Monday, January 30, 2012

Meet Cameron

This story was shared by Cameron's mom, Erin:

For 4 years we had been told that I can't get pregnant. I suffer from Endromitriosis and severe ovarian cysts on my one remaining ovary. In November of 2010, I ended up really sick and in a lot of pain. On December 3rd, I went in to get the pain checked. It showed I had 2 larger than golfball size cysts on my right side. My doctor put me on birth control for a month. On December 31st (day before New Years) I went back in and I said, "Doc I sure hope you can take me off these pills. They're messing me up and making me cry for no reason." The ultrasound showed that the cysts shrunk. My doctor looks at me and says "Uhhh... Your pregnant. I'm amazed, it's a miracle". He flipped the monitor around showing me the tiny baby 8 1/2 weeks along. I cried so hard!

The pregnancy was going good except for the horrible morning sickness. At 22 weeks we had an ultrasound where we found out we were having a BOY! We also found out he had a 2 vessel cord which required an ultrasound every 4 weeks after that. I was put on bed rest at 28 weeks because I was on the verge of pre-eclampsia. At 32 weeks we had an ultrasound. The doctor would scan and stop, scan and stop. I knew something was wrong but I couldn't say it. She finally says, "there is something wrong with his heart, and I hear an abnormality in his cord. I'm going to admit you right now and I think it is best to take him." My husband and I were speechless and in tears.

After being admitted I received 2 days of steroids before they started the induction. I received 5 cervix softeners, a foley water balloon to dilate me to 4 1/2 cm (ouch) and then started pitocin. They wouldn't break my water because he kept bobbing. At 7 1/2 cm my dr accidentally broke it. On June 21st 2011 at 6:19 am, 64 hours in labor, my little Cameron Lucas made it into the world weighing 4 lbs 4 oz. He came out blue and only let out a small cry. They let me look at him then took him to NICU immediately.

This is where our NICU day started... They put him on oxygen right away but he was still grunting and his ribs were retracting with nasal flaring. At 6 hours old they intubated him where he received cerfactin. He was only intubated for 24 hours and stayed on oxygen a week an a half. There turned out being nothing wrong with his heart. His umbilical cord started to thicken, causing "umbilical artery notching" (very rare). It was so thick they couldnt get a catheter thru his belly button and it caused his heart to malfunction. After everything he was a feeder and a grower but wouldn't take much by mouth. He spent 3 weeks in the NICU, coming home at 5 lbs 9 oz.  Today he is 6 months old and weighs around 16.5 lbs. He is truly our little miracle.

Just born

A few hours after birth

My first time holding him

Going home!  3 weeks old

Now--6 months old

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Resources Available to the Families of Premature Infants

The NICU journey can be very difficult. Depending on the amount of time your little one is required to stay in the hospital, it can take a devastating hit to one's emotional and financial well being. Below is a list of resources that may be helpful:

March of Dimes-


Supplemental Security Income-


Ronald McDonald House-

If you need additional assistance with any of the above programs or local programs in your area, please email:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Need Baby(Girl) Clothes?

Preemie and Newborn Baby Girl Clothes Available. Have been gently worn. Please send a message to:  if you are interested in them.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Meet Abbygael

Hi my name is Danielle and I am twenty years old. When I was 18, I found out I was pregnant and was very excited and nervous. I had a lot of stomach cramping early in the pregnancy and when I was 14 weeks I had an ultrasound and they noticed that I had a bleed. I was sent to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Pennsylvania at 17 weeks to get a 3D ultrasound to look closer at my bleed. The determined that is was just a small placental tear and that it had healed and everything looked fine. We also found out that we were having a baby girl that day. We joke because we asked the doctor how sure he was, because of only being 17 weeks, and he said "100% because her legs are wide open" we then continued to follow the doctor. 

