LeAna’s Story of Premature Birth

Our son Parker weighed only 2lbs 12oz and was 14 inches long when he was born on November 15, 2004.  After years of trying to conceive and thousands of dollars spent on fertility treatments, we were extremely excited about our baby boy.  

Unfortunately, Parker was delivered at just 28 weeks of gestation (3 months premature) due to preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM).  Parker entered the world very ill, primarily due to immature lungs.  In the beginning, the St. Vincent Hospital NICU team members were uncertain whether or not he would survive.  

what causes premature birth in babies?

Parker’s treatment began with a high-frequency ventilator and nitric oxide to assist him with breathing. As Parker improved, he progressed from the ventilator to CPAP treatment. This process required Parker to be attached to many tubes, hoses, and various other devices.  However, it provided his lungs a slight amount of air pressure and allowed him to conduct breathing on his own.  

Premature Birth & the NICU

Parker’s lungs improved over time to the point that ventilators and CPAP were no longer required and only a small amount of oxygen was needed to allow Parker to breathe and survive.  During Parker’s 71 day hospital stay he gained over 4lbs and became much more stable.  Parker maintained a sweet disposition during his stay in the NICU despite all of the poking and prodding.  

In 2007, we welcomed a full term baby daughter (Samantha) into our family.  I was monitored very closely by a highly trained perinatologist both before and throughout my pregnancy.  It is amazing how wonderful it is to hold your baby after delivery and then leave the hospital a few days later with a happy and healthy baby.

Prematurity’s Impact

Health issues from prematurity do not end when and if a baby graduates from the NICU.  We often observe how much easier activities and skills develop for Samantha.  The problems associated with prematurity continue to exist for Parker because he has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD – high functioning).  There have been many ups and downs including developmental delays, sensitivity and social issues and struggles with school.  We are doing our best to give Parker every shot at his full potential, but it makes us sad that he will have to suffer from his prematurity throughout his entire life.

Prematurity not only impacts families, but has a tremendous impact on businesses.  It is a national health crisis and is a major financial drain in both lost worker productivity and rising health care costs for employers.  Our family actively participates with the March of Dimes charity with the aim of one day eliminating prematurity.  By sharing our story, we hope to spare families the lifelong struggles that being born too soon causes.  

Warm regards,

LeAna Robison – proud mother of Parker and Samantha Robison

healthy family premature birth