My daughter, Mackenzie, became the most precious gift a mother could ask for. She was born 14 weeks early, weighing 1lb 12oz.
Mackenzie spent almost four months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado. I remember the first time I saw her and thinking that her tiny, scrawny body looked like a baby bird. But her curly hair with a carefully placed pink bow made her human and the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. During her 108 days in the NICU she lived through lung disease, heart problems, infection in her blood, poor growth, eye injury, blood transfusions and a serious aspiration of formula into her lungs.
I found that it is the little things that medical professionals do in the NICU that make a difference. Creating a cute name tag for a baby's bed, showing parents how to do things to help care for their baby, realizing that every parent is different and responds differently, providing honest information and clear explanations—these are all great steps doctors and nurses can take to make day-to-day life in the NICU a little brighter.
Now she is in high school, the events of Mackenzie’s life seem less significant than they did in her early years and she has found her passion in photography. Her affectionate nature and love of life charm everyone she meets.