The Specht Family
Moments after our fourth child, Emily, was born prematurely at 30 weeks 5 days gestation, the University of Iowa Hospital’s AirCare helicopter was dispatched to transport her to the the UIHC NICU. The transport team brought along a handmade black and gold hat the perfect size for Emily’s tiny head – her first gift. This was the first of many handmade items she would receive from the Preemie Project during her extended stay at the UIHC.
We expected to spend a few uneventful weeks in the NICU as Emily’s lungs matured and she grew bigger and stronger. We’d already had a preemie in the NICU before, so we thought we knew what to expect. However, that was not the case with Emily. When she was 10 days old, she developed an intestinal disease called Necrotizing Enterocolitis. Within a few hours of showing first signs of the disease, she was already in the first of three major surgeries that she would endure over the next week. Our prayers were answered. She survived the surgeries, despite losing 10 inches of her small intestine (ileum), cecum, appendix, and entire colon.
Looking back, we could not have made it through the two and half months in the hospital without the tremendous support we received from family, friends, the amazing staff at UIHC, and several gracious strangers. We had this entire network of volunteers whom we had never met, pulling for Emily’s recovery. They made hats, sleepers, booties, and blankets to comfort her. There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing your child near death, and then in turn feeling the joy of finally being able to put her back in your arms - wrapped in a blanket and a hat made with love. And now, even after she’s outgrown most of those precious gifts from the Preemie Project, we are still comforted by them. These beautiful momentos (some of which we donated back to the NICU) are a reminder of how far she’s come, and how much she is loved.
It’s truly amazing what your Preemie Project volunteers do for NICU families and infants! Thank you so much for all that you have done for our family.
With much love and appreciation,
The Specht Family