Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Ashley’s Story

This story was submitted by Ashley, one of our readers.

On May 16th 2010 we found out that we were pregnant, we were delighted! My fiancee Dustin was beginning a new job which required him to leave North Dakota and head to Texas for four months but I knew me and baby would be a ok, sadly it didn’t quite end up that way. Our baby was always a feisty one, at one month I ran to the er due to bleeding and they sent me home. At around five months my left side of my body went numb and I passed out at work and was again rushed to the er where I was later sent home, I called Dustin in a panic insisting he come home and sure enough the next day here he was, it was much needed!

My sixth month checkup came back perfect and we decided we would embark on the last vacation we’d probably have for a long while, I had never seen the mountains of Colorado and thought that this was a great time. The doctors all told me I would be a-ok to leave so long as I walked (to not get blood clots) and drink plenty of fluids, so October 29th we started the long drive to Colorado. As soon as we got there I began having awful chest pains, I could barely breath and naively believed it was due to the huge change of elevation. We stayed at a friends house and at 4:30 in the morning I woke up not being able to take in a breath and was sick to my stomach, we /had/ to go to the er. We drove around looking for somewhere to go but had NO IDEA where to even look. We finally arrived at Littleton Adventist Hospital where they rushed me back to get a ct scan (it took about seven doctors to convince us of this, they believed I had a blood clot in my lungs) it came back negative and I was rushed to labor and delivery. Minutes later they told me my blood pressure was in the 200’s and there was a high chance I was having my baby that night..my baby?! I didnt think that was possible, we cried for a short while..but we accepted it, we fed off each others positive energy and knew our baby would be ok.

I was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome and preeclampsia and kept him in for two days before I delivered via c-section on November 1st, Noah Dustin was 2lbs 1oz and 13 3/8ths long. He was immediately put on the ventilator and rushed off after I held him for just a short minute or two. Everything is a blur to me, I only really remember holding him because of pictures and don’t even remember our families driving down to see us. I was on copious amounts of magnesium due to the hbp (they don’t want you to have seizures) but its all slowly coming back to me as time passes.

Noah did surprisingly well in the NICU, he lost some weight but gained it back steadily. He had jaundice and a PDA which closed and he was taken off of the ventilator and put on a high flow cannula after four days. The third day we held him via kangaroo care and held him every single day until he left the nicu (it ended up being around 101 days). Noah had tons and tons of bradycardias (where your heart rate drops) and it took him forever to get off of oxygen, he actually didn’t get off until we went to lower elevation. We got extremely lucky, he is now one month old (corrected) and four months old normally and way ahead of what he should be. He had no brain bleeds, surgery or rtp. I never knew how grave preemies conditions can be until I started reading, but I just want people to know that preemies have potential to be just fine like Noah. He did go home on a diuretic because he outgrew his organs and a heart medicine due to one tachycardia attack and also two breathing  treatments to help his lungs but he took the bottle the very first time they gave it too him and did so well. The only thing that ever held him back was the oxygen and bradys, he really tested our patience! We’re so happy to have him home in North Dakota, our vacation was definately a journey!

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.


  1. amazing, aren’t these little preemies? they’re so tiny yet they’re strong enough to face all the challenges 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing your story. I had HELLP & Pre-E with my 1st preemie too. What an experience. She was born at 26 weeks and weighed 1 lb. She also did amazingly well in the NICU. I feel so blessed. He’s adorable!!

  3. Katie Butler says:

    Hi Ashley. Your sons story is almost identical to our daughter Anya’s. She was 1lb 15oz and had same issues. She is now 3 1/2 and very fiesty yet still very petite. Totally healthy. We battles asthma for a few years but she seems to be outgrowing it. Good luck and love!!

  4. I have a similar scenario. I delivered Nathaniel at 27 weeks due to severe hellp and pre-e. He weighed 1lb 14oz. I went into the ER, was transfered to the nearest hospital with a nicu. They performed and emergency c-section tat night, they thought I was a goner and were making their best efforts to save him. We both pulled through, and he is 80+ days old and close to going home. 🙂 Like yours, Nathaniel is only held back because of oxygen and bradies. He will have oxygen when he goes home, for during feeds. No brain bleeds, or other common problems so far. *knock on wood* It’s so amazing to watch them grow! 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing. Although my son was born at 32 weeks, he too was 2 pounds 1 ounce and 14 inches long. He never had any issues and still doesn’t. Those preemie sure can be resilient. Wishing the best for your son!

  6. thank you! he’s definatly our little miracle baby. now he has a mind of his own always talkin ( more like yelling hehe ) and looking around 🙂 we love him, preemies are fighters!

  7. Thank you for your story. My little girl and I are just starting our journey with the nicu. She was born at 26 weeks one pound, fourteen ounces. She has the brady’s as well, and now has had to go back to the breathing tube three times. She does well for a few days, and then all of a sudden infection shows its face, and we are back on the tube. She is now a month old. Your story gives me hope. Thank you

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