The Case Family’s NICU Journey

Traci found her way to Early Bird Foundation through our Craft Night event that allows us to provide some of our local hospitals with unique handmade bassinet name cards for each NICU baby as a treasured keepsake for our families. Fresh out of her NICU journey with two precious baby girls, Traci was looking to help give to others experiencing the journey she had just found her way through and, in turn, Early Bird Foundation got to know another amazing NICU momma and her story of overcoming the hardships of life in the NICU! We are so thankful for the families we are meeting and how God is leading them to us in the most beautiful ways!

Below Traci shares her story with us:

September 28, 2017 will forever hold a special place in my heart. It is more than just the day my two beautiful little girls were born. It was the start of a journey that has forever changed my heart, faith and life. For two long years my husband and I had been trying to conceive. I knew prior to us getting married that we would have a hard time so we started trying a little early. I had many medical issues prior and I knew being older that my window of conceiving naturally was closing. After multiple fertility treatments, on a Sunday morning and on our first wedding anniversary, I found out I was going to become a mom! I was excited and scared at the same time. What if I miscarry? What if something is wrong with my baby? How would I deal with it and would it be my fault? All of that, at the time, did not matter because I was going to be the best mother. At my first ultrasound I found out I was having twins. Holy moly, what did I get myself into?! NO tears, NO happiness, just WOW. My pregnancy went on without problems until July 20, 2017. “Traci you’re having two girls and, I’m sorry, Baby A has Down Syndrome. You have a few options.” I had no words for the doctor, just tears. Did I mention it was my husband’s birthday? We chose to take a DNA test and for two long weeks we had decisions to make that would affect our entire lives. After many prayers and sleepless nights, the test came back negative for Down Syndrome! On August 12, 2017, someone decided to rear end me. No big deal, however, this started a month long process of weekly trips to the ER for back pain that was out of control. Each trip I was sent home stating “your fine, you’re having twins, it’s to be expected”.

On September 26, 2017, I was admitted to Saint Joseph East. The doctor was unable to find Baby B’s heartbeat and both girls had stopped practice breathing. Multiple attempts were made to stimulate them, however, all failed. The next few hours and into the next few days started to blend together. On September 28, 2017, at 4:11pm and 4:12pm, I brought two beautiful 3lb. 3oz baby girls (they looked like an alien and a monkey) into this world. There were few cries from them from a distance and I was told to look and then they were rushed off to the NICU. I didn’t get to even kiss them. And so my NICU journey began. Two days later I was able to lift my girls up in the incubator. One week later I was able to hold and take care of them. No one will ever understand the life of NICU parents.

The NICU journey is now 4.5 months gone however I remember each and every single day like it was my last. I am now able to say that I am a mother because for 39 long days I just felt like I was visiting a few kids. The tears never stop but they are few and far between. I will forever remember all the tubes and will ALWAYS jump each time I hear a heart rate monitor alarm. Just because it has been 4.5 months since we left the NICU does not mean I am healed. I have now found the Early Bird Foundation Inc. and with this group of wonderful women I am able to share my stories right down to the details I never thought I would share. I am now able to know that I am not the only one who experienced trauma. The EBF has brought me peace. I can now live my life and in the process help others who have to go through this journey. To anyone reading that is currently going through the journey, you are not alone! We NICU parent survivors and children are here for you.

The ladies of Early Bird Foundation are so thankful that Traci found in us a safe place to share her story and her struggles and to begin healing from the traumatic experience that life in the NICU can be! Please lift her and her beautiful family up in prayer as they continue to move through life AFTER NICU and heal from the grief of the unexpected and experiences missed!

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