I am 7 years old and the most amazing boy! I am keeping up with my peers physically and often surpass kids my age in reading and math. Despite a recent diagnosis of ADHD, I was selected to be evaluated for the gifted education program at school! I love being a big brother, playing outside, and hanging out with my family.
I'm almost 10 months old and have been through a whole lot. Here's my story...
My Mom had a normal pregnancy. All my ultrasounds showed a normal baby. I kicked, and flipped, and did everything a baby does in the womb. Everything changed on my birthday when I came out blue and lifeless. I cried a little and then was swooped away from my Mom. While Mom was recovering from her C-section, the medical team was trying to figure out how to make me better. They told Mom & Dad that I was really sick and needed to go to St. Louis Children's Hospital for specialized care. I only got to see my parents for a short time before I left. A few days later when Mom and Dad got to see me again, the doctors told them that I have cancer. It was a neuroblastoma tumor pushing on my airway that made it hard for me to breath. I've had 4 rounds of chemo, each 21 days apart. I've also had surgery to repair my little heart, a tracheostomy to help me breath, and a G-button to make sure I get all my nutrition. I am getting stronger every day and am SOO close to being able to go home with my family.
We've come a long way from the NICU and are growing up fast. We are reading, learning Spanish, and doing all the things 7 year-old-girls love to do. We start 2nd grade next week!
I was born 7 weeks early weighing 4 lbs 11 oz. I'm a big boy for my age but my early arrival came as a BIG surprise to my family. At first, I had some trouble with my breathing and needed CPAP. Now I'm oxygen free, learning how to breastfeed, and drink from a bottle. It's hard to coordinate swallowing and breathing at the same time but I'm doing my best and getting stronger every day.
"I was born 4 weeks early weighing 5lbs, 1 oz. I've had problems with my kidneys that've caused me to spend my entire life in the hospital. I'm 6 months old now and my Mom & I are learning about all the special equipment and machines that I'll need when I go home. I have to have dialysis for 14 hours every day, that means that I must be connected to a machine by tubing. Im learning how to use a bottle but still get some nutrition from a feeding tube. It's hard to be attached to machines all the time but I'm still a happy girl! I love to smile and play and listen to people talk. I love spending time with my Mom and I cannot wait for the day when we can be together all the time at HOME!"
A note of advice from a GiFT Mom: Layla and Lydia were born 3 months early in July of 2017, their original due date was in October. Layla weighed 2lbs 4oz and Lydia weighed 2lbs 8oz. Other than being very tiny Layla and Lydia were completely healthy! They have spent 4 months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit under care of some of the United States best doctors and Nurses. This journey has been long and hard but it has been well worth it! As a mother of these two NICU miracles to those who are or will have to face this tuff journey, my best advice is to be involved as much as possible, communicate with doctors and nurses, listen to their advice and instructions and last but not least love on your child(ren) as hard as you possibly can because they feel that love and that's what helps them grow strong and fast!
I was born at 30 weeks gestation via c-section. Me and my Mom were both sick and she couldn't visit with me in the NICU for several days. I weighed just over 4 pounds on my birthday. I LOVE to eat and now I weigh over 8 pounds! I had to have CPAP for awhile because my lungs were collapsed. I don't need the oxygen any more but sometimes I forget to breathe so I'll stay in the hospital a little longer. I can't wait to go home and play with my big brothers!
We keep growing and learning! It's aweseome when your BFF is also your twin sister :)
We are off the bubble CPAP and that means we we're getting closer to going home to be with our family! We are learning how to take a bottle, growing bigger and stronger everyday.
We are twin girls born in June at 26 weeks gestational age. We came out weighing 2 pounds, but look at us now, in this picture we are almost 4 pounds. Mom and dad are so excited we are gaining weight and eating so well. One thing dad doesn’t know is that when we get home, girly pink stuff is going to be everywhere, we mean EVERYWHERE! Shhhhh, mom says we will just surprise him!
A GiFT Super Hero turns 6 years old this week! This happy, healthy six year old spent 196 day in the NICU after he was born. Thanks for being a part GiFT family!
