We at The Gift of Life couldn’t be prouder to announce that our very own Miracle Kaleb turns 7 today – Happy Birthday Kaleb. For those who don’t know, Kaleb was born weighing only 1 lb., 10 oz. The medical experts said he wouldn’t survive but look at him now.
Kaleb’s life is a miracle.
What is a Miracle?
Miracles are positive occurrences that reach beyond human understanding to testify of the greatness, power, and existence of life and love. Miracles defy odds and breakdown impenetrable walls of hindrance and limitation. They often render widely-accepted principles of logic and scientific prime candidates for reconsideration.
Consider, for example, the expert opinion that some of the doctors gave about Kaleb’s fate. They thought his life would end in the NICU. Today, however, Kaleb is a vibrant boy with shining personality. And today is his 7th birthday.
For those who receive dire diagnoses, the existence of miracles offers a reason to hope and an opportunity to deny the cravings of darkness chasing after them. The story of Kaleb Moore and his family is one about a real-life miracle. This nonfiction miracle story continues to inspire people to press on regardless of any harsh circumstances they may be facing.
It’s especially inspiring to the parents and families of other preemies. The Gift of Life exists in part to ensure this miracle is known by as many people at it can reach.
Facing Big Challenges and Finding Grand Triumph
For Kaleb, Rosie, and Marcus Moore, the NICU stay was far from easy. Kaleb had to be hooked up to all sorts of machines. The wires and tubes strung from his body. Finally getting released from the NICU was a big victory but the challenges didn’t end there. Kaleb and his family still had a big fight on their hands – a fight for life, peace, and sanity.
There were countless doctors’ visits that had to be made, as well as a dramatic shift in household management; Kaleb’s delicate health meant that the home had to be kept at an extraordinary germ-free. The uncommon and demanding rules for clean that the family had to adhere to for keeping Kaleb’s home environment how he needed it to be kept friends and other visitors at bay – some to never return.
Having a preemie effectively isolated the Moores. The only people who showed up were the ones who had a genuine heart of love for this family. Experiencing firsthand the stress and loneliness that parents of preemies, Rosie Moore founded The Gift of LIfe. The organization reaches out to families of preemies in the NICU and combats the lack of support they would otherwise suffer through.
Although the start of Kaleb’s life was rough, he and his family reaped victory for all their hard work and faith. The odds were against them. They not only made it through the impossible but turned around to give a helping hand to the families who would be forced upon the same path.
Miracle Kaleb: A Walking, Talking, Sweetheart of an Inspiration
We know that life’s not always easy, but we want you to know that you’re loved. You inspire us to be more than we guessed we were. Your life is a gift, not only to yourself and your family but to all people. Thank you for never giving up. And thank you for being a living example that miracles do exist.
Many parents to be and others that are not parents ask themselves, ”how does having a baby change your life?” Having a baby is a life changing experience that compares to no other. As parents you trade late night outings for late night feedings, trips to the spa, convert into trips to the par. Your once tiny designer bag becomes a large diaper bag and your little two-seater sports car becomes an SUV or minivan.
As parents you learn to adapt to maybe earlier bed times, family centered activities and socializing with parents having babies. But what happens when you have a baby that is a preemie?
When you have a baby that is a preemie, your life will be a completely different lifestyle. You will have wake ups every three hours to feed a baby that is tube fed, vs bottle or breast-fed, you can easily lose that bond with the baby, as some tube feedings can run continuous and some can run for an hour, depending on the doctor’s orders. Due to the g-tube that the baby has, maintaining the baby in a position of lying down, maybe elevated to avoid reflux takes that bond that you could have with the baby breast-feeding or bottle feeding. You have social isolation, or as some people like to call it, a plastic bubble. You say, why so fearful of germs? Well you see, a preemie baby is predisposed to a virus called RSV, which affects the baby’s lungs and can put the baby back on a ventilator and cause death if severe. Recent studies have shown that there is an outbreak of ” EV-D68 which causes respiratory illness. The virus can be found in an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. EV-D68 likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches a surface that is then touched by others.”
Social isolation with preemie parents is common, in that you miss out on play groups, church Sunday School, birthday party attendance or having people over to your baby’s birthday party, due to their delicate health. Your friends become those that take care of your baby, your doctors, nurses, therapists and other preemie parents that know and understand their delicate health. Why do we share this with you , you ask?
Rosie and Marcus are parents of a 1lb 10oz micro preemie. Today Kaleb is a happy 6 year old. Many birthdays and holidays have been celebrated at home with his grand parents and his parents only, because he has had on an off upper respiratory infections, causing him to be on breathing treatments and medications. As parents, we felt that we would take that precaution for his protection. He attends regular school with his classmates but also receives speech therapy that helps him with eating better and is around other like children who were preemie and are on his same level. It is a major milestone to have him be 6 years old , considering where he was when he came home 5 months after birth. He came home on tube feedings every 3 hours, 18 doses of medications per day, oxygen 24/7, 2 types of breathing treatments every 4 hours, heart monitors, multiple doctor visits per week and confined to your home, to await speech therapy three per week for feeding, occupational therapy 3 times per week, physical therapy 2 times per week and it goes on…As a result, many who knew us and were our friends, stopped being supportive, due to our lifestyle not fitting in to theirs. Friends stopped inviting us to their homes or outings because we had to cancel or decline a visit due to our child being sick. Maybe he was healthy but we could not take a chance during RSV season to expose him to the chance of getting it, for fear that it can land him back in the hospital on a vent. Many said , “oh my you turned in to a germ freak” even some family said, “you have to let him get sick and not live in a plastic bubble”. Still others just quietly drifted apart. You follow them on facebook and see their kids that you knew very well getting married, having babies of their own and wonder, wow where did the last 6 years go? Do you really have any friends?
