Dear parents of a premature little fighter,

On Thanksgiving Day 2004, my family and I were all together for Thanksgiving dinner. I was extremely happy and excited because I was almost six months pregnant with my first child after being married for 13 years to my wonderful husband, Tony. We had been waiting for this baby. By this time, we knew we were having a son, and had given him the name Aidan. My sweet Aidan.

After dinner, I went to the bathroom and there it was- blood on the tissue. I was nervous and upset, but I held it together so that my family would not be alarmed. I found my husband and told him we had to leave immediately because something was wrong. We went to the nearest emergency department where they informed me that I had started to dilate and that my cervix had already opened up 2 centimeters. I contacted my OB/GYN and she sent me to Washington Hospital Center (WHC) where they initially told me that because I was only 22 weeks, my son was not viable and probably wouldn't survive. We waited to see if he was going to come but he didn't- he was already fighting to stay alive.

I was admitted to WHC on bed rest. Aidan was able to stay inside almost another 4 weeks before he was delivered on 12/22/04 (his due date was March 20, 2005). He was born three months early. My miracle son initially breathed for a little while on his own, but soon after, he was intubated with a breathing tube to breathe for him. At first I thought the breathing tube and all the other wires connected to him were horrible, but each day that passed and he was still alive I was so grateful for those wires and the breathing tube.

These wonders of modern science and medicine were helping my 2 ½ pound little man breathe. His lungs were so underdeveloped that when looking at an X-ray of his lungs, all we saw were white spots all over. They did not look like lungs at all. The nurses and doctors at WHC did everything they possibly could to keep us informed and help Aidan. We were at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at WHC for about three months. After many failed attempts of getting Aidan off the breathing tube, it was decided that Aidan might do better if he were transferred over to Children's National Medical Center and thank goodness, as that was the best decision ever.

At Children's National, we still had a long battle with infections, the breathing tube being removed and having to be replaced a few times before being able to keep it out, and lots of breathing treatments, steroids, blood transfusions, and other medicines. We were in the NICU at Children's National for 4 1/2 months. Aidan's biggest obstacle was his lungs. He was diagnosed with severe bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) because his lungs did not have enough time inside to develop.

After much prayer and tremendous care from the team at Children's National, on July 11, 2005, Aidan was released from the hospital and we were able to take him home for the first time, almost 8 months after he was born. He came home on oxygen, he had a heart monitor for a while for precaution, and he had to be fed through a feeding tube a long time until he learned how to eat. I say thank God, it was all worth it.

My miracle son Aidan is now a feisty 5-year-old who just graduated from H.W. Wheatley Special Center and he walked across the stage and got his completion award. He talks, walks, runs, and eats everything in sight. He has a learning delay, but I believe he will also conquer that and catch up to his class in time. So with that I say to you keep your head up, and have faith because miracles still happen.


Aidan's mom, Deborah



Video: Introduction to the Parent's Letter Project

The Parent's Letter Project lets Children's National Medical Center parents whose children have faced medical crises use their experience to support others.

Premature birth - Letters