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"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.