One thing as a preemie parents that we did learn, you have to be able to say, we came this far, we cannot let anyone or anything come between our child’s health and well-being. If it means a small sacrifice of not going to a party or not having the neighborhood kids come by daily, then so be it. But what you can do as a parent, is find other parents in similar situations and connect with them. This is one of the reasons that the charity The Gift of Life was formed, to help parents connect, to be a resource for them whether financially or emotionally. Orlando lacks any support groups of this kind other than online and living in isolation with no one to speak to, is not healthy. We are so grateful for the good friends that we do have that we have known for 24 years, they have been there for us through all that we have gone through, even coming to volunteer at The Gift of Life Charity galas in years past.
Terry and Renee, dedicating their time to The gift of Life( missing Beth, at a previous engagement)
Connect with other parents of preemies who understand …
Kaleb is 6 years old, born at 27 weeks weighing 1lb 10oz, and 12 inches long, he is a happy 6 year old weighing in at 35lbs.
How can you get involved to help? Contact The Gift of Life and see how you can make a difference either financially or volunteer wise to help today. We hope that through our own testimony, many will come to understand what life in the world of a preemie parent is and that you have a better understanding of what these parents go through daily. If you lack the words to say. sometimes just being there and listening and saying, what can I do for you today, can make a world of a difference. Don’t ask a preemie parent what can you do to help, because sometimes there is nothing that will help, but there is always something that you can do and that is better phrased.
Like with most holidays, gift giving is often the first thing that comes to mind when Father’s Day rolls around. But the things that can be done to make this day extra special for dad aren’t limited to buying him presents – in fact, Father’s Day presents, for whatever reason, have a reputation for being quite awful. Of a truth, some gifts for dad are so bad that they’re just plain hilarious.
Men whose children have grown beyond toddlerhood are the ones most likely to suffer getting tacky neckties, musk-scented soap-on-a-rope, dress socks with “I heart dad” printed on them, or perhaps a toolbelt (so that he can remember just how much work is still lingering on his to-do list). Spectacular, isn’t it?
What happens when the only child a man has is still a baby, a newborn, by the time Father’s Day comes? What about if 2016 marks his first Father’s Day ever? How about those men whose child(ren) have passed on – such as if their baby was born a preemie and is either in the NICU or didn’t make it, and this is the first time this holiday has come since it happened? There’s no reason that any of these men should have to miss out on the celebration of their own fatherhood if they don’t want to.
4 Ways to Make Father’s Day Great for First Time Dads
Ease His Burdens
The ability to enjoy less stress on his special day can mean a lot more to dad than any new trinket or tool. While he likely has responsibilities that nobody else can manage but him, finding any way to take the load off his shoulders for the day is an excellent way to show him love and appreciation. For example, you might not be able to attend that business meeting with his pushy boss for him, but you can pick up his suit from the dry cleaners and take care of his other household chores. Note, however, that giving him the day off from responsibilities without having the work covered is not an effective way of easing his burdens – he’ll know full well that the work will just be waiting for him, all piled up for Monday.
Crown Him the VIP for the Day
Make his first Father’s Day, and every Father’s Day that follows special by treating him like a king. Let him have his way – even if only for this one day. Do those things that he’s been asking for but have yet to be done. Treat him like your very own VIP for the day. Giving dad this extraordinary care and attention may require laying your ego aside and biting your lip at times, but it’s worth it. He’ll feel the love and appreciation and you’ll have succeeded in achieving your goal of making his day great – hopefully, it won’t all go to his head!
Give Him Understanding
It isn’t just women and moms who crave to be listened to; dads like to have understanding too. Although every day is a great day to give fathers understanding, it should especially be done on Father’s day. This is especially important for first time fathers, even if they are the silent type, because their newfound fatherhood means that some big changes have taken place in their lives recently. It might be so that men are not always open to sharing feelings or emotions, but it doesn’t matter much if the dad in your life is this way. Just spend some time with him – even if it’s watching sports with him when you are anything but a sports fan.
Show Him Love
Real dads have earned their right to appreciation. They’ve earned their rest days, celebrations, honor, and respect – they give so much! They give according to what they have. It’s not the length of time spent as a father that matters, but the heart behind fatherhood that matters. Love is the best present that anyone could give, but sometimes the people that we love the most can go without feeling that love. On this Father’s Day, whether the man in your life is an experienced dad, a new father, or a dad whose child is gone, go out of your way to show him love and that will make this day one of the most special of them all. If you’re really focused on buying dad a great present this year, consider making a donation in his name to The Gift of Life.