Every year, I look forward to getting the invitation from East Jefferson General Hospital about their upcoming NICU Reunion. Both of my children were born at EJ, and neither child came into this world the easy way. The NICU reunion is one day where all kids born at EJ through the NICU get to visit Lafreniere Park for a fun day of rides and treats!
I have been a Type 1 Diabetic for over 20 years, so my husband and I knew having kids could bring complications. During my pregnancy with my son, we had an Echo Cardiogram done. We were told that there may be a hole in my son’s heart. We were also warned that his nuchal fold had shown that there may be signs of Down Syndrome or other birth defects. My entire pregnancy was complicated with many ups and downs, but we held out hope that all would be well in the end.
At 37 weeks, we were set to do an amniocentesis to see if my son’s lungs were ready. A quick onset of preeclampsia forced us to forgo the amnio and deliver my son through an emergency C-section. Despite all odds, my son Oliver was born on December 12, 2012.
Oliver was born screaming, a hopeful sign that his lungs were indeed ready. He spent a brief time in the NICU and was handed over for the remainder of our stay in the hospital. My husband and I went home with a healthy baby boy and were faced only with the challenges of first time parent nerves!
Now a family of three, we were ready to have another child. This pregnancy was even more difficult than the first. The first seven months were a battle of low heart rates and activity from my baby. My blood sugar kept dropping and I was having trouble staying conscious towards the end of the pregnancy.
On June 6, 2016, at only 35 weeks, my daughter Sloane was born through an emergency C- section. She was brought to the NICU and she spent several days there. My daughter had issues with her blood sugars staying in control. After three days, she was allowed to stay with us if we promised to feed her on a strict regimen. It was a very rough week but we were fortunate enough to leave the hospital with our second child.
The NICU can be a scary place and a tough situation for most parents. The doctors and nurses involved both times were amazing and truly caring souls. It is such a joy every year to revisit with them and remind them that there can be joy after the tears. The kids get better, grow up, and keep going around on the carousel.
About Lauren Laxton