Evan's story began during my 29th week of pregnancy. I started to experience some mild cramps which I attributed to stomach upset, having never experienced labor before. After a restless night, I awoke in horror to find that my water had broken. I was visiting my parents in New Jersey at the time and so they had to drive me to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York during rush hour (my father has still not recovered from this!). When we arrived there, we were placed in a room and told to wait. Luckily after about 15 minutes, my husband (who had arrived by taxi from Connecticut since I had our only car!) managed to find someone to check on us.
The nurse who finally arrived checked for the baby's heartbeat. When it was found to be dangerously low, all hell broke loose, with medical personnel arriving from every direction. I was prepped for surgery and placed under general anesthesia. Evan was delivered approximately 15 minutes later, weighing two pounds, nine ounces. Evan, who was actually breathing on his own, was truly a tiny miracle because during surgery, it was found that my placenta was approximately 85% ruptured even though I had not experienced any of the severe pain or bleeding normally associated with such a traumatic tear. According to the doctors, Evan would not have survived another ten minutes. These are words I would have preferred never to hear and which haunt me to this day.
Evan, 17 years old
During his time in the NICU, Evan experienced the typical preemie issues, nothing dramatic. He was what they called at Mount Sinai a "grower and a feeder." After six weeks, Evan came home with us, weighing about 4.5 pounds. Many long hours were spent that winter, feeding him little tiny bottles and keeping him inside away from too many germs.
As he grew, Evan experienced some gross motor delays (he did not walk until he was 21 months old). However, he ended up playing several sports in high school. Learning was never a problem, he taught himself to read before his fourth birthday, was placed in a gifted program in first grade and has been earning straight A's ever since. He is currently a student at Georgetown University where he has his own television show, plays trumpet in the band, leads wilderness retreats, and plays a variety of intramural sports.
It took a few years after Evan was born to get up the nerve, but my husband and I did have another baby, Dylan. With wonderful medical care and several months of bed rest, he was born at full term despite the recurrence of the same condition which had led to his brother's premature birth. We now have two rather large miracles for which to be thankful.