She came at a time of chaos. She came in the midst of it all - new job, new move, new house, new school. She came before we were ready. She came eight weeks early. She came as a very special gift wrapped in a very small package.
She taught us life simply can't be planned. She taught us about a world we never knew existed and a new vocabulary filled with words like necrotize and desat. She taught us progress could be measured in grams. She taught us the uncertainty of life on the night she almost didn't make it. She taught us a whole new way of love.
She lives on now 5 years later. She lives o now developing in ways we never imagined in those early moments - laughing, running, pretending. She lives on now as our miracle girl thanks to the medical wonders of the NICu and the medical research funded by the March of Dimes. She lives on now, growing through the love of her parents, sisters and family, every day, our little Amelia.
by Bob Keppel, Dad
As I look back on what Bob wrote about Amelia, I remember how trying those first months were. You think once you are a parent you get it, but you never really get it until you've been through it. We couldn't care for our own daughter. We struggled to handle our other responsibilities as parents. We were unsure when we should advocate for her and when we should stand aside and let the professionals do their job. We worried.
Amelia changed our perspective. Our NICU experience has changed our lives and our careers. I was a teacher, I'm now a NICU Family Support Specialist. Our volunteer work was sporadic, we now speak as a family around the country on the importance of supporting the entire family unit going through a NICU stay and the importance of the March of Dimes. My older two children now understand what it is like living and working with someone who has learning disabilities - a sensitivity that not too many 8 and 12 year olds have. And Amelia's love for life is infectious. I somtimes feel guilty for bringing Amelia into this world - one in which is hard for her at times, one in which she might struggle to fit in, but then I see how much fun she has. I see her big heart and the smiles she brings to so many people and the guilt goes away. As Bob says, Amelia has taught us that life can't be planned, but to enjoy each day of it.