Samantha

Our NICU Journey began when I was admitted to the hospital for the duration of my pregnancy at 21 weeks gestation . The doctors called it "Incompetent Cervix"  Basically that my cervix couldn’t manage the weight of the twins.  After 3 weeks on bed rest in the hospital our twin girls were born November 22, 2010. 24 weeks and 2 days Samantha was 1lb 5oz, Jenna 1lb 3 oz. .   The NICU Journey, for us was, a unique experience.  At that time I had been a pediatric intensive care nurse. While I had advanced knowledge as to what to expect for my girls medically, nothing could've prepared us for what we experienced emotionally.  The doctors and nurses tell you that the NICU is a "Roller Coaster."  I can tell you that no greater analogy has ever been made.  There are good days and bad, ups, downs, sideways, upside down and backwards.  Some days make you queasy, and some are the happiest moments of your life.  Samantha, in the beginning, we thought was the weaker twin.  She was the one we worried about for the first 2 weeks.  She had a PDA that wouldn’t close, Jaundice, Bilateral Grade II IVH (bleeding in the brain) and they couldn’t get her off the oscillator (the high intensity breathing machine that helps preemies breathe).  Jenna, was our rock star.  She was moved within 1 week from the oscillator to a traditional ventilator. Tolerating her feeds. Right side Grade 1 IVH and doing well.

After 19 days, Jenna developed a terrible infection in her intestines called NEC.  We knew after several hours, her condition rapidly deteriorating, she was not going to make it. Heartbreakingly, we said good bye to her, and held on to hope above hope that Samantha would get stronger.  She did, Samantha became stronger and fought harder every day.  She overcame obstacles every day.  While we did have minor setbacks, like constipation followed by diarrhea that caused a terrible diaper rash, the reflux which made it hard for her to tolerate her feeds.  Bigger setbacks like needing surgery for the Retinopathy she developed because of her prematurity. The PDA that didn’t need surgery and was able to be managed with medications. The Grade II IVH which we were not really sure if Samantha would suffer long term from any damage it caused.  Samantha was discharged after 94 days in the NICU.  She still required oxygen for 2 months and received Occupational Therapy for 6 months. She received treatment for the reflux until she was 2 years old.  

Today, Samantha is almost 4 and in Pre-School.  She is on target developmentally with the other kids in her class and is the happiest and most compassionate little girl I have ever known.  Samantha is our Miracle.  We are very blessed to have traveled the NICU Journey and will be eternally grateful to the Nurses and Doctors who helped bring Samantha home.

Family, friends, nurses, and doctors reminded us to take the NICU journey "one day at a time". We rejoiced in the "good" days.

Martha & Paul / Wyndmoor, PA

Martha & Paul