A Mother’s Miracle
Twenty-six weeks into your pregnancy is not a time that you would expect your baby to be born. Yet, this is when Ashley found herself delivering her first baby, Eliana, weighing just 1.9 lbs. She came into the world tiny but mighty. Ashley gave birth at her local hospital in Naples, but because Eliana was a micropreemie, Eliana had to be urgently transferred to South Miami Hospital where they have a Level 3 NICU for the most critical care. Ashley had to recover from Eliana’s delivery in order to be discharged and travel the 2 hours to be with her baby. The heart-wrenching days that she was in Naples and Eliana was in Miami passed slowly. Ashley stayed focused on her sweet baby across the state and put all of her energy into healing and pumping her milk for Eliana to help her heal and grow. Ashley connected with one of ICU baby’s Parent-to-Parent Tele-Support Volunteers, Valerie, who Ashley says, “was always there when I needed guidance and made me feel more at ease.”
The financial toll for Ashley of visiting her baby and driving back and forth to Naples, sometimes 4 or 5 hours a day, added up. Knowing that Eliana would need to stay in the NICU for months to grow, Ashley faced a difficult choice between visiting her baby as frequently or working to afford her gasoline. Thankfully, Ashley qualified for ICU baby’s Transportation Assistance Program which provided her with stipends for gas and allowed her to delay going back to work so she could visit more often. Through the long weeks Ashley says, “knowing that I got to see my baby every other day kept me going… continue reading.