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Micro Preemies Stories - Neonatal Services
Charlie: 1-pound, 13-ounces
"Doctors said I had a 5 percent chance of living."
Born at just 25 weeks – 15 weeks early – doctors told my parents I only had a 5-percent chance of survival. At 1-pound, 13-ounces, I was classified as a micro-preemie. As a result, I had to stay in Children's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and was hooked up to ventilators to help me breathe. Although I was closely monitored by doctors and nurses, it was often difficult to endure the other crying infants and beeping monitors that surrounded me. After several months in the NICU, I eventually became strong enough to breathe on my own and my parents were able to bring me home.
As I got older and learned to talk, I had a hard time pronouncing my Rs and Ls. Therefore, my mom put me in speech therapy classes and spent countless nights reading to me. She always reminded me that it's better to think about how we've been blessed than to focus on the negatives.
Now a college student, I know how lucky I am to be healthy and strong and I feel a distinct drive to accomplish something big. In fact, I'd someday like to become a senator. My mom always taught me that things happen for a reason, so I plan on doing what good I can in the time I've got.
Alicia: four months early
"I was delivered four months early."
I was born a micro-preemie, meaning I was delivered three to four months early. At birth, I weighed less than two pounds and doctors told my parents I would likely have brain damage, blindness or deafness. Because I was so small, I had to spend the first 70 days of my life being cared for by the doctors and nurses in Children's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in close quarters with other premature infants.
As a second grader, I did "About Me" projects for school – I'd bring in the little diapers and clothes I wore as a micro-preemie to show my classmates how small I was.
Now 19-years-old and in college, I'm currently a competitive figure skater and cheerleader. Because of the obstacles I've had to overcome being born so small, I feel that it's quite an accomplishment! Other than occasionally having to wear glasses for slight nearsightedness, I'm completely healthy.
Last summer I visited Children's and met some of the nurses who took care of me during the first several months after I was born. When I saw all of the tiny babies being cared for in the NICU I realized how lucky I am to have come so far. A nursing student myself, I now want to give back in honor of the doctors and nurses who helped me. I want to tell other parents of micro-preemies to keep their hopes up. Yes, their baby is small, but don't ever give up. I turned out just fine.
Elissa: A micro preemie miracle
A micro preemie miracle, all grown up
I see the commercials with the Children's Minnesota micro preemies all grown up, and have read the People magazine article, but I must say I have them beat by almost a decade!
Dr. Hokestra and the rest of the wonderful staff saved my life in Feb 1981.
I weighed in at 1 lb 14 oz and dropped to 1 lb 8 or 9 oz. My twin brother did not survive. I spent 4 months in the hospital fighting for my life. Overcoming jaundice, a collapsed lung, and needing a feeding tube as the only way to survive were only some of my struggles.
Today I am in perfect health except for the need of glasses/contacts. And my extreme nearsidedness may or may not be from my prematurity.
After high school I went to St Olaf (just like like one of your featured preemie grads!), got married, got my Masters degree at MSU, Mankato, and had two babies of my own.
Having my own children really brings things full circle. I will be 30 this winter, and thank God everyday for my life, and I am extremely thankful too, for those who helped save it!
Jonathan: just over 2 pounds
At birth, I weighed just over 2 pounds.
Born at just 26 weeks, about three-and-a-half months early, I weighed just 2-pounds, 2-ounces. Because I was so tiny, I was put on life support and had to spend the first 66 days of my life in Children's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Because there were no accommodations for my parents to stay with me around the clock, they drove to and from the hospital every day to visit me.
As I got a little older, I started to wake up in the middle of the night and would have trouble breathing. My parents would have to get steam going in the shower to help open my airways. Because I had difficulty breathing, I was afraid of participating in athletic and physical activities.
However, my parents continued to push me to try new sports like T-ball, baseball and basketball. Although I hated it at first, I eventually started to love sports – especially football.
I'm now 6-feet tall and weigh 215 pounds. I'm an inside linebacker on the varsity football team in college. I'm often reminded of how close I was to not surviving and how fortunate I am to not have any serious health problems. That motivates me to play even harder every time I'm on the field.