Callie was born 3 months early, on November 11th of 2002 at just 25 weeks gestation. She weighed in at a tiny 1 lb, 15 oz. I acquired a staph infection that could have killed me, had she not come out so early. She was so premature that most doubted that I was in labor. In spite of the fact it was my first, every instinct inside of me told me it was time to go to the hospital.
By the time I arrived at the hospital, I was already too far along to stop the progression of labor and eventually delivery. Callie was born about a day after contractions began, due in large part to the heroic efforts of the nurses and physicians working at Banner Desert, and a mother’s determination to give Callie the best chance of survival. It is a difficult task to fight the powerful urges that come with labor, but a day doesn’t go by that I don’t cherish the health and vitality of my little girl.
We spent nearly 3 months in the NICU, walking a fine line between helpful and obtrusive with the nurses when it came to being involved in our care. As I began to understand the process, it became clear I could be most useful in helping the nurses with the nuanced care my child responded best to, especially positioning. It also became clear that the ‘kangaroo care’, my bonding through physical contact to my child, became as necessary to her health as it already was to mine. As she breathed more easily and with less support, I finally began to breathe myself.
Callie was on a ventilator for approximately 6 weeks, transitioning to a CPAP and finally a nasal cannula on Christmas Day. It was then, and still is, the greatest Christmas gift I have ever received. The prediction that she would be discharged around her due date, February 24, 2003, was accurate, making our stay almost exactly 3 months.
Although our time at the NICU was a long and adventurous rollercoaster ride, a ride I never want to ride again, we look back now and are so grateful for the staff that cared for our daughter day in and day out. They were able to help me learn how to care for my miniature miracle and when the time came, made our transition home as smooth as possible. And although I am sure we weren’t the easiest parents to teach, we will be forever in their debt.
Today Callie is a healthy and happy 10 year old angel (as angelic as a 10 year old can be of course). She loves to read about science and animals. Her smile and laugh are contagious, and a sound I cherish here in our home. Besides tormenting her little brother, Callie loves to sit down with her daddy and watch anything educational about animals, playing with her friends and going on family bike rides. We can’t imagine our lives without this magnificent blessing we cherish each and every day.