"The first days in the NICU are overwhelming, filled with information and statistics overload. There were tests and scans and so many wires and tubes helping to keep her little body alive. The statistics weren’t great - given her gestational age, the doctors told us she had a 50% chance of surviving. An early brain scan revealed some abnormalities. The doctor cautioned if she did survive, she likely would never walk or talk. She stayed in the NICU for 93 days, and I sat by her incubator for hours every single day and prayed for her, wondered what she’d be like as she grew. I pumped milk every 3 hours, religiously. Some days, I felt like that was the only thing I could do."
"The days and weeks went on and Emmy got a reputation for being a spitfire. She was such a fighter! The NICU journey is such a roller coaster. There are moments of intense highs and lows. Sometimes those moments are only seconds apart. You meet families going through the same struggles and you pray for those babies who are fighting right along side your own. You pray for those families who are going through the unthinkable tragedy of losing their babies. You stare at your phone when you’re not there, knowing no news is good news."
"She started having eye exams every week in the NICU to check for retinopathy of prematurity, a condition that can cause blindness. When she was 2 months old, she ended up needing injections in her eyes to treat retinopathy. We continued weekly eye exams after she was discharged and she had a recurrence of retinopathy when she was almost a year old. She had laser surgery at that point and has had no more recurrences. We still follow up very closely with her ophthalmologist. She got glasses when she was two and have recently had to start patching because one eye is weaker than the other."
"She started physical therapy in the NICU and continued for years after coming home. It took a lot of work, but she took her first steps at 18 months! The doctors said she may never walk and here she was, determined to prove them all wrong! I couldn’t believe it - my baby was walking and talking! She wore AFOs for almost a year and we have since graduated completely from physical therapy!"
"Emmy is a remarkable four (almost five!) year old now! She goes to pre-K and loves it! She is so smart and witty. She is sweet and loving. She asks about the NICU and always wants to hear stories about herself. It has been such a joy to watch this little miracle grow and develop."