The best way to learn about The Gift of Life is through our stories...
Preemie Story #1: The Moore Family, Founders of The Gift of Life
Rosie Moore had a premature baby born at 1lb and 10 oz. After only 27 weeks gestation, he was born. Kaleb, now known as Miracle Kaleb, was in the neonatal intensive care unit for 5 months. During the time they were there, they did not have support of anyone other than the staff. They were great but they could not feel what Rosie Moore was feeling because they were the healthcare givers for her son. You rarely saw any parents except in passing because they were focused on their own child and set of problems.
From that moment on, Rosie knew that one day she was going to help other moms and dads. She
thought she could reach out to them not only through the book, A Story of Faith, but through a movie,
that could be shared all over the world. There are several producers that want to produce a movie and
film it in the hospital.
Testimonial #2: Deb Discenza and Her Daughter Becky
My daughter Becky was born 10 weeks early at 30 weeks due PPROM when I was an hour outside of town for a family outing. I was in the car on the way back home when my bladder "let go" in the car and I thought I had had an "accident." A few minutes later all alone in a grocery store bathroom I realized that my water had broken and I was initially freaked out but then headed out to the grocery store office calm and extremely focused. I called the doctor's office and left a message for the answering service to call me on the road as we rushed back to our area toward our hospital. My husband drove like a mad man back to our area. We now know was an infection that was not caught as well as a potentially incompetent cervix. I now know as well that there is likely a genetic link to prematurity through my mother.
Becky was born weighing 2 lbs 15.5 oz and 16 7/8" in length. She was in the NICU for 38 days and came home on oxygen and a monitor. She had three heart defects, horrible acid reflux, anemia, jaundice and feeding issues. She was followed for ROP.
Today Becky is 11 years old and is a sweet and smart young lady. She is a real joy to be around and we often joke that she is 11 years old going on 40. Definitely an old soul with a great heart. She is the Advanced Academic Program school for our district and therein is deemed twice exceptional due to having high-functioning autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, Developmental Motor Coordination Disorder, sensory issues and feeding issues.
Read the word of advice Deb offers to all parents of preemies.
Testimonial #3: Angie Poreda
My son was born July 27th, 2011 in Orlando hospital. He weighed 1 pound 6 ounces 11 inches long; he was given a 5 percent chance of life.
Dr. Goldberg, the neonatologist there, came to my room 6 hours after my c-section and said that my son was not going to make it. The doctors could not stabilize him - he kept coding and his stats were all over the place. And his right arm and legs had no circulation.
I knew that if I can just touch him... I asked if I could just touch him. They said, "Yes, hold his bottom and his head". Within 10 minutes he stabilized.
Dr. Goldberg placed his hand on my shoulder and said, "I don't know what you're doing, but keep doing it". The doctors did say that there's one thing they could try for his arm and leg - they put nitro paste on them to try to get circulation back. By the next morning, his little arm and leg were nice and pink.
From that day forward I stayed with my son for 121 days. I refused to leave the hospital when I was discharged for having the c-section because Hunter wanted his mommy. The hospital was so gracious; they let me stay in the Nestin room for 2 days while it was not being used.
My son was there for 121 days. He has severe BPD. He was on a ventilator for 7 weeks then went to a high flow, then to vapo therm cannula. He ended up getting a staff infection and was given antibiotics to take care of it. They thought he had NEC but he did not. As it ended up, he was still blocked with Meconium at 31 days old.
The doctors and therapists all became like family to me. I don't know how I could have made it through such trying time without their support .....amazing group of staff!!!!
Testimonial #4: Audrey Lonas and Son
My husband, Chris and I had been married for 6 years when we decided we wanted to expand our family from our fur baby Labrador Retriever to a real baby of our very own.When this new and exciting adventure started I had all these plans and Pinterest ideas ready for the time when I would tell my family and friends our exciting news. I found out I was pregnant on St Patrick’s day after working a night shift at Celebration hospital as a Respiratory Therapist. The second I found out I was overjoyed and all my Pinterest plans flew right out the window. I begged my husband to drive to my parents’ house that very morning at 7 a.m.! I couldn’t wait to tell everyone! By noon I had told all my family and friends. Good news travels fast!
My pregnancy was very easy and I had no complaints. At 23 weeks while working I started to have contractions which I thought were Braxton hicks contractions. They became more and more intense which eventually led to an ambulance trip to the hospital. Chris and I were scared as doctors and nurses flooded the room to assess me, question me, and start drugs on me to stop my contractions. The reality of what was happening really hit when statistics were given to us about the risk and likely complications of having a baby come this early. They prepared and expected me to have the baby at any moment. We were devastated.
Originally we had decided for the sex of our baby to be revealed in the delivery room on or near my due date of November 22nd. I wanted everyone surprised, including myself. Reaching for anything happy to hold onto in this situation we decided to have them tell us the sex during one of my many exams that day. We were to have a little girl. A Girl!. We named her Allison.I was able to stick through an entire week of on again off again contractions on complete bed rest. Every morning the nurse came in and wrote the date on my patient board I thought to myself, I did it….I got through another day! Sadly my strength gave out and due to an incompetent cervix I had an emergency C-section 16 weeks early. I remember asking my husband Chris in the Operating room after she was born, “is she okay?” To which he responded that they had already taken her into NICU to be intubated and assessed. No one celebrated or really even spoke. Five hours after delivery they wheeled my hospital bed through the NICU. A very sweet nurse told me that they had a high amount of babies in the NICU at the time and they were unable to wheel my bed over. She assured me that once
I was able to get into a wheel chair I could see the baby. She asked, “do you have a name?”. I responded, “yes, Allison Grace”. I will never forget the look on her face and a few other nurses near by. They asked me to repeat the name. I heard a few giggles and then she proceeded to tell me “Well actually….you had a boy”. I have never heard my husband speechless in the 11 years I’ve known him. We got our surprise!!! In more ways than one! Jameson Lee Lonas was born on August 3rd and weighed 1lb 12 oz.
The next few weeks were the hardest times I have ever experienced. I felt helpless and heartbroken. I was told the NICU stay would be a roller coaster of events and emotions and that’s exactly what it was. We went through 2 types of ventilators, 3 intubations, infections, medications, complications and happy milestones. Every ounce counted and I was ready to see him pack on the pounds and thrive for life. It was a long road but that’s exactly what Jameson did. He has taught me all about strength and faith and a lot about having patience. We are truly blessed with how well Jameson did and still continues to do as a micro preemie. The odds were stacked against him and he pushed through. After 143 days in the hospital we brought our sweet boy home on December 23rd. Just in time for Christmas. The best Christmas present ever. He came home with his teddy bear from The Gift of Life, made with love by the seniors citizens at Good Samaritan Village.
There are so many great people out there that followed Jameson’s Journey. He had prayers from all over. I still can’t wrap my head around all the love we received. No one will ever know how much we appreciate it all. I only hope our story of heartache turned to joy can inspire others who might be starting out on their own similar journey…. a little hope. Hang tight…this doesn’t define your child…it’s just a piece of their story. Jameson is now 5 months old and 11 lbs. He is loving being at home with us. We fall in love over and over every day.