"When I was just 23 weeks pregnant, I went to UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital because I was having some abnormal spotting. The ob-gyn who examined me broke the news to my husband and me that I was in active labor.
I was moved to the labor and delivery floor, hoping that I might be able to hold out a few more weeks before delivering. During this time many doctors and nurses spoke with us about our situation. We were given very grim statistics about babies that were born this early, so we seriously contemplated whether we should do any intervention or just let our baby go peacefully. We were under the impression that our baby would have no quality of life.
Once the NICU representatives came and spoke with us our outlook completely changed. They told us that they had seen babies do well after being born this early. They gave us hope! They were still realistic about the possibility of long-term disabilities but hearing that there was even a chance that our baby could survive and have a happy life was all we needed to hear. We are forever grateful for the guidance from the NICU that helped us make that decision.
AJ was born weighing only 1lb 4oz at 23 weeks and 1 day gestation. We were told that being with him as much as possible was very important, so we came to the NICU every day. A lot of the staff got to know us very well and treated us like family. The doctors and nurses in the NICU provided AJ with excellent care.
His first 4 months were a roller coaster of heart aches and miracles. We learned a tremendous amount from the staff about the medical care that is available for premature babies. The hospital was very supportive when it came to breastfeeding/pumping breastmilk and provided us with a lot of information on the benefits of breastmilk and how to maintain your supply while pumping. The lactation consultants were a very valuable resource to us.
As AJ grew in size, he reached milestones that provided us with comfort and relief. After 115 days in the NICU it was finally time to head to The Children's Home & Lemieux Family Center, where we stayed for 3 weeks before finally taking AJ home. He was on minimum oxygen support and had to follow up with many specialists, he was getting healthier every day. By his first birthday, he was completely off oxygen.
AJ is now 2 years old and has hit all of the developmental milestones along the way. He is the happiest little boy with the biggest smile. We can't thank the staff at UPMC Magee enough for everything they did to make this miracle happen. They are our heroes!” — Laura