As my high school photography teacher, Mr. Bieber would say: A picture is worth a thousand words. Kristy Alley might grace the cover of the May 18th issue of People Magazine but the most poignant photo was on page 79.
Joanne Fowler’s article, When Miracle Babies Grow Up, demonstrates what every obstetrician and neonatologist prays for: a successful life for a premature baby, despite it stormy beginning. The smiling faces and incredible stories of April Palo, Charlie Debeck, Alicia Shuman, Jonathan Engholm, Katie Kenefick, and Chris Cremons rekindled my diminishing love for medicine.
All six of these amazing men and women are now college students with academic achievements. They were all born before 27 weeks, weighed no more than two pounds and as Fowler aptly describes, were “no longer than a dollar bill.” April was the most premature baby born at 23 weeks and weighed 1b. 8 ounces. The statistics regarding preterm outcomes are usually dismal, but not so at Children’s Hospital of Minnesota-Minneapolis. A dedicated medical servant and neonatologist, Dr. Ronald Hoekstra proved fate wrong. According to Fowler, nearly 90 percent of Dr. Hoekstra’s patients born with extreme prematurity finished high school and approximately 60 percent have gone to college. What a sigh of relief.
In my book, The Smart Mother’s Guide to a Better Pregnancy, there is a section entitled Preserving Your Miracle which encourages readers to view their pregnancies as miraculous as opposed to the mundane. Everyone is born with a gift according to the world of Dr. Galloway. The parents of these talented six never gave up nor wavered in their faith and emphasized an attitude of gratitude.
“I survived against terrific odds,” says Charlie Debeck, a college senior, rock climber and possible future senator.
You certainly did, young man. You certainly did.