As the month of November comes to a close, I am reliving it all. Eleven years ago, our first preemie son was born 2 months early. As new parents with a baby in the NICU, we were learning everything and more! It was overwhelming and early on, there were no guarantees. Strangely, it feels that everything we experienced with him sort of prepared us for the future with his siblings. Donovyn was born in the early morning hours of November 21st, 2005. Admitted for preeclampsia, I was on hospital bedrest waiting to deliver. Thankfully, the world-renowned perinatologist, Dr. E, was there that night and took over my care. I should mention too that I was only in that hospital because my excellent OB, Dr. R, was paying attention. It's because of him that I have any living children at all. With the help of steroids, Donovyn was breathing room air at birth. We had already chosen his name months prior and "strong warrior" seemed almost too perfect. Ironically, a baby named Donovan had just been discharged. We took it as a sign.
He was shown to me briefly before being whisked away to a team of doctors. After recovery time, I was ridiculously rolled through the tight and crowded NICU floor of Phoenix Children's Hospital. I had nurses glaring at me and shaking their heads. This was not my idea. We stopped near his isolette and I tried to look over as much as I could without passing out while two nurses reminisced about their junior high school days. I was wheeled to my room where I just sobbed. I started having those thoughts. For instance, I wondered how much a baby casket would cost if he didn't survive (something I would actually know 3.5 years later when we lost his youngest brother)? I was upset that I didn't have a single outfit with me that was my own to put him in. I couldn't see tomorrow. It was torture being on a different floor and not knowing what was happening with him downstairs. I was too sick to visit and very light-headed. I never got to hold him on his birthday. He was born the week of Thanksgiving that year and we had so much to be thankful for indeed! Our little turkey stayed in the NICU there for 2 weeks. The day of his baby shower, he was transferred to a hospital closer to home for an additional week. I woke up extra early to be able to ride along in the ambulance with him that morning. He spent 21 days in the NICU.
Eleven years ago, we were tracking feedings and diaper changes. We left our hospital bracelets on for a few weeks just in case before feeling like it was safe to remove them. We would constantly check on him to make sure he was still breathing. I would sweat bullets gently pushing his tiny arms through the sleeves of an outfit. These memories are tucked safely away, but with each passing year and milestone, they welcomingly return. Donovyn made it! His mom had observant, competent, and professional doctors who cared. I had an excellent health insurance plan that was as much as a monthly mortgage payment. I feel these things truly did help make all the difference with this pregnancy. And of course, without the March of Dimes and its research, our son could have had a different outcome.
Prematurity has not left our son unscathed. He has an IEP for his SLI, a stutter, and has speech sessions twice a week. He is underweight for his age and height, some-thing we've been working on for the past 3 years. His younger brother has surpassed him in both of these categories and it's been tough on his self-esteem. He's an excellent big brother, swimmer, bowler, and gamer. He has a fun personality and awesome hair color that some wo/men would pay good money to have. He made me a mom just 11 days after my own birthday. I never thought I'd care to know so much about Autobots or Decepticons, but because he does, I do too:)
In the 2nd NICU
D w/ Darth Tater - Halloween 2007
D riding Liberty
Donovyn's 11th Birthday!
Since I'm newer to the community, I never knew this much about D! Thank you for such a wonderful update on him. Wishing you both a happy birthday (belated) with so much love. Thank you for all that you and your constant advocacy for maternal health care.
Love and Hugs
Thank you for sharing your sweet boy with us. I am always so amazed at how far our kids come in what feels like a few short years that fly by.
So much love to you!
Awww, thanks for sharing Donovyn's story and pictures with us. What an amazing little boy!
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