Ashley was well past the stage of diapers and baby feedings. She had a busy life working and caring for her three sons ages 16, 15 and 13. Then, she learned that she and her husband, Ahmad, were expecting a baby girl. Ashley’s sudden surprise turned into an overwhelming amount of joy and excitement, as she shared the news with her family.
When Ashley was 24 weeks pregnant, she and Ahmad received another surprise, but this time it filled them with fear and worry. Ashley had gone into the hospital for a routine check-up. She suffered from preeclampsia and, on this day, doctors told her that her blood pressure was so high, she and her baby were at risk.. Ashley was rushed from Homestead Hospital to South Miami Hospital where the NICU is larger.
At 24 weeks, Ah’nyla was so tiny when she was born. After a few stable days, what many call the NICU roller coaster set in and Ah’nyla’s health took a stark turn for the worse. The healthcare teams worked hard to ensure Ah’nyla’s lungs were developing with the right interventions but, for a while, with every step forward, it seemed she took two steps backwards.
Meanwhile, the health of Ashley and Ahmad also took a toll. The stress of having Ah’nyla in the NICU, coupled with the day-to-day responsibilities of their life, weighed heavy. Their other children were born healthy so they had to learn how to endure their terrifying NICU journey.
Ashely’s “maternal instincts” only strengthened. She quickly recognized that Ah’nyla stayed most at peace when she was not exposed to noise or touched, which meant not regularly holding her. As difficult as it was, Ashley and Ahmad followed Ah’nyla’s lead and she began to grow and improve. Ahmad visited her every day after work and Ashley came as often as she could, while working and caring for her three sons at home.
Ashley says that Ah’nyla had so many blood transfusions that she lost count, but she conquered every hurdle she faced in the NICU. Ashley says the hardest part of her 4 months in the NICU with Ah’nyla is leaving her there everyday. Her advice to fellow NICU parents is “pray, be patient and keep an open mind. Whatever you are fussing about, you must fight.” The ICU baby and South Miami Hospital NICU teams are cheering for Ah’nyla and hope she will head home to be united with her three brothers this month.