Ari Frederick and Sloane Michelle were born to Brianna and Fred prematurely at 32 weeks after premature rupture of membranes (Brianna's water broke early). Ari was immediately intubated with a breathing tube and then extubated a few days later thankfully. Both babies are currently doing great, progressing much faster than expected, gaining weight, and feeding well. Sloane is off all oxygen support and Ari will be soon. They are expected to have a NICU stay of at least a few weeks total while they work on feeding and growing. Brianna is recovering well and her and Fred are adjusting to the balance of life in the NICU while continuing to take