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My DJ was born on Thursday, December 15, 2016. I remember like it was just yesterday. It’s an experience I’ll never forget. My water broke at about 6:00 on Wednesday morning. I was rushed to our local hospital, then transported to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina. I was only 26 weeks, so I had reason to be alarmed. I was bedridden and given Procardia to prevent the pre-term labor, but none of it worked.
At 7:00 am on Thursday morning, the labor pains commenced. I could hardly stand it as I frantically paged the nurse. The doctor was called. She checked my cervix. It was time! The delivery was quick yet traumatic. Due to my heart condition, an emergency c-section was scheduled but my baby boy couldn’t wait.
With oxygen on my face and a needle in my spine, I began to push while sitting upright on the edge of the delivery table. The doctor could see his tiny head crowning and immediately laid me back, asking me to give her one more big push. As I was pushing I went completely numb from the spinal anesthesia, but I did it! DJ was born at 10:26 am. They held him up for me to see as I cried tears of joy and worry.
He wasn’t crying at all, but his little eyes were wide open as he looked right at me. He was so small and frail, but the most beautiful angel I’ve ever seen. My first child at the age of 40 had arrived and I felt so blessed. After cleaning him up, they allowed me one kiss before placing his tiny body into an incubator and moving him to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). My parents caught a glimpse of him in the hallway and smiled with glee to meet their newest grandchild. Meanwhile, I was sent to recovery and wouldn’t see my bundle of joy again for several hours.
After signing in at the front desk of the NICU, washing our hands (of course), my then husband wheeled me to Pod B where our beloved was waiting. There he was all swaddled up with his sweet little face covered by the ventilator helping him breathe. He weighed only 790 grams (1 lb, 12 oz) and measured 13 inches long, but he was strong! As I watched our son fighting for his life, I cried and cried. Why did this happen?
I assumed it was my gestational diabetes or the stress I was under due to a trying and later failed marriage. However, I read that while there are known risk factors for being born early, such as infection, placental problems or genetic problems, in many cases the cause is unknown. An estimated 15 million babies are born preterm every year. That is more than 1 in 10 babies. Wow!
I couldn’t imagine the arduous journey ahead for us. All the tests, diagnoses, procedures, bradycardias and near fatal incidences that caused such an emotional roller coaster. Without God, DJ wouldn’t have made it, and I wouldn’t have made it through my postpartum period. DJ spent four months and one week at James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital. I never left his side – not one single day. I thank God for the tremendous support of so many in our corner, including the awesome hospital staff and The Ronald McDonald House of Eastern North Carolina.
After leaving the hospital, I became a stay-at-home mom taking care of DJ full-time because he was considered disabled and unable to enroll into daycare. I’m so blessed to be here for every waking moment, watching my son continue to thrive despite his near fatal illnesses and hospitalizations.
I even made the time to self-publish my first children’s book entitled, The Mighty 1, dedicated to my baby. It’s a poetic tale about a brave soul who is tiny but mighty.
DJ is now two years strong, weighing 29 lbs and 33 inches long. My little soldier is so amazing and I’m beyond stoked to be his mommy.
Ebony Moore is the author/illustrator of her first children’s book, The Mighty 1. It’s dedicated to her son, DJ, who was born prematurely at just 26 weeks. Ebony’s mission for creating The Mighty 1 is to uplift NICU families and inspire miracle babies everywhere. Her artwork is uniquely hand drawn with bright colorful ink. Follow her on Instagram or learn more on Ebony’s Amazon Author page.
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