Jared's Story: Parent's Letter Project Premature birth- Jared's dad

Jared first day of 8th gradeMy son was born in April of 1998, 14 weeks premature, weighing just 1 pound, 3 ounces. My wife had developed complications early on during her pregnancy due to her hereditary high blood pressure. We had consulted with a doctor that specialized in this condition; however, her condition continued to get worse, and at her 25th week of pregnancy we were given the news that they would have to deliver the baby within a few days, or neither of them were going to survive. We were told that the odds of our unborn son surviving were about 50/50 to be delivered in what was still the second trimester. On April 8, 1998, an emergency Caesarean-section  was performed and he was delivered at just over a pound. We were able to see him for just a moment and then he was whisked away and put into an incubator, as well as put on oxygen, and numerous other monitors.

When he was 5-days-old, he developed a hole in the lining of his stomach (just one of the many things that had not fully developed), and this is when he was transferred to Children's National, whose doctors would perform the surgery to repair the hole in his stomach. Thankfully, he was born at Washington Hospital Center which was just across the parking lot from Children's National, but it was still quite a process to get him from one hospital to the other. Once at Children's, the surgical team successfully performed the surgery, and our son Jared, was placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where he remained for nearly two months. We had been told from the beginning that each day would be like a roller coaster ride with him doing better some days, and not so well others. There were days that the doctors were optimistic about his chances for survival, and other days not so much. We spent a lot of time at Children's during those two months, especially my wife who spent hours at his side every day.

Finally on June 30th, 1998, we were able to bring him home. He came home on oxygen, and a heart rate monitor but he came home. It didn't take him long to gain enough strength and stability that he didn't need either the oxygen or monitor. Once home, still only about 5 pounds, he began to grow quickly and had a relatively healthy childhood. He had no lasting medical issues from his extreme prematurity. His fine motor skills were slower to fully develop and in elementary school he was diagnosed with ADHD, but that may or may not have had anything to do with his early birth, and in fact, I had the same thing as a child. He has continued to grow, and become a great soccer player, and a good student.

At almost 14 now, he is about 5' 7" and is a normal teenager about to start high school next year with no lingering effects of his rough start to life.

We've always thought of him as our miracle baby, and we still do.


Jared's dad, Lee

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