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Friday, November 6, 2015

WORLD PREMATURITY DAY

November 17th is World Prematurity Day, so my post today is not my ordinary type of post. I hope you'll indulge me while I talk about a very personal experience in our lives.
 
Our grandson, Cooper, was born prematurely, on November 30, 2012, at UAMS in Little Rock.  He weighed one pound 14 ounces, and remained in the Neonatal ICU at UAMS for over four months.  Anyone who has dealt with premature births knows that the journey is a roller coaster ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat and on your knees in prayer.  There were days when we worried that Cooper wouldn’t survive, and other days when we were certain he’d be home soon.
cooper incubated
 Cooper, Nov. 2012
Cooper was in the incubator for several months and was fed through a feeding tube for about three months.  Until a week before he was sent home from the hospital, his breathing was controlled by an oscillator or a ventilator.  He had needles all over his body, which had to be moved frequently.  Before he was a month old, he was taken by helicopter to Children’s Hospital in Little Rock for heart surgery.  Cooper’s days could quickly go from great to bad, and we never knew what to expect.

Cooper’s older sisters, Carly and Brayden, were amazingly concerned and loving about their new brother, and they were understanding about their parents’ frequent absences while they traveled back-and-forth between home and Little Rock (a three hour drive each way).
 
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 Carly and Cooper
BRAY COOP
 Brayden and Cooper
Our son, Matthew, and his wife, Mindy, amazed us with their strength and courage.  Cooper had to be their priority, but they made sure that their daughters had their time and attention as much as possible.
 
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Cooper, Matthew, Mindy, Carly, Brayden, and their dog, Scout
Our daughter, Larissa, her husband Scott, and their children, Madison and Gavin, quickly fell in love with Cooper and helped in any way they could.
 
I can’t say enough good things about UAMS and the staff in the NICU.  Cooper had a private room, and his parents and sisters were able to visit him at any time.  When Cooper was in the incubator, we were able to watch him at any time of the day or night, via a web cam.  Some of it wasn’t easy to watch, but we were so grateful to have that connection with our new grandson.  When he was on the oscillator, he had to be on pain medication. When they switched him from the oscillator to the ventilator, he went through withdrawal, because they stopped the pain meds. That week, I cried every time I looked at the webcam. 

Even when Cooper was having a bad day, the NICU staff were amazed at how well he was doing.  We came to know and love that staff in the NICU, and I think they came to know and love Cooper and his family. 
 
 
It was humbling to know that there were so many people, in our community and around the world, praying for our little grandson right along with us. I know some of you prayed for him, and we are grateful. One day, a nurse in the NICU remarked to our son, “I don’t know who you’ve got praying for this little guy, but tell them to keep it up, because they are doing a great job.”

I don’t know why we were blessed with the miracle of Cooper, but I can tell you that, as much of a blessing as all of our grandchildren are, the miracle of our blessings is even more evident when we look at Cooper. 
 
Cooper still has medical appointments in Little Rock and with his Pediatrician, and  a therapist worked with him in his home until he was a year old.  Cooper is now a healthy almost three year-old. According to his medical care providers, he has good skill levels for his age.  Even now, it is hard to look at Cooper,without thinking of all of the trauma he experienced and of the miracle of his life.  He is truly a blessing to all of us.
 Cooper, August, 2015
We have been so blessed to have six grandchildren, all of whom live within blocks of us. And we are so blessed to have had so many prayers and such wonderful medical care for our Cooper. We know God was right there, watching Cooper and his family struggle in the months after his birth. Cooper is truly a miracle. Thanks be to God!
 

6 comments:

Tricia said...

What a wonderful update to read about Cooper! He really did have a rough start, and I know it was incredibly hard on all of his extended family. UAMS is a great place -- my dad was on the faculty there and also received treatment there many times before he passed away. And you may remember that my youngest granddaughter Emily shares Cooper's birthday! It's hard to believe they will soon be three! Celebrating with you in Texas!

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

God Is So Good. Such a precious and loving story of Prayer and the Lord answering so perfectly. You story brings me to tears. I had a premi son and then last year a premi great, so I can relate all too well.

CelestinaMarie@SouthernDayDreams said...

Oh Laurie, what a beautiful little boy Cooper is. Yes thank GOD from where all blessing flow. HE is so good and prayers were answered. Cooper is growing beautiful and he is a miracle. What a precious family photo of them all together. I can only imagine how difficult it was all those months. This brought tears to my eyes too. So very touching to celebrate World Prematurity Day. Beautiful post Laurie and continued prayers for Cooper to continue to thrive!!
Blessings xo

Sharon Collins said...

What an amazing story of a very blessed little boy who has in turn blessed his family with his strong will to live. I have never experienced any of this. We have no grandchildren, so I can only imagine what it must have been like for you and your family.

Susie Holler said...

May God continue to bless you and your grandson and all your family in all of lifes trials. thank you for sharing this heart wrenching story. It has made the bond between you and that special little guy forever stronger.We will continue to pray for all of you that you have years ahead together.you are so lucky to have six grands I don't have any but long for the day.Susie

Chloe Crabtree said...

What a blessing this little guy is. God must have plans for him and kept him safe and healthy enough to be the wonderful little boy he is today! God Bless you all!