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

Shannon’s Story

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

This is the story of my 27 weeker, my miracle Caleb…

I was 26 weeks pregnant and everything had been going well until one morning I woke up and thought that I had wet my pants a little. This was my second pregnancy so I knew that this could happen if the baby was putting pressure on your bladder. I went about my normal day thinking that was all that it was. The next day the leaking continued so I called my doctor and she advised me to go to the ER. As soon as they told me to go to the ER I was in tears. I was scared to death! On the way there I was thinking the worst. I got to the hospital and was just praying that it wasn’t my water. It was way to early in my pregnancy for this to happen, or so I thought. I was examined by the doctor and he then confirmed that it was indeed amniotic fluid that was leaking. I burst into tears when they told me. I then had to be transported to another hospital with a stage 3 NICU. After arriving to the hospital on 11/8/10 that I would be staying they told me that I was going to be on complete bed rest. Everything we going as well as could be expected. I was in a lot pain in my lower back and hips from being in the bed but my baby’s heart rate was good and that’s all that mattered.

I went in for a sonogram that Wed and everything looked good except I had no amniotic fluid left. I tried to find out the sex of our baby (we were gonna keep it a surprise) but the baby was breech and so far down that they couldn’t see the sex. I was taken back to my room and had no idea how long I was going to be in the hospital. It was really just a waiting game at that point. The next morning I started having very mild contractions. As the day progressed so did my contractions. At about 7pm the nurse came in to do her normal thing like take my temp and blood pressure and I had started to develop a fever. At that point I knew that they were going to take my baby. They then prepped me for an emergency c section. I got into the OR around 9pm and by then I was having full blown contractions. Once in there they gave me a spinal and it wouldn’t take. I was then told that I was going to have to be put to sleep. That was it…that was all that I remember until I woke up in the recovery room in the worst pain that I have EVER felt. I was then told that I had a beautiful baby boy. Caleb Liam was born on 11/11/10 at 10:13pm only weighing 2lbs and was 13in long.

I was informed that there were complications. He was stuck in my pelvic area and they had to cut into my cervix to get him out. Most of the complications were with me. My lil miracle was doing great. He did have to be put on the ventilator but he was doing well. The next morning I was finally able to go see my lil boy. He was so tiny. It broke my heart to see him hooked up to all those machines. I felt helpless! Then Sat morning 11/13/10 the doctors came in and informed me that Caleb’s intestines had perforated and needed to be rushed into the OR for emergency surgery. I didn’t know what to expect and I prayed! After the operation the surgeon came in and told me that he was a trooper and did great. They cut out the small part of his bowel that perforated and gave him an ostomy. He had that for a while and was doing so well besides testing positive for RSV on Christmas Eve.  He never showed signs of the RSV which was a blessing.

Then on Monday morning 1/10/11 I got a phone call from his nurse. She started out with saying “let me tell you whats going on” when she said that I knew that it wasn’t good and my heart dropped. She then proceeded to tell me that his intestines (where the ostomy was) had started to work their way out and the doctors tried to push them back in but was unsuccessful. I rushed down to the hospital (which is a 45 min drive) and by the time I got there his father and the transport team were there preparing to take him to University of Maryland for yet another emergency surgery. We then rushed to the other hospital to meet the transport team. When we got there they would not let us see Caleb right away. After what felt like forever we were finally able to go back and see him. A lil while later the surgeon came in and pushed the 5 inches of intestines that had come out of his tiny body. After doing all of this Caleb had pretty much went into shock and stopped breathing. They tried vigorous stimulation and that didn’t work so they had to intibate him. They allowed us to stay in the room and after a few minutes of working on him they asked us to leave. I was so scared and was unsure why we were allowed to stay and then asked to leave. After a lil while we were allowed to go back in to be with him. I asked what went wrong that we were asked to leave. The doctor told us that he was fighting them and intibating him was not as easy as what they though it was going to be. So after all this there I was staring at my lil boy once again feeling helpless.

