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

Keagan and Aspiration

This story was thoughtfully shared by one of our readers.

“My beautiful daughter was born on 9/25/09 at 28 weeks.  Her delivery only lasted about 25 minutes, leaving both her father and I completely stunned.  Keagan did fabulously well in the beginning; she was on room air, gaining weight consistently, and responding to stimulus around her.  Although things were great in the beginning, she did go through the typical preemie situations: d-sats, spells, on and off the canula, blood transfusions, reflux, and a hernia.  After about 8 1/2 weeks, Keagan had a swallow study that determined she was silently aspirating, which was causing her “impressive” spells.  Once her feedings were thickened, she improved quickly and went home at 10 weeks old.  Since that time, she has continued to improve, however the aspiration problem is still an issue.  She is also dealing with torticollis, which as many of you know, is another preemie predicament.  Along with her pediatrician, she sees a team that includes a PT, an OT, a speech therapist, and teachers from the school district.  Keagan is now 8 1/2 months old and is right in the middle on the growth charts for her age group.  Now, if she could just master the swallowing issues and the sitting/crawling hurdle, no one would ever know that she was a preemie! (generic picture)

I am interested in other families experiences with aspiration.  We just experienced a bit of a set back with this, so any stories or thoughts that anyone would like to share would be appreciated!”

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. Gina marley says:

    My daughter was a 27 weeker. She aspirated fiercely..we were told by the doctor to stop worrying about doing laundry. Of course this upset me. She was having several blue spells after aspirating and even stooped breathing altogether one time. When this happened we took her to a gastrointerologist and opted for a surgery that would make it so she wouldn’t vomit until she grew out of her proceedure around age 7 or 8. Even then the doctor thought we were being crazy for doing this. Although we had been struggling with it and sleeping with her on my chest for three months. When they did the surgery they found her stomach was up higher in her chest, she had a hiatal hernia, and her left vocal cord was paralized from being on the ventilator for two months. All of these factors would make it impossible for her to keep food down saftely without apirating. So needless to say they were pretty apologetic when they were finished.

  2. Hi, our daughter Alayna was born at 32 weeks and had no problems in the NICU. Once we were released and brought her home we began experiencing the same, she turned blue and stopped breathing. After, several tests, including ruling out seizures, she was diagnosed with silent aspirating and reflux… we are still at the hospital, hopefully we will be released soon with her going home on a feeding tube and apnea monitor. It has been an emotional roller coaster and wished this had been caught sooner. I am just thankful that she get some comfort by sleeping on my chest. God Bless all the preemies like my Alayna that are going through this.

  3. I have a daughter that was born at 25 weeks in Nov. 2011, she basically just whiz through the nicu. She had zero ccomplications…she was very strong and completely amazed everyone on how well she did!! However three years later in July of 2014 gave birth to beautiful baby boy born at 23 weeks. His Nicu stay wasn’t so glamorous. Because of his prematurity he had many complications all of which he conquered except for the fact he aspirates while feeding. A g-tube was placed in his stomach to assist with his feedings. Its a slow process but each and everyday he gets stronger and stronger. I’m so proud of my little man he has definitely beat all the odds. This is the baby all the doctors said wouldn’t make it pass two days. But he did!!! This is the baby they would never breathe on his own. But he is!!! And I know he will jump this hurtle as well. I give thanks to the almighty GOD in the heavens Jehovah who never turned head away from us and who blessed the doctors with the knowledge they have to have saved both of my children’s life.

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