Every birth is a unique experience. No matter how many babies are born, no two have the exact same story. In some cases, not only is it unique, but it is a very rare birth, as well.
What makes it a rare birth? As you read through this journey today, not only will his entrance into the world amaze you, but his continued fight will bring hope.
I’m so honored to share this micro preemie miracle with you today. Please meet Charlie, as told by his mom, Sarah.
1. Tell us about your baby.
Charlie was due on April 23rd but he was born on December 19th at 22 weeks 1 day, weighing 1lb 3oz, 11 in long.
He was born in his sac, which is pretty rare, but so is being born at 22 weeks.
He is fighter; strongest boy I’ve ever met. His name suits him perfectly because he is a little warrior. He is our second baby boy, younger brother to Theodore (3).
2. How long was your NICU stay? What was the hardest part?
We are currently still in the NICU and it has been 16 weeks.
It’s hard to pinpoint what is the hardest part about NICU life. There are so many things that are really challenging, but leaving him is probably the worst part. It is so hard to think I have to actually go somewhere to see my own baby, and I don’t even get to hold him whenever I want to. I want nothing more than to have him home, but it has to be when he’s ready, and we’re just not quite there yet.
He has been through so much: 20 blood transfusions, 7 self-extubations, NEC, PDA ligation, ROP, being on the vent for 11 weeks and now being on CPAP for 5 weeks.
He has come so far!
Watching him go through all that he has is also very hard for me. I just wish I could have carried him longer and kept him safe, but I experienced a placental abruption and that’s what forced me into labor. I know that there was nothing I could have done about it or done differently, but it doesn’t stop the ache in my heart and the guilt I feel every time I see him face a new obstacle to survive. But seeing him thrive and grow brings me so much joy!
3.Do you know what caused your premature birth?
My placenta completely detached and caused preterm labor. Nothing like this happened with my first pregnancy. I did have high blood pressure with Theodore, my first baby, toward the end and was induced at 37 weeks but Theo was healthy and didn’t need to be in the NICU. They said there was nothing I could have done differently, it was just a random thing that happens sometimes.
4.How are you and your baby doing now?
We are doing well and just taking things day by day. Charlie is up to 6 lbs 8 oz and almost 4 months old. He will still be in the NICU for a while longer but he is slowly moving forward.
There is nothing quite like being a parent to a preemie. It has really given me perspective and taught not to take things for granted. It was 31 days before I ever got to hold Charlie and that’s just not something you think about. You expect to hold your baby when they are born but it was a luxury we did not have because he was so fragile. It’s something I will never forget and something I will always cherish.
This experience has deepened my faith and brought me closer to God. There’s no way I would be able to handle this roller coaster of a ride without God giving me hope and showing me that all things are possible through Him. All the doctors told me that Charlie wouldn’t survive if he came that week, but that night, God showed them that He had bigger plans for my little boy. He has been faithful and it is a huge blessing to witness a miracle every single day. My hope is that Charlie’s story will encourage others and prove God’s love for all of us.
My relationship with my husband is stronger than ever and he has been my rock through all of this. We are so blessed to have a huge support system and very caring and loving families. Theodore has been handling the new changes very well, considering he’s three and doesn’t fully comprehend what’s going on. But he loves his baby brother and enjoys visiting him.
I am fortunate enough to work at the same hospital where Charlie stays so I am able to visit him on my breaks and after work, and I still have plenty of time with Theo as well. It hasn’t been easy and I’m exhausted from trying to do as much as I can, but we are all getting through this time and know it’s temporary. We are so lucky and are trying to see this experience as a huge blessing!
5. What advice would you give to a new preemie or NICU family?
I would tell them to take things day by day; try not to worry about the future, to focus on the now, and be thankful for this day you have with your little miracle. You won’t be in the NICU forever, even though it feels that way. We are still there and it seems like the light at the end of the tunnel is small, but we will get to it eventually. Just stay positive and have faith. Celebrate the small successes and don’t lose hope. I believe God has a plan for all of us and He uses the smallest people for His biggest victories!
Thank you so much to Sarah for sharing precious Charlie with us. As of today, he is now 19 weeks, and he weighs 7 lbs and 10 oz. He did try the high flow nasal cannula, but had to go back on CPAP.