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Personal Stories ~ From Bethany
My son was born at 25 weeks. My husband cried at his delivery but I was numb. He was rushed to the NICU . . . this rat looking thing that was my new son. Red and shiny and oh so tiny.

I was allowed to see him after a few hours and I stood by his bed listening to the doctor tell me he had a %50 chance of survival and IF he lived he had a %75 chance of having a major disability. He was covered with clear plastic because his skin was so sensitive even the air was too much for him. The machine to help him breathe was bigger than he was.

He stayed in the NICU for 115 days. I watched him grow outside of my body thinking every day he should still be inside me, still be comforted and held by my womb. Instead he was poked and prodded and hurt on a daily basis. Some days I walked in, took one look at him, began to cry and had to leave. They don't tell you about the guilt. He was on oxygen for 110 days and I was told he would go home with it. He went through 115 days without any infections, unheard of at the NICU, he had heart surgery with no complications, never cried and struggled every day to remember to breathe and learn how to eat.

We were told that it was unheard of for a 25 weeker to come home without oxygen so imagine our surprise when Austin had no need of it. Imagine, again, our surprise when all of his medications were discontinued before he came home. And our surprise when he beat all the odds and his stage 3 sub-threshold ROP cleared up all on its own. Our continued surprise when an OT nurse came to evaluate him and deemed him way ahead of the game. At four months adjusted age he has the fine and gross motor skills of a six month old, the adaptive, cognitive and language skills of an eight month old. Our miracle child. So strong, so smart, so beautiful. He is a success story . . . no doubt about it!

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