The NICU is not a place many parents expect to be with their newborn baby. This is especially true when your first two children are full term and born without complications. Naila Vilela had no knowledge of a NICU – none of her friends or family had been there and her first two daughters stayed with her in the room after birth.
Naila’s pregnancy with her third child could not have been more different. Doctors told her she had a short cervix and gave her a progesterone treatment to keep her cervix closed. One evening she experienced terrible pain and headed to the emergency room. She was in labor at only 26 weeks pregnant. Her daughter, Averly Arabelle, was born that evening and Naila’s life changed. She says she was shocked and in a new world. She had never even seen a premature baby. She was afraid every time she went to see the baby, but at the same time she says that she felt very stable. Naila says, “there was always good energy in the hospital with the nurses and ICU baby to help the parents. I believe a lot in God. I always had faith and always had a positive mind.”
Naila’s journey with Averly was not easy, however. Averly had two surgeries … for her eyes and also for her heart. For Christmas, all her daughters asked for was for their sister to come home. ICU baby volunteers helped were they could and provided Naila with vouchers for gasoline to help ease the stress of travel costs from Homestead where she lives to South Miami Hospital. Naila says ICU baby’s help with gas money meant “a lot, a lot, a lot!” She adds, “ICU baby made it easy. Every time I saw you girls, you gave us hope and good energy. We needed it.”
After 95 days in the NICU, Averly went home shortly after Christmas to be with her sisters. She is doing well now and receiving a lot of love. Naila says that when she was in the hospital, she pictured herself in her house with her baby in her arms. “I put my trust in God and now I have a true miracle baby.”