The AdventHealth for Children NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) staff members make it a point to celebrate when a baby can be discharged to go home with their family. Even when these families come into our lives and then get discharged, we never forget how they touched our hearts when they were in our care. Baby Connor is one of those tiny patients that will always have a place in our hearts.
For the past year, Jennifer and her husband, Robert have been on a long and difficult life-changing journey, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. Last Thanksgiving, Jennifer found out she was pregnant. The experience was even more emotional and joyful because the couple had been told before that they would not be able to have children.
Although shortly after finding out she was pregnant, doctors diagnosed the baby with Mosaic Trisomy 16, a rare genetic abnormality, and they weren’t sure if the baby would make it. Jennifer and Robert leaned on each other for support after receiving this shocking news.
“We knew we wanted to do everything possible to give him a chance to thrive. Everyone at AdventHealth during that time was so compassionate, kind and patient with us. The uncertainty of not knowing if your baby would be okay was so scary. I’m especially grateful to Dr. Williams and Dr. Bernstein as well as our nurses Nia, Chelsea, Tori, Jeanina, and Katelyn,” explained Jennifer.
Jennifer, Robert and their doctors were also worried about the baby’s weight since the NICU only admits babies that are at least a pound. So the parents, along with staff, family and friends prayed over the baby. Jennifer gave birth on May 29, 2020 to a baby boy weighing just over a pound, baby Connor was born healthy and strong!
God answered their prayers and provided the growth spurt Connor needed to be admitted into the NICU.
Jennifer shared, “the first time I saw him, I couldn’t hold him because he was so small. After three long days, we finally got to hold him and named him Connor. He is a very opinionated baby, strong, stubborn and curious!”
After 102 days in the NICU, Connor defied all odds again and was stable enough to go home. Jennifer and Robert know they have a long road ahead with monthly surgeries and doctors’ visits, but the new parents are up for the challenge.
The AdventHealth for Children child life, music therapy and volunteer services teams began creating special moments for the parents as soon as baby Connor was born. The teams created “Connor's Heartbeat Project.” Connor's heartbeat was recorded and placed inside a stuffed elephant as a legacy piece for his mom and dad. Thanks to philanthropic support, AdventHealth for Children is able to help families, like Jennifer and Robert’s, through programs and services like child life, patient assistance, music and animal therapy through AdventHealth Foundation Central Florida.
Jennifer mentioned, “without all the amazing staff members taking care of us and special equipment I really don’t think Connor would be here. He is really our miracle baby. Every dollar and gift impacts patients more than you know. It makes a huge difference not only to the patients but to the families. It can literally change the trajectory of the child’s life and family moving forward. It’s amazing how God has provided for us through all of this. I want people to know that there is hope even when you are going through something difficult.”
To make a difference in the life of a child or family at AdventHealth for Children, click here.
Photography provided by Dear Dee Photography.