Charlene and Shannon Smith

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Parents: Charlene and Shannon Smith
Hometown: Orlando, FLOn Jan. 15, 2000, I experienced my second major membrane rupture and this time, just shy of 23 weeks into the pregnancy, I was admitted to Crouse Hospital on bed rest to wait for my delivery time.

A short 10 days later, I started having labor pains. I was told by the late, great Dr. Richard Aubry that I would be delivering that day. At 4:47 p.m., Katelin was born, weighing 520 grams, or 1 lb., 2 oz. She was successfully intubated and rushed to the Baker NICU. She went down to 14 oz., but, determined to prove everyone who gave us a grim, yet realistic, prognosis wrong, she continued to fight her way to survival.

On her 100th day in the NICU, Katelin was in my arms when she stopped breathing and turned blue. Out of nowhere, a team of angels in scrubs began to resuscitate her. She was put into an induced coma for the enxt 10 days and tested for sepsis and meningitis. This is how I spent my first Mother’s day.

A month after Katelin came out of the come, she went for her first of what would be a total of 13 surgeries, five of them while a patient in the Baker NICU. A few days later, when making our nightly call to the NICU from the Ronald McDonald House, we were told by NICU nurse Chris Warren to come up to the hospital, since Katelin had extubated and was on a nasal cannula!

She came home with us on June 26, 2000, weighing 4 lbs., 10 oz. We were in the NICU for 156 days.

My husband and I have such gratitude for the Crouse NICU nurses. They always had little notes and keepsakes made for Katelin for special occasions. Almost sixteen years later, I still have them. They meant so much to my me and my husband then, and still so much today. Making these seemingly little treasures is not in their job descriptions, yet they did it. I am not sure that we ever really said “thank you!”

The Crouse NICU team was patient and kind to us each and every day, teaching us how to care for our daughter. I am happy to report that Katelin will b 16 and is very excited to get her first car! She is an avid drummer, perfroming with drummers from Johnny Cash and Confederate Railroad band. Thank you to the doctors and nurses at the Crouse NICU for believing in Katelin!

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