Hannah's Story

NICU Warrior Foundation member Hannah shares her story of daughter Amelia --

Amelia was born at 32 weeks, weighing in at 4 lbs, 5 oz. her lowest weight hitting 3 lbs. 11 oz.  She spent only 16 days in the NICU, where I happen to work.It was still the most difficult 16 days I could have imagined.

She started out on CPAP with an OG tube and an IV. The OG switched to a NG, and she spent some time on bili lights. A few days in, she pulled her CPAP off and was able to maintain her SpO2 without support.


We went through no less than 7 bottles looking for one she would take.  Eventually, we found one and she started taking feedings. Some days she would do great, other days she was just too tired. We were even able to introduce breastfeeding. It felt like she was crushing all her tasks, but learning to eat felt like it was never going to happen some days.


She thrived and did better than anyone expected, but the first night I left her in the hospital to go home and care for my 4-year-old broke me. My body knew that we were still supposed to be together. But part of my heart was at home too. Thankfully, I knew everyone caring for my baby, on a personal level. I'm so thankful that we were able to be cared for by my work family.

Amelia is, by all accounts, a miracle. Her tracing never looked great on the monitor, which ended up being the result of a tight true knot in her umbilical cord. Another day in utero, and she wouldn't be with us.

I carried a lot of guilt around delivering so early. I felt like I had failed her by not being able to carry her longer. Like it was somehow my fault that she had to come so early. That's a feeling that I think a lot of us don't want to admit.


Looking back, our time in the NICU is a distant memory and seems like a blip in time.  But in the moment, it felt like each day drug on.  Watching my son ache to hold "his baby" was heartbreaking.  Hearing him cry as he left the hospital and we stayed was gut wrenching.

Each day, she got better. She got stronger and grew bigger. Now she's a thriving, running, climbing, talking 1-year old. She's come so far from that tiny baby in the isolette!