A letter from a Pennsylvania Mom:
This is Jackson. He’s 18-months-old who was born right at 24 weeks. If he was born a half an hour earlier he would have been considered 23 weeks. At birth, he weighed less than 2 lbs.
Jackson actually has a twin who passed away at 23 weeks. I had a cervical problem and was on bed rest since 18 weeks, trying to prolong the pregnancy.
At this point, doctors suggested we abort one of the babies to give the second baby a better chance. We could not do that so we just hoped to get to 24 weeks or beyond on bed rest with both boys.
At 23 weeks, I went in to labor and Charlie was born. We told the doctors to do everything possible to save his life. He had a breathing tube and the pressure of the machine put a couple of holes in his lungs and he passed.
Jackson was born a couple days later, at 24 weeks. The doctors told me that 24 week babies do not do very well. Jackson was on a ventilator and oxygen. He had to have a trach and feeding tube placed because the doctors thought he would not eat. He no longer has a ventilator or oxygen. He is scheduled to have his trach removed later this year.
Jackson is is doing great! He has caught up to his peers developmentally in almost every domain. Although a little biased, I think he is a genius because he understands everything we say to him!
Jackson is a very happy baby. He is incredibly smart and has a fantastic memory. We only have to tell him the name of a toy or animal once and he learns it! He can point to his ankles and knees when we ask him which his developmental therapist said is a 3 year old skill! He is active and enjoys his new walking skills, dancing to country music, and he loves to play ball.
He bring me so much joy each day and each day we thank God for all of the progress he has made, for he truly exceeded all of the expectations. We ask his angel Charlie to watch over him and pray for him everyday. He went through a lot originally but has come so far and I expect great things from him. Jackson is our proof that miracles really do happen!
Extremely premature babies are surviving at record rates – some as young as 22 weeks. I hope my story can help others see just how precious life is.
Michele Willis – Pittsburgh, PA