1) I am thankful that I chose an obstetrician that delivers at UMass Memorial, the hospital with the region’s only level 3 NICU. This meant that neither I nor Peter had to be transferred to a different hospital before or immediately following his birth.
2) I am thankful that I was told to go to labor and delivery immediately after I found blood in my panties. This allowed doctors to observe my labor from its start and thus allowed me to get labor-staving medications and steroids to help develop Peter’s lungs as soon as poosible.
3) I am thankful that when my water broke and my son slipped out the birth canal, a NICU team was summoned in the blink of an eye to resuscitate my tiny, silent baby.
4) I am thankful that my husband was able to see our son before he was taken up to the NICU. He was able to reassure me that yes, our son was alive; that yes, he was pink; and yes, he even opened an eye to look upon his father for the first time.
5) I am thankful that Peter never had to be on a ventilator after he was resuscitated and treated with exogenous lung surfactant. I am thankful that he never had to be resuscitated after the first hour of his life.
6) I am thankful that Peter only had a small, self-resolving grade 1 IVH, despite his precipitous, breech vaginal delivery.
7) I am thankful that Peter’s PDA closed with the help of Neoprofen. Heart surgery is never fun, but especially not when you weigh less than 3 pounds.
8. I am thankful that Peter has not needed any surgeries, that he only needed one blood transfusion, and that he has not had any respiratory infections or sepsis.
9) I am thankful that Peter was a big boy for his gestational age and that he is now an enthusiastic consumer of milk.
10) I am thankful that I have a good milk supply. Peter may have missed out on the IgG antibodies he should have received in utero during the third trimester, but he’s getting plenty of my IgA antibodies now.
11) I am thankful that shortly before Peter’s discharge, the NICU’s physical and developmental therapist assured me that he looked and behaved just like a full-term baby. I feel so lucky to have a happy, healthy son after all he has been through.
12) I am thankful for the wonderful staff at UMass Memorial. They looked after both my son and me with the utmost care and compassion.
13) I am thankful for our health insurance. I have no idea how we would have dealt with a $538,193.95 NICU bill without insurance.
14) I am thankful for our beautiful home and thankful that I am able to stay home to take care of my beautiful son.
15) I am thankful for the love and support of our extended family and our neighbors.
16) I am thankful for my husband. He is the rock of our family.
17) I am thankful for the miracles of modern medicine. Without the developments made in neonatology over the past decades, my son would probably not have survived.