Read below as his mom tells their story:
Thank you for opening up and letting us get to know Timothy! What were your first thoughts when you found out you were pregnant with Timothy? We were excited when we heard the news and felt incredibly blessed that we would soon be parents.
Tell us what you are comfortable with about the birth of Timothy? Anything in particular you remember about the delivery? Timmy was born at 31 weeks. My water broke around 4 a.m., and we went to the hospital soon after. I thought I would finish out my pregnancy on bed rest. I felt no pain at that point and had no clue I was experiencing contractions until we arrived at the hospital. By then, the contractions were occurring every two minutes, but I felt no pain.
My doctor placed me on an IV to slow my labor in the hope the baby’s lungs would have a few more days to develop. Our friends and family, a few co-workers and ministers from our church came to visit which helped me remain calm and focused. Timmy was born two days after I was admitted to the hospital. He came out red and screaming. There were no complications during or after the birth and we were grateful everything went so well.
Share what you are comfortable with about the NICU experience for your baby.
Our experience was probably the best it could be under the circumstances. There were a few nurses I really connected with who helped me navigate through Timmy’s few weeks.
How did you maintain during the rollercoaster of emotions that the NICU causes?
At first, I didn’t feel much like a mother. My baby was at the hospital while I was at home. I never felt like I had enough time with my son. He could only be out of the incubator for a short time, and he was hooked up to sensors and a feeding tube. I just hated that I couldn’t get that new mom feeling I had heard so much about.
I cried a lot, but I also prayed a lot and tried to focus on what I could do for my son, like providing milk. After a few days at home, I developed a pumping schedule. I’d sit in my rocker and pretend I was feeding my child. My husband would take the milk to the NICU each morning before heading to work which enabled him to see Timmy and report back to me how he was doing.
I usually visited the NICU mid-morning, so I purchased four mini children’s books and read to Timmy during my visits. I also sewed little red ribbons into his preemie clothes to distinguish his outfits in the laundry. It all helped somehow, each stitch, each story time drew me closer to my son.
When was the first time you were able to hold him? The nurses placed him in my arms immediately after they cleaned him from the delivery, but they quickly took him back, and he was sent to the NICU. I was able to hold him again a few hours later in the NICU.
Tell us about the NICU doctors and nurses. How did they help you through the NICU experience?
The doctors and nurses were excellent. They took their jobs very seriously and they absolutely loved Timmy. The nurses’ friendliness and understanding helped quell most of my concerns. The staff was also highly informative and answered all the questions my husband and I had concerning Timmy.
I know I was crazy about germs when we brought out little one home from the NICU. Were you the same how did you keep them away?
I was extremely concerned about germs and constantly washed my hands just as I had when I visited Timmy in the NICU. I also kept hand sanitizer in plain view for any visitors to our home.
How long has Timothy needed extra therapies? When did you realize he would need them?
Since he was two-years-old. We noticed around 18 months that he had some delays. He was a late walker and had no real speech. At first, we were told boys sometimes lag behind in speech, but over time it became obvious something more was going on. Our pediatrician advised us to have Timmy further evaluated. We reached out to early intervention services and within a few months he started occupational therapy.
What therapies have really helped him?
Speech, occupational, feeding, sensory and behavioral therapies. He has also received naturopathic therapies like craniosacral and chiropractic care.
How did you hear about Bee Mighty and what made you apply?
I first heard about Bee Mighty through the administrative assistant at my son’s school. She knew of other parents who had received the grant and encouraged me to apply. I was still battling with our insurance company over the cost of Timmy’s speech and occupational therapies which were either capped at a certain number or not covered at all. The grant was a tremendous help in ensuring Timmy received uninterrupted therapies.
What does a typical day with Timothy look like now?
Timmy’s has come a long way. He is homeschooled each morning and attends therapy throughout the week. He loves the outdoors, taking walks and playtime at the park. He also enjoys his memberships at a local trampoline park and area nature museum.
The biggest thing I’d like to stress is that each day, my son wakes and tries to do his best to navigate the world the best he can. I’m grateful that he’s willing to put forth the effort despite his many challenges.
I know your story will really help other families going through the same thing. Do you have any advice for parents currently going through the same experience? In addition to being a parent, you are your child’s greatest advocate and their voice. Ask questions of your child’s medical team and be open to explore what resources are available to your child after they leave the NICU. You may never need follow-up services, but it is good to know they exist.
Also, take one day at a time and appreciate each milestone. I kept a record of the day Timmy drank from a bottle, the day his feeding tube was removed and the day he was moved out of the incubator. Each milestone is a reminder you of your baby’s progress that will eventually become part of your child’s personal testimony.