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maiya_alsoI was ecstatic when I found out we were pregnant with our first child! I immediately started making plans, daydreaming of the time soon we would hold our little one, and began preparations. But at 23 weeks, I was nowhere near prepared to have a baby. I woke up one morning in preterm labor with no warnings whatsoever and 12 hours later Maiya was born at 23 weeks and 2 days. She weighed 1 lb. 9 oz. and was 12 inches long.

Before this experience I didn’t even know it was possible to have a baby born at that age, let alone have them live. I had no real idea what a NICU even was. I was terrified and had no idea what was happening all around me as doctors rushed around me to do an emergency C-Section. When Maiya was born, there were no cries….just sounds of doctors getting right to work.

maiyaMaiya is our little miracle. She has overcome every odd placed on her little life from the moment she was born. When I was still in the hospital myself, my best friend put a bible verse across my wall that became Maiya’s life verse. Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” We prayed and claimed that verse hundreds of times for Maiya during her 116 day stay in the NICU. God used the Sunflower Neonatology doctors and nurses at OPRMC in so many ways that I will NEVER forget.

As soon as she was delivered, a team of doctors and nurses from the NICU was there ready and waiting. They did not give up on Maiya that day and continued to fight for her every day in the weeks to come – the hardest weeks of my life. Almost daily we had to face difficult news and scary situations with her. She spent 7 weeks on a ventilator, 4 of which were on an oscillator. She then spent another 4 weeks on C-PAP before moving to a nasal cannula. When she came home, she continued to be on oxygen for another 4 months. During all of that time she was also on a plethora of medications, tubes, blood transfusions and so many other things that as a young parent left me feeling vulnerable and useless.

Through all of this nightmare, we developed relationships with the nurses and doctors. They became like our family really. We totally trusted the doctors. When a decision needed to be made or a change in Maiya’s treatment was necessary or a hard conversation needed to take place about the reality of what was happening, the neonatologists were always right there. They would talk us through each and every detail; making us fully a part of everything that happened.  They never rushed us and they always had Maiya’s best interest and health as their first priority. We knew that Maiya was in the best possible place.

When we finally brought Maiya home, almost 4 months after she was born, we were so excited but also so terrified! We had 24 hour professional supervision for our daughter all of this time and now we were going to be alone, just like that.  But we truly were not alone. We knew we could call the NICU at any time with any questions (and we did, several times!) We also had follow up appointments with the neonatologists each month that she was home to monitor her progress and assess her oxygen needs. This was such a blessing!

I would never wish to go through this experience again. But I am grateful for our little miracle and know that we have a very special bond with her because of how hard we had to fight for her life. When it came time to deliver our second daughter only 15 months later at 33 weeks, we didn’t even have to think about where we wanted to go or what doctors would be involved. Though we were only in the NICU with Rylee, our second little girl, for 16 days, it was so comforting to be back among the familiar faces that had become so much more than doctors and nurses, but our friends.

There will never be enough “Thank you’s” to express our gratitude to the team at Overland Park Medical Regional Center. Daily I can look at Maiya and Rylee and know they are miracles from God and I will always remember the work that this team did to bring them home to us as healthy, thriving little girls.

Sunflower Neonatology Associates, LLC

11600 College Blvd., Suite 201  •  Overland Park, Kansas 66210
913-310-0225  •  Fax 913-310-0565