STORIES FROM THE NICU: VERA

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Submitted by: Brandi Conner

​In honor of NICU Awareness Month ⬇️
Vera came into this world unexpectedly at 32 weeks, due to no heartbeat detection. I had just been admitted days before because she had stopped growing and doctors had hoped for at least 35 weeks because she needed a gastrointestinal surgery right after birth. But God had other plans. I was woken up by 10 people in the room all screaming “there is no heartbeat”! They told me to get up & change positions. Shaking and crying; I changed positions; there was still no luck finding her heartbeat. They told me I needed an emergency c section and that I would be put to sleep. It felt like forever waiting for the anesthesiology team, just laying on that cold OR table staring up at the fluorescent lights crying and praying God to not take her. I tried holding onto hope that regardless of what everyone was fearing, she would be okay and in my arms soon.

When I woke up I was told she was out within two minutes kicking everyone in the OR!
She was born at 5:32am, weighing 3lbs and was 15in long! She had duodenal atresia surgery at 3 days old to correct how her bowels had formed and we spent 53 days in the NICU. So many ups and so many downs. She had developed pulmonary hypertension because her lungs were so premature so she was on oxygen and she had an NG feeding tube which means she had a feeding tube in her nose because she had trouble breastfeeding or taking a bottle because it tired her out and she would lose weight if she tried too hard to do anything! We were also told she had a moderate to large sized hole in the bottom two chambers of her heart called a VSD and it would need to be repaired when she was 10lbs which ended up being when she was 4 months old! We learned to celebrate the tiny victories and take it one day at a time! Finally once she hit 5lbs, we were able to go home! It was a surreal moment for sure!

​ NICU life is hard to understand unless you have lived it, I have PTSD from all the stress & her traumatic entrance into this world. I don’t know how we would have gotten through that very rough part of our lives without our faith and our amazing friends and family! And we are so grateful for Vera’s NICU team full of awesome doctors and nurses!

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