life in the NICU with their baby. Our hope is that by featuring different families others will have a better understanding of the difficult, roller-coaster ride many face when their baby is in the NICU. Ella's Halo created the Feature Family series, if you are interested in sharing your story, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your NICU story and to be a future Feature Family.
This family is very near and dear to our hearts. Their little guy, Colby, was born in March of 2009 and was in the hospital pretty much the entire time we were there with Ella. We are so lucky to have his parents as friends and to see how much Colby changes and grows. Colby's parents stayed at the Ronald McDonald House during their NICU stay and is one reason why Ella's Halo volunteers at the RMH.
Written by Heather Thompson
Former NICU Mommy
In early 2009, my husband and I were preparing for the arrival of our first child. The pregnancy was near perfect – just a little bit of nausea in the beginning that only lasted about a week. At the 20 week ultrasound, we learned we were expecting a little boy and that he was measuring exactly to his due date of June 13. Then, on day one of week 27, my water broke. We rushed to Trinity Hospital in Minot, ND (which was an hour away), where we learned the baby was in the transverse position (sideways) and I was fully dilated. During an emergency c-section, the doctor also discovered a placental abruption. Colby was born at 3:14 AM on 3-14-2009. He weighed an even 2 pounds and was 13 ¾ inches long. His early arrival was completely unexpected. Even today, there is no answer as to why he came 13 weeks early.
It was a few hours before I was taken up to my room from recovery. I had developed a fever and was not allowed in the NICU to see my baby. He was a day and a half old before I got my chance to meet him. Thankfully, the wonderful nurses in the NICU had been taking pictures and printing them out for me. Colby was pretty beat up from the delivery – his entire face was bruised, as were his legs and feet. But, he opened his eyes almost right away and had a head full of blond hair. He was handsome. I knew he was small, but seeing him for the first time took my breath away. It is hard to see in a photo just how small these premature babies are. My husband could slide his wedding ring up Colby’s arm with no trouble.
Colby was one week old when I got my chance to hold him for the first time. It took a lot of prep work and 2 nurses to get him moved from his isolette over to my arms. I held him for about 2 hours and it was wonderful. For those 2 hours, the worry and anxiety melted away. I was surprised to hear Colby making little baby noises – grunts, groans, and moans. You could not hear those noises when he was in his isolette. Colby was actually a very strong, healthy baby – his main issue was being premature with premature lungs. He was on a ventilator but was doing pretty well. He was getting nutritional supplements and just a few meds that went along with the ventilator.