I battled  kidney stones 3 times while I was pregnant because I have a kidney disease called Medulary Sponge Kidney. When I was 23 weeks I started having severe stomach pains and went to the hospital, when they thought I was in preterm labor they transfered me to Abington Memorial Hospital in Abington, PA because it had a Level III NICU. When I got there they said I was 70% effaced and did a Fetal Fibronactin Test. This is a test that determines if you are likely to go into labor within 2 weeks or not. Mine came back positive. They kept me for 24 hours to give me steroid shots for the babys lung and then despite all that I was discharged and told I could return to work and normal activity. 

3 weeks later I fell asleep watching TV and woke up and my underwear were all wet. We rushed to the hospital and were told that my water broke and that I would be admitted til I gave birth. They started me on the steroid shots again and within 24 hours I as in full blown labor and had to be rushed for an emergency C-Section because the baby was breech. I delivered a baby girl at 4:46PM on July 26, 2010. She was only 2lbs 2oz. She was in the NICU for 60 days and Is now 17 months and weighs 26 pounds.

Two hours old

First kangaroo care

1 month, with my ring around her fingers

Going home!

First birthday

Care Packages Available!

The Gift of Faith Project is now accepting request for Care Packages. Please send an email to: 

 Email must include: Name, Address, Babies Age & Size. 

 *Limited packages available*

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Meet Riley

Riley’s Story, written by his mother Alexandria: 

The day I found out I was pregnant was such a joyous time in my life. After losing two babies to preterm labor  and having an incompetent cervix, I knew that this pregnancy would have some bumps in the road. I had a very easy first trimester so far up until I was 11 weeks. I started have contractions and my cervix began shortening. When I was 13 weeks they decided that it was best put in a cerclage due to the incompetent cervix. The night before the procedure I began having really intense contractions and was unable to sleep. The next day the doctor put a monitor on me to check my contractions, the monitor picked up a few and the doctors decided to wait on putting the cerclage in. They started me on progesterone and said they would reschedule the procedure in a few weeks, by then they were hoping that I would not need the procedure and that my cervix would be longer. They told me that I would need to be on moderate bedrest but it would be okay for me to work one or two days a week, just not any heavy lifting. The scheduled me to come in twice a week to check my cervix. 

After a few weeks of everything staying the same, I returned to work after getting news that my cervix was 3.5. The next day I was working as a cashier when I felt pain in my lower abdomen. I went to the restroom and found out I was spotting. It was 6pm and my doctor’s office was closed, but I had an appointment for the following day so I decided to go home and rest. The next day I went to the doctors and they checked my cervix and it was 1.3 and they decided to do an emergency cerclage because they were not sure how much longer my cervix would be able to hold up without me going into preterm labor. The procedure went really smoothly and I went home after 2 days in the hospital. They told me that I would need to me on bedrest for a few weeks but after that I should be able to return to work but take it easy went.

 After two weeks of bedrest, I returned to the doctor to check my cerclage. After doing the vaginal u/s the tech said she wanted to check the fluid around the baby to make sure I was not leaking any fluid and I told her I would not have noticed because of the suppositories I was taking. Well, she checked my fluid and noticed that there was fluid in the baby's abdomen. She went and got the doctor and when they came back they told me what was going on. There is a lot of fluid in the baby's abdomen which had them really worried. They thought I had Parvovirus B19. There was just so much information to take in. The doctor said he had seen two cases this year; one the woman waited on treatment and lost the baby and  the other woman had the treatment and it looks like she and the baby will be fine. So the scheduled me an appointment for a more intensive ultrasound the following day.

The next day they did the ultrasound and ruled out Parvovirus B19 but determined that my son had PUV (Posterior Urethral  Valves). PUV is a congenital birth defect that happens only in boys. It is when there are excess flaps of tissue in the urethra (tube from the bladder to the outside of the body) are blocked not allowing the urine to flow and affects all parts of the urinary tract, as well as leaving very little to no amniotic fluid for lung development. It can also cause renal and lung failure. It occurs in 1 out 4,000 live births but that 8,000 are diagnosed with it. It is thought to develop in the early stages of fetal development. 

