Monday, April 20, 2009

Caleb's Miracle...

Last year at this time my friend’s, Suzanne & Gary, were expecting their first child, a boy, due in August of 2008. Of course we had talked about doing some newborn photos of him after he was here – but certainly no one expected that just 2 weeks before Suzanne’s due date – I would be taking photos of him, not only in the NICU but also at an amazing 2 ½ months old. Being a parent myself, yes it’s true you’re never really completely prepared for that first child and all the learning that comes along with them, but you are certainly never prepared for what comes with the arrival of a severely premature delivery. For Suzanne and Gary it meant delivering Caleb at less than 27 weeks, 1lb 4ozs and 11 ¾”. Of course they found themselves on the rollercoaster ride that comes with that kind of situation; all of the ups and downs that Caleb has had, fighting for what’s best for him, and the 129 days straight of making the trek down to University Hospital to be with their son in the NICU.


In just 3 weeks however, Caleb will be celebrating his first birthday, a really huge victory! I know along the way they have appreciated the support, the prayers and the work of others that make it their job to deal with these very special situations. This weekend they will be walking in the March of Dimes’ “March for Babies” walk in Cincinnati. If you wish to donate in Caleb’s name you can visit their team page at:

March for Babies - Team Caleb

I know I couldn’t do their story justice, so with their permission, here is Suzanne’s words describing their experience…as well as photos of Caleb from the beginning up to his first trip to the park earlier this month!


“A LOT has happened this year. It was the worst and best year of my life thus far.

This time last year I had only known I was pregnant for about a month. I was still freaking out about it too. I never wanted kids. I feel guilty even thinking about that now. I was so freaked when I found out. I didn't know how I was going to take care of a kid and since it was something I hadn't thought a lot about I was really freaking out. Everyone kept reassuring me that I would be a great mom but I was still so unsure. After about another month I started getting really excited. The thought of having a child had sunk in and I was actually really stoked. I couldn't wait to meet him. I had all these plans. It was an awesome feeling.

I remember when things started to go wrong. I look back and feel like they should have known something was wrong with me sooner than they did. In the beginning of March they said that my BP was slightly elevated but it wasn't anything to worry about. I was gaining WAY too much weight even though I was going to curves walking on my lunch break and eating good. I remember about 2 weeks before I was admitted in the hospital the first time, telling Gary don't you think my stomach should be much bigger for being 5 months pregnant. I thought it was weird and so did he. But I went on trusting that the docs knew what they were doing. Then the vomiting started. I didn't think anything of this either. I was getting sick every time I ate something. Then I started feeling really run down which is when I decided to take my BP in Kroger. I remember looking at those extremely high numbers and somewhere deep down I knew the outcome would not be good. I went to the doc the next morning and they admitted me right to Christ. Christ kept me and sent me home a couple of days later telling me that I did not have Preeclampsia. So I went out of town to my moms house for my brothers bday and I shopped and did stuff all weekend. I probably should have been in bed. But I wasn't and then on Monday morning when I woke up my eyes were swollen shut. Again, I was admitted to Christ but this time was different. I could see it in their eyes when they were doing that ultrasound that something was really wrong. But for whatever reason when stuff like this is going on. No one ever wants to tell you anything. It felt so surreal to see all these people rushing around trying to find answers to something I wasn't even aware of yet. That is when they told me that they were putting me on magnesium to prevent me from having seizures. I totally freaked out! I was crying my eyes out. Then they also told me I was being transferred to another hospital where they could deliver a baby as early as Caleb was. TIME FROZE at this point. I didn't know what was going on. No one explained anything to me. I had no idea what was really going on until I got over to University. That is where they told me I would not be leaving the hospital without delivering a baby.

We were totally crushed. The week I was admitted to university they told us that if I was to have the baby that day that they didn't even recommend resuscitation. I couldn't believe all of this was happening to me. To US. Gary was so worried. I was worried. But I didn't even fully realize that I was close to not being here anymore. At this point they were just trying to keep him in me as long as possible. I don't remember many things the way I remember these events. I remember everything down to the words people were saying to me at the time. It is so clear in my head. I spent the next 3 weeks in Labor and Delivery under constant monitors. Worrying myself to death. I never slept....I couldn't shower. I wasn't allowed to eat every other day. But I did get to get a tour of the NICU since we knew he would be there. I hate to admit but I was relieved when they finally decided to take him. Caleb had intermittently absent flow in a blood vessel in his brain and in the umbilical cord. Then it was reversed. He went from having a decel in his heartrate 2-3 times a day to every hour or so. They said if they didn't take him then he would have probably been dead in 24 hours. So we did it. I was taken to emergency surgery to have my c-section.

This was another horrifying experience. I had no idea c-section was so traumatic. I could hear them cutting through my flesh with scissors. I could smell burning flesh. I lost a lot of blood and hearing everything the doc was saying. It was all just so vivid and horrible. I was shaking uncontrollably. I was listening to them count all the metal clamps as they used more. I went in for surgery and had already received the epidural and was strapped down to the table at 10am that morning. They had him out at 10:12. I don't remember hearing anything other than the doctor saying oh he is little. Gary said he heard him cry. But they worked on him in the room for a couple of minutes and briefly flashed him to me so I could see him in case he didn't make it. I couldn't even enjoy seeing him for the first time because of everything else going on.”

The First Days...


“After my c-section in the recovery room all I wanted to do was to see him. My heart was aching. I didn't know things like this happened. I really didn't I was ignorant. Gary, my mom, my dad and my grandma all got to see him. I was getting small updates here and there. But nothing could ease my mind. I just knew he wasn't going to make it. At first it seemed like he was doing well and he started to decline shortly after I got to see him the first time. I was finally able to lay eyes on my son for the first time on May 11th at 12:30 am. I was wheeled into the NICU and it felt like my heart stopped. Even though I had gotten a tour it still felt like my heart was being torn to shreds as I was wheeled over to his isolette. I had never seen anything so tiny fighting so hard to live before. I couldn't take it. I was in there maybe 5 minutes before I had to leave. My son was here. Not even close to the way I pictured it going down.”


Caleb at 2 ½ months in the NICU

“Caleb had many struggles and we almost lost him quite a few times but we all made it through somehow. We spent 129 days going to the NICU. Seeing him. Being and feeling helpless and hopeless. Wanting more than anything for them to let him come home. It was always something with him. Things kept popping up. But we finally got the word that we were going to be going home. And I flipped out. I couldn't believe it. It had been so long I got used to going to the hospital to see my son. It was hard leaving all the people there that we liked so much. I have so much respect for the nurses in the NICU. It takes a very special person to be able to do that job. The day we left I cried for like 4 hours. I couldn't believe it was finally happening.”

Caleb at 6 ½ months……

“Caleb is the joy of my life. I look at him and he makes everything OK. Nothing else matters anymore. I love him more than I thought was possible to love something. We are soooo grateful he is here and is doing so well. Despite our minor setbacks. So even though it has been a really hard year it has also been the most rewarding. My little Caleb :-) And I couldn't ask for a better father than Gary. He does so good with him. I am so proud of our little family. We have been through so much together.

Thanks to everyone who has been there for us!!! Looking forward to a great 2009 with my little miracle!”

Caleb’s first trip to the park!...April 2009

It’s so exciting to see Caleb growing up! Congratulations to Caleb, Suzanne and Gary on celebrating a year, as challenging as it has been……

March for Babies – Team Caleb page:

March for Babies - Team Caleb

Support page for NICU families:


Cyndi said...

Thank you for sharing this little miracle with us!! (And thanks for the warning.)

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