The next day Caleb was taken into the operating room again. After it was all done the surgeon filled us in on what he did. He removed the part of the bowel that had exposed itself and put his intestines back together. He was finally extibated a few days after surgery. He went from the ventilator straight to the nasal canula. Just 4 days after his operation Caleb drank his very first bottle. He was a natural and didn’t have an ounce of trouble with it. The next week Caleb was transported back to Sinai (his birth hospital). The nurses and doctors were so happy to have him back and we were happy to be back. The next month and a half the only problem that we had were his apnic events and his reflux. We were finally able to make it through that and Caleb came home on 3/9/11. Being a NICU mom was by far the hardest thing that I have ever had to go through. There were many many ups and downs but we made it! Caleb is now a healthy 9lbs 10oz. We love having him home! He is now starting to smile. He will be 5 months old (2 months adjusted) and is on track with everything. Thank you for letting me share my story. I hope that this story helps other NICU moms in knowing that there is hope. These little people are the strongest people that you will ever see.

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. Patricia Laird says:

    Thank u so much for sharing your story. I have a grandaughter that was borned at 31 weeks she was 3 lbs. and 15 inches long..She stayed in the Nicu for 28 days and is now 6 and 1/2 months old 13 lbs. and a picture of health she is our little miracle:)

  2. Ruth Messenger says:

    Hi love, my son was a 25 weeker (we lost his fraternal twin due to a lot of complications in the pregnancy…) and this really hit home. Being a NICU mum is tough, something that is impossible to explain to anyone but a preemie mum… Love the photo of you with bub, and the one with the three of you 🙂 Best wishes sweetheart xx

  3. Thank you Ladies! This website really helped me when I was going through this rough time. It gave me hope to see that there are so many little miracles that have beat the odds. You are right Ruth… no one really understands what it is like to be a NICU Mom unless you have gone through it. The week before my son came home there was another 27 weeker that was only about 2-3 weeks old in the NICU. While I was there he gave up in his fight and God carried him home. It was a very sad moment. I was holding my lil boy and just looked at him and I cried. I thought to myself “I am so blessed to have such a fighter” At the same time I was crying for the family of that lil boy. My heart really went out to them. I will never forget that day.

  4. I am happy to say that since I have written this story (which has only been about a week) Caleb has grown so much. In just that short amount of time he is now at 11lbs 3oz. Thank you so much for letting me share the story of my beautiful baby boy 🙂 and I enjoy reading the stories of others.

  5. Absolutely amazing! I love hearing about these little fighters!!!

  6. WOW! It just shocks me how fast they grow! My nephew was born last July at 26 weeks, weighing 1 lb. 13 oz. and 13 in. long! I saw him when he was 2 days old and didn’t see him again for about 3 weeks when his mom posted pics on FB. I was SHOCKED and couldn’t believe it was the same baby! He’d grown so much and so fast it was just unbelievable! He’s doing great now and chunkier than ever…I love it! I’m so happy to hear your lil’ man is doing so well!

    • Thank u Lisa… he truly is a miracle. I’m glad to hear your nephew is doing well. It’s amazing how strong these little guys are!

  7. shannon hi i have a cousin in law that had her baby very early as well and he weighed only 1 pound and a few ounces, today he is beautiful bouncy baby boy i prey every day that he stays healthy and safe his parents are warm loving parents. i love them all very.

  8. I am so happy and greatful to hear all these stories!! I had my son 2 months ago and he was born at 35 weeks and 3 days. 3 hours after I had him, we were life flighted to a NICU 4 hours away. My son (Haydn) was breathing so hard and was diagnosed with Respitory Distress Syndrome. 2 hrs after we arrived @ the nicu my son was taken off of his oxygen and never went back on it!! Although he had a feeding tube to help him eat. He was only in the NICU for 8 days but in those 8 days, we saw so many little miracle babies fighting for their lives. I have nothing but respect for all you mommys n daddys that have went through the NICU experience! Congrats on your healthy baby! So glad to hear your son is doing so well!

  9. Our baby girl was born at 25 weeks and was also stuck at birth when they tried to take her out. She also had problems with her bowls and had four operations within the first week. Now she is two but still a tiny little girl.

  10. Hi Shannon Thanks for sharing your story. Our grandson was born at 27 weeks he weighted 1 lb 10oz 13 in long. We spent 71 days in the Nicu. He is now a healthy but still a little small. Now weighting 17 lb he will be 1 year next month. The first 3 months of his life went very slow but the last 6 months flow. All these baby’s are truly amazing.

  11. Dominique Ceccon says:

    Thank you for your story. Your son is definitely a fighter and a miracle. My son is in the NICU right now, and just hearing another mom say “events” & “reflux” gives me comfort. Thank you again!

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