Our daughter, Parker, and her twin brother, Rhodes, arrived in the NICU four months early on July 7, 2020. Sitting in the hospital on week three of five, 23 weeks pregnant with a weak cervix, my husband and I had already started to navigate some initial obstacles. However, we weren’t prepared to hear our neonatologist provide a laundry list of every possible lethal and/or chronic complication that comes with extreme premature birth. My husband and I thought, “This won’t happen to our kids, our family will be the exception."
With the surge of fear came the immediate urge to spring into action, doing my own research to find answers. Within the three page list that I scribbled down in my notebook, lay “gastrointestinal disease-Necrotizing Enterocolitis: mortality rate 50%.” It was after brain, heart and lung complications and before cerebral palsy, learning disability, vision and hearing impairments. Just casually written down, smack dab in the middle of that seemingly endless list. Little did we know that those exact, smack dab in the middle words, were the words that we would say on repeat, and hear on repeat, more than one hundred times (at least) during Parker’s almost four month stay in the NICU.