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How I Succeeded Against the Odds After Being Born Prematurely

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My NICU experience starts like this — as told to me by my parents.

I was born about 3 months early and was premature. I weighed in at a tiny 3 pounds, 3 ounces. I had to be transferred by ambulance to a hospital with a higher level of medical facilities. Doctors told my parents I had a 1 percent chance of surviving and faced a tough road ahead.

In my first days in the world, I had a collapsed lung, a hole in my heart, two failed spinal taps among a host of other problems. My parents stuck with me. My mom was dealing with a sickness of her own at the time and was recovering at a different hospital. All along she and my dad visited me every day and continued to believe in me. They kept looking forward for me and would not give in to the doubt of doctors. I was in the ICU for the first two months of my life.

Me at 3 months old. I was brought home on oxygen and a heart rate monitor. My parents were filled with fear each time the device would make a beep. It was a finicky machine and eventually they got me off it.

My sister Jess always stayed by my side! When I was in second grade I had double hip surgery and was in a full body cast for two months. Jess wanted to be just like her big sister and wanted her own wheelchair. Hers is the top of the line one (a baby stroller). Thanks for sticking by me, sis!

I participated in adaptive skiing. It was great to participate in something we could all do as a family. Although it took a lot of physical strength, it was quite an exhilarating feeling to be out on the mountain with no worries for the moment — just having fun!

My family of clowns! Halloween was fun that year.

Motorcycle rides with Dad! As a kid I was pretty fearless. Now, not so much!

And here’s my fear-stricken face on the carnival swings. I remember screaming “stop the ride” at the top of my lungs!

“I want to play in the snow!” Mom helped me get all suited up and n then she handed me to Dad out I went. We had snowball fights and made snowmen and igloos.

Shoutout to my Momma Bear! She is lovable and supports me though it all. She’s there to laugh with and consoles me when I just need a little mom time. That’s what moms are for, right?

Playing in the sink washing the dishes! My parents always made sure I could do all the spur-of-the-moment kid things. With just a little adaptation, it was possible in their eyes!

It’s never too late for a four-legged furry helper and friend! Edison and I have made up for lost time. He is my biggest cheerleader of all and I love him for it! These last three years as a team have been more than incredible with him by my side. I will always be thankful to NEADS for making a spot-on match!

So there you have it! A snippet of my life in photos. I have overcome a lot in my 29 years of being here on Earth but the journey is far from over. Many orthopedic surgeries, physical therapy, and countless doctor appointments remain in my future, but I have come so far and I am proud!

Originally published: October 4, 2019
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