The doctor said my son had a blockage in his urethra which has caused a rupture and there was urine in his abdomen. He said his kidneys and bladder are enlarged at the moment and are causing stress on my son. The doctor said there is a 10% chance that when he is born that he will not  live for long and there is a 10% chance that when he is born that he will have either lung failure or kidney failure or both. He said once he is born he will have to have surgery to fix the rupture as well as remove the blockage. He will have to have numerous surgeries to fix everything as well as he might have to be on dialysis.  When he told me that only half of the babies that are diagnosed with this live, my heart dropped. I was at a loss of words, here I was sitting by myself, taking in this information and I just felt like I had lost my world. The doctor then told me that I could terminate. He informed that California law allows up to 21 weeks to terminate a pregnancy. I was 20 weeks and 5 days. I went home and cried, I called my mom and cried, I couldn’t stop crying.

After posting on Babycenter, looking for help, I had found some support. A friend reached out to me and told me that her friend’s baby was diagnosed with the same condition and we were actually due on the same day. I got in contact with her and she truly helped my decision. She told me questions to ask the doctor and procedures that could be done in utero. The next day I went back to the doctor and told them I would be keeping the baby and to do whatever needed to be done to save my sons life. That day I had bladder taps done to see if his kidneys were working and what would be the next step. I had also decided to move home with my mom and a a specialist that had dealt with the condition before. I had two bladder taps before I moved and they determined that his kidneys were working. I was super excited. I moved that weekend and saw the specialist that Monday. When I got there he told me he had received my file was glad that I had the bladder taps done and that his kidneys were working. The doctor scheduled for me to come in every two weeks to check my fluid level and to check on the baby.

At my scheduled appointment they were checking my fluid and noticed that I had no fluid, they immediately sent me to the hospital and scheduled a shunt procedure as well as amniotic infusions, I was 24 weeks. The procedure went well and my amniotic fluid went up to 10. I was super excited and was able to go home one week later,  but I was to be on strict bedrest. Could only get out of bed to use the bathroom and shower. Two weeks later I returned for me scheduled appointment and they noticed that they shunt had slipped in and that it was no longer draining the bladder. The scheduled me for another shunt and amniotic infusion procedure. This time they kept me in the hospital for a week to make sure everything looked ok, I was 28 weeks. I went home and once again was on strict bedrest. I called my doctor and informed him that my mom went out of town for work, he told me it would be okay for me to get up and fix my meals but that was it, a maximum of 1 hour a day out of bed. My mom got back from her work trip one week later. I was excited that she was home because I would have some help around the house.  I was excited that I had made it to 29 weeks.

That following morning at 5 am my water broke. I was scared. I got out of bed and went downstairs to my moms’ room, thankfully she was awake. I told her my water broke and we went to the hospital. At 5:30 we got to the hospital and they determined that, in fact, my water had broken, they checked my amniotic fluid level and I had none so they decided to keep me in the hospital until I delivered. I started having contractions so they gave me magnesium sulfate to try and stop them. The contractions subsided and they started me on antibiotics to ensure that I didn’t get an infection. They told me that since my water had broken that the next time I had contractions they would just let them happen, they wanted to keep the baby in for as long as possible but they also wanted to make sure that he didn’t develop an infection. Every night I would touch my belly and say “Stay cooking Riley, momma needs you to stay in there.” And he listened for a while.

