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Colette

37

My daughter Colette was born January 20, 2016 at 38 weeks, full-term. I have Lupus and was monitored very closely throughout my pregnancy. Ultrasounds went well and as far as we knew, she was healthy so I had never even considered a NICU stay.



To our shock, Colette started having trouble breathing shortly after she was born. The doctor was calm as he told us they were going to wheel her right down the hall to the nursery to check her out. She never came back to us in our room in the maternity ward – instead, she was in the NICU fighting for her life.



It was 2 whole days before nurses would allow us to hold Colette - it felt like 2 years as we watched her tiny body hooked to machines and tubes, struggling to breathe. Finally, I was able to hold her, skin-to-skin. After holding her for a bit, the nurse told me she didn’t like the scratchy hospital clothes. I remembered I had one tiny onesie forgotten about, crumpled in the bottom of my bag that was once so carefully packed. It was a KicKee Pants onesie with dinosaurs on it.



For the two weeks she would remain there, we dressed her in a new KicKee Pants onesie with matching swaddle every day. The nurses loved her outfits, It brought smiles and laughter and love to that room that was once so scary to us. It was our only light in a very dark place.



On Valentine’s Day, we walked out of those NICU doors with my healthy baby that was cleared to go home. I couldn’t help but to look behind me at the parents that weren’t so lucky. It was then that I decided that I wanted to give back to the place that saved OUR lives. The NICU Holiday Swaddle Drive was born, and we are currently heading into our FOURTH year.



Colette, or “Letty” as we affectionately call her, is now an extremely intelligent 4-year-old. She goes to Pre-K and loves school. She can complete puzzles in minutes. She loves to splash in rain puddles. She loves to cook and bake. She adores her baby sister. She helps us out so much. And most of all, she lights fire within me to do better, be better, and to leave others better than we found them.

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