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Lauren and I have been lucky our whole lives. Good things seem to just happen. When we decided to have a baby the luck seemed to run out. After trying for some time, we looked to IVF. Such an incredible, yet mentally & physically exhausting process. We went through 3 full rounds of retrieval’s. It felt like it would never happen until it... did:).
Like everything, the harder it seems, the more rewarding the outcome feels. We were so overjoyed...the pregnancy was great. I went to every single check up to show support but also because I was so excited.
On December 6th, (a day before my dad was to turn 70), Lauren had her normal 34 week check up. The Dr didn't love her high blood pressure last check up and it seemed to remain higher then she liked. She asked Lauren to go the hospital for precaution. I left work to meet her and the Dr said everything was fine. We were going to leave and were debating what pizza we would have that night:).... Until the Dr came in and said "you're having a baby tonight”.
So many thoughts and emotions rushed through our head. 6 weeks early? How? What happens next? Is Lauren going to be ok? Why us?
She had extreme preeclampsia & the baby had to come out. After an emotional rollercoaster Lauren does what she does best and rolled with the punches. We were preparing, discussing, etc. and the NICU Dr came in. She explained all the issues with being born early, expectations, possible challenges, and that our baby would be rushed right to the NICU.
I never even heard of the NICU. On the hospital tour I remember the tour guide pointing it out & saying "don't worry you won't go there". Only 6% of babies do.
Well that's where we were headed. Sonny was born at 6pm in December 7th & it was the happiest moment of our lives. Lauren got to hold him for a second until he was rushed out. We cried & celebrated. Then.... I went to see Sonny and he was so small & had tubes everywhere. It wasn't exactly the way I thought this would go down.
Lauren needed 24 hours to get the magnesium out. Sonny needed longer. I sat by his incubator praying and not knowing what to do. The first few days you don't know different so you just sit there. Then anxiety hits. How long? Will he be healthy? Why all the tubes?
Sonny had numerous issues but the main one was Brady. Every day we would go in and hope it was our day. Every day we learned A LOT. It went from a nightmare to a dream. We fell in love with our nurses and Dr's. We connected with other families who had it worse. We fell in love with Sonny watching him fight and win.
We both come from Jewish homes and it was important Sonny had a Bris. We did it in the NICU. All the nurses and Dr's celebrated with us. What a special moment.
25 days later we brought our little 4 pound 6 ounce boy home. The NICU process reinforced our belief of just how lucky we really truly are.
Now Sonny turned 6 months and that little guy is a monster who is thriving and smiling.
At a routine 32 week check up my OB asked how I was feeling. I said I felt fine but a bit swollen and heavy given the earlier stage of my pregnancy and comparing the experience to my first full-term and healthy baby. We are so lucky that my OB chose to do a quick ultrasound to check on the baby, which is when he found that my son was taking on fluid and he didn't know why. I was sent upstairs for further testing and had the pediatric cardiologist team with me, which is where my son was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and had a heart rate of 360 BPM. After 6 days of trying to treat SVT while pregnant, Arnold Robert was ultimately delivered at 33 weeks.
He was born hydropic (swollen from fluid retention), with pulmonary hypertension, and required high frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV). There were no baby cries in the delivery room, but there was a heartbeat. The NICU staff at Weill Cornell Hospital whisked him and my husband away to begin treating him. The first week was the scariest, and we were warned to prepare ourselves for the worst. Walking out of the hospital every night without my baby in my arms never got easier. Everyday seemed harder than the last. The nurses and doctors helped us celebrate the small wins, and kept us prepared for the setbacks.
After his 54 day stay in the NICU we were able to bring him home safely. Since then, he has since been diagnosed with auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD) and we work with Connecticut’s Birth to Three services for early intervention.
We feel blessed to have had access to the medical equipment and talent we needed in order for our son to survive. The work that is done in the NICU on a 24-hour basis is nothing short of a miracle. Every new admission touched me during our stay in the NICU, and I feel so fortunate to join PSP and give back in any way I can to the wonderful medical staff and hospitals in NY who supported our family.