On the morning on July 21, 2011, I woke up at 4am to contractions but kept telling myself they were just Braxton hicks and that everything would be okay. I called the nurse and said I needed to pee and also to get the doctor. After peeing the contractions got more intense, I asked the nurse for some something to take. The doctor came in about 4:45am and said she would check me. While she was talking to me and waiting on the nurses to bring in the things she needed to check me I started crying. She asked me if the contractions were closer together, I explained that I was in pain and that I thought they were Braxton hicks. She checked me and told me that I was 5cm dilated. I grabbed my phone and called my mom and told her she needed to get the hospital because the baby was coming. By 5:00 am my mom had arrived and I was 10cm dilated. Riley was born at 5:35am. I didn’t hear a cry when he came out and my heart sank. The doctors started working on him right away. They had him hooked up to all these machines so quickly that I thought I wouldn’t get a chance to hold him, but I did. They let me hold him for a few moments. Then they quickly took him to the NICU. He looked like a butterball turkey. He weighed 4lbs 7oz and was 16 inches long. When I saw him again a few hours later they told me that it was all retained fluid and in a few days he will be even smaller and not to be sad when I see the changes. He spent the first few weeks on the ventilator. He had three surgeries to correct his condition while in the NICU. He spent 75 days in the NICU. He will be six months on the 21st and is just the happiest & cutest baby I could have ever imagined. He is definitely my miracle boy and continues to amaze me every day.

Sippy Cups Available!

The Gift of Faith sippy cups are now available.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Meet William

When I was 22 weeks pregnant with my twin boys my water broke around my first son William.  It was late at night so I went to the local hospital and in the morning I was transferred to a hospital with an advanced NICU.  There I was told for my boys to have a chance I would have to make it to 23 weeks.  To have a good chance I would need to get closer to 25 weeks.  If I made it to 22 weeks and 5 days they would give me steroid shots.  I was also cautioned that Williams's lungs might not develop because of a lack of amniotic fluid.  At this point all I could do was wait.  At about 12:30 am Saturday (22/5) I called the nurse because something did not feel right.  I was ready to deliver.  At 2:00 am William was born weighing 535g (1lb 3oz).  The doctors then turned their attention to stopping my labor.  I was started on magnesium and inverted.  I was given the first steroid shot and and we waited.  John was breech and his feet were dangling just below my cervix and as he kicked he kept slipping further into the birth canal.  Sunday evening we decided that John needed to be delivered.  At 5:00 pm 39 hours after his brother John was born also weighing 535g.  John passed away 5 days later due to complications from pneumonia and William spent 6 months in the hospital before coming home. 

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Seeking volunteers for the management of The Gift of Faith Blog and other efforts. If you would like to volunteer please email:

Saturday, January 14, 2012


While fiddling around with some settings, all of the comments that had been posted stopped working.  It was not intentional, and we're sorry!  We had read and loved them all, so feel free to post them again if you would like.

Meet Alexya

This story was shared by Alexya's mother, Kristina.  Little Alexya was born at 23 weeks 0 days, on December 10.  She is fighting in the NICU.  Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers!

I did IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) to get pregnant. We had 6 embryos and she was the only one who made it. Starting at 7 weeks I started bleeding. I spotted until 15 weeks when I had a huge bleed and was passing clots the size of a liver. I even had a blood transfusion (the doctor told me then there is no way you should still be pregnant they never saw that much bleeding and the baby be okay, she never showed a sign of distress).

At 22 weeks I started bleeding again after not bleeding for like two weeks, so I went in to get checked out and, lo and behold, I was dilated 1cm, my cervix was shortening, and my fluids were extremely low. Still she had no effects on her, they thought she would be underdeveloped and small. I chose to intervene as strongly as possible by starting steroids at 23 weeks 0 days (they usually do it at 24).

I know this sounds crazy, but up until the day before I had her I didn't think I'd deliver early. The Friday before I had her all I kept saying to everyone what if it's better for her to be out than to be in me, what if something worse happens because I keep her in to long I'd rather her be out where we could do something for her, but everyone kinda hushed me and told me no its best for her to stay in as long as possible (duh, because who wants to have a premature baby ... no one but obviously my body wasn't doing a good job of caring for her). Well I guess my daughter felt the same way I did because the next morning at 23 weeks 0 days, when I was supposed to start the steroids, I went into labor.

