A Bright Future: Amy’s Story

The greatest thing about spending as much time as I do at CHOC Children’s is meeting new people – especially others like me who have bright futures thanks to CHOC.

Let me introduce you to Amy. She loves preschool, just celebrated her fourth birthday, and has come a long way since her time in CHOC’s Small Baby Unit.

AmyThough her party was low-key – some cake and fun at a local lake – Amy’s recent fourth birthday party held special significance.

After all, her parents wondered when she was born if she’d ever see her first birthday, much less her fourth.

“She is our little miracle,” says mom Vanessa.

Weighing just 1 pound, 9 ounces, Amy was born after just 23 weeks gestation in 2010.

By the time Vanessa, a first-time mother, learned the pain she was experiencing was actually early labor, it was too late for doctors to attempt to stop Amy from coming.

Once the tiny infant was born, doctors questioned her survival, and a terrified Vanessa and her husband, Alex, prepared for the worst.

Luckily, CHOC’s Small Baby Unit was ready for Amy. She spent 144 days in the special unit, a part of the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit dedicated to babies born extremely premature.

There, CHOC physicians and nurses offered dedicated and coordinated care, while Vanessa stood by, ready to nurse and cuddle. Alex diligently visited his daughter, stopping by every morning at 3 a.m. after his work shift ended.

“The nurses let me help with her,” Vanessa recalls. “I learned to change her tiny diaper, bathe her and feed her.”

So, when it was time to go home, Vanessa felt capable of caring for her still tiny baby. Equipped with a feeding tube, oxygen supply and heart-rate monitor, Amy still had a long way to go.

Fast forward four years, after feeding therapy and some procedures, Amy is a typical little girl, with big brown eyes and a joyful smile. She attends preschool four days a week, and is outgoing and gregarious.

“We love CHOC because we have Amy, and we don’t know how pay back this miracle,” Vanessa says.

4 thoughts on “A Bright Future: Amy’s Story”

  1. The small baby unit is amazing! Our daughter was born at 28 weeks weighing just 1 pound, 14 ounces. She spent 82 days in the NICU. She had her 3rd birthday yesterday and is a perfectly healthy little girl

  2. Thanks to CHOC Children’s hospital for having done so much for our beautiful Amy, she is our miracle as my sister says Amy taught us that she is very strong and brave to fight for her own life, i hope this story will inspire more people and do not lose hope and believe that in CHOC Children’s hospital they know what their are doing and they’ll do anything to help children’s.
    Thanks CHOC Children’s hospital.

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