His mom had this to say: "We'll never ever forget you guys!! Wow how time flies, it seems just like yesterday I bought him home from the NICU!! GiFT has been such a blessing to my family and so many others. We truly appreciate the gift of GiFT. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE & CONTINUE TO DO!! I included a few pictures so please share them amongst our gift family!"
I was born at 25 weeks old, weighing 1 pound 4 ounces. Because of my weight and my upper respiratory problems I was admitted into the NICU. Since I have been here, I have learned how to breathe on my own. My mom says I am doing a really good job at taking the bottle but sometimes I need a little help from my feeding tube. She has already started calling me her little diva because I do what I want; she says I get that type of attitude from my dad. I’ll have to stay in the NICU a little bit longer before I can go home with my family, so for now I’ll just keep getting stronger and stronger!
When I took my first breath, I remember being wheeled in a box to a room where I first saw my Dad. I was born at 30 weeks and had a rough time breathing. I weighted 3 pounds 11 ounces. I had a breathing tube and a feeding tube in my mouth. I didn't get to see my Mom until a few days later because she needed to heal from surgery. I'm almost 4 weeks old and only need a little bit of oxygen until my lungs are strong enough. I'm in a crib now and get to look around more. Mom and Dad come to see me and home me everyday. I now weigh 4 pounds, 12 ounces and will be able to eat form a bottle soon. I'm always looking at Mom & Dan and smiling when they give me kisses and show me they love me.
My mommy had me at 26 weeks gestation by emergency C-Section. Since the day I was born in December I have been in the NICU. When I was transferred to the NICU, I had two blood transfusions and was receiving some help from a breathing tube and a feeding tube. After a while I realized I was strong enough to breath on my own so one day I pulled my breathing tube right out to prove to everyone else I could do it! Since then I continue to breath on my own, and I’m also gaining some weight. I’ve got to keep growing and learn how to eat on my own before I’m ready to go home with Mom and Dad.
When I was born, I was only 26 weeks old. Being born that early you could imagine that I wouldn’t weigh that much. Well, I was 1 pound 15 ounces. I didn’t get to see my mommy for one whole day because she had to heal a little before coming to see me. Thank goodness I wasn’t alone, my daddy’s face was the first I saw and he never left my side. My journey started off rough, I couldn’t gain weight; I had jaundice and I had tubes going into all parts of my body. With the love and support of my parents and family I have slowly gotten better. I am now 34 weeks old and I can drink from a bottle; I don’t need oxygen to help me breathe; I’m 4 pounds and 3 ounces and as adorable as I can be! All I need to do now is gain a little more weight and I will be ready to go home with my parents. That will be a happy day for all of us!
Hello! I'm 6 months old & have spent my entire life in the NICU. My birthday was a really difficult day and I was so sick at the beginning that my Mom didn't get to hold me until I was 3 months old. Now we get to snuggle all the time :) I have a special tube in my airway that helps me breath and a feeding tube that ensures that I get all my nutrition. I'm so glad that I'll be going home from the hospital soon!
It's official, I have a clean bill of health :)! My trach was removed in May 2015 and the stoma was closed in April this year. Now, I can go swimming without covering it. I don't need braces for my legs/ankles any more and the physical therapist says I'm performing like my peers.
I won 2nd place in the pinewood car derby races. I started preschool and am excited to meet new friends there!
And, the most exciting thing in my life is my NEW baby sister, I LOVE being a big brother!
I was born this past May at 24 weeks gestation weighing only 1lb 4oz. I had a very rough start and it took time to diagnose my Scimitar Syndrome. It is extremely rare and doctors could not find a documented case in a preemie or extremely low birth weight baby. I needed open heart surgery but was not big enough or healthy enough. The doctors wanted me to weigh about 5lbs before they would operate.
In September, I reached 5lbs and was ready for my big surgery. The operation went well but my lungs are not fully developed and my left lung is small. In October I had another surgery for a Tracheostomy, a Gastrostomy Button (G-Button), and hernia repair. I've also had multiple eye surgeries and procedures for Retinopathy of Prematurity. The doctors think the vision in my right eye will be saved.
I'm doing better every day but need a ventilator to help me breathe. My family feels extremely blessed that I am getting stronger and healthier. I am happy to have many wonderful people who care for me!