Meet Jennifer, Preemie Parent Mentor
My preemie(s) was born at: 25 weeks
Days spent in the NICU: 432 days
Current age of preemie(s): two
Parent of Multiples: Yes
Our NICU Journey included: micropreemies, multiples, twin loss, g-tube, vent, trach/tracheostomy, extended NICU stay, delays, pulmonary hypertension.
We lost Lucas after a week in the NICU, but that wasn’t the end of our journey. Walking into the room with Lucas’ empty incubator beside Mateo’s was hard but I had to be there for him. Mateo turned out to be the strongest boy that I’ve ever met. He has dealt with so much – like being put on the oxilator, laser and major surgeries, codes and blood transfusions, pulmonary hypertension, central lines, and a tracheostomy. There where rough days, but I always said to God “If you chose me, you will give me the strength that I need”.
After 432 days total, we went home on a vent that he could tolerate. You think that when you go home everything will change, but I can tell you that not much has changed. You worry more but you feel happy at the same time. Even though I have a 2 year-and- 7-month-old baby who crawls but can't talk or walk, I feel more than blessed than ever. So my son has a life support machine and other support equipment. Why do we have to call these things limitations? I feel more than blessed to have him in my life.
I became a Graham’s Foundation preemie parent mentor because I didn’t know about all the emotional help that existed for parents and so it was hard to understand that I was NOT the only one going through this journey. I want other moms and dads to know they’re not alone.