It started at 6:00am and in about 2 1/2, almost 3, hours I was completely dilated and had no cervix, they tried to stop my labor but nothing worked. The previous day I met with the baby doctors and they told me if she is born any time soon she will not survive, there is just no way let's keep her in there at least til 25 or 26 weeks… the docs told me they wanted me to deliver her naturally and comfort care her while she passed if my body didn't kill her during the delivery. But I told them no I want to give her a chance so I opted for a classical c-section (T shape cute on my uterus) that way she would definitely be born alive. They didn't give her but an hour.

Yet here she is 1 months old and doing well. You have no idea how many times I heard from nurses and doctors, "Kristina you just don’t understand 23 & 24 week old babies just don’t survive, they just don’t." She has all the doctors stumped. Then I would hear things like, "I can't believe how developed she is and how proportionate she is," she was born 1lb 6oz.. all her body parts were enact. I thank God for her everyday, he has had his hand over her since the beginning.

Please keep her in your prayers.

The day she was born

The first time I held her, 8 days old

The second time I held her, 1 month old

One of my favorite pictures

Alexya now, 1 month old, 2 lb 4 oz

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sharing Hope

The Gift of Faith Project is all about giving support and sharing hope.  Many parents that have babies in the NICU don't know anyone that has been through a similar situation.  They don't have anyone that's been there before to give them a hug, stand beside them, and help them understand the ins and outs of the NICU, and life after they get home.  They don't know where to look for hope.

We want to help these families find hope.  Hope that their baby can survive, grow, and thrive.

If you would like to share the story of your preemie's birth, NICU stay, and where they are now, please send it to us at  Feel free to include pictures!  The stories will be published and then archived on the blog to offer hope.

This is Catherine's Story:

We were ecstatic when we found out we were expecting our third baby.  After a first trimester filled with morning sickness and fatigue, I started feeling better around 12 weeks.  We decided to take our kids out to a fun center the next Saturday to celebrate.  After we stood in line at the ticket counter, I started feeling like something was wrong.  I went to restroom, and then went and told my husband we needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible.  I was almost sure I was miscarrying the baby.  We packed the kids back into the car, and covered a normally 30-minute drive in about 10 minutes.

When we arrived at the hospital, they said the baby looked just fine on the ultrasound, which was honestly a shock to me.  After several more scary days, I was diagnosed with a subchorionic hemorrhage--essentially a bleed between the wall of the uterus and the amniotic sac.  I was told it would probably resolve without causing complications, but I should stay on bedrest at home until it did. 

It didn't.

At 26 weeks, I was also diagnosed with partial placental abruption.  They gave me betamethasone shots to help the baby's lungs, and nifedipine to stop the contractions.

I started having regular contractions the night before my son's second birthday.  When I got to the hospital, I was about 1 cm dilated.  They gave more nifedipine and ran IV fluids to try to stop the labor.  In the early morning when they checked again, I was 2.5 cm dilated.  They started magnesium sulfate to try to stop the contractions.  It still didn't stop.

Catherine was born at 8:02 p.m. that night.  (And she gets to share her brother's birthday.) I was 30 weeks pregnant, and had been on bedrest at home for more than 3 1/2 months.  She weighed 3 lb 7 oz, 16 inches long.  She came out crying, and had Apgar scores of 8 and 9!  They put her on the ventilator as a precaution since she was so early, but she was able to come off of it in less than 24 hours and didn't require any other respiratory assistance.  She stayed in the NICU a total of 38 days.  Most of that time was spent learning how to eat.  She was 5 lb 11 oz when she came home.  Now, she is four months old and weighs more than 12 pounds.  She is our miracle.

Right after birth

The first time I got to see her

Three days old

Four weeks old

Going home!  5 weeks, 3 days old

Four months old

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Gift of Faith Project onesies now available!  Contact us at to order!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

T-shirts are now available!  Proceeds will go toward start-up costs.  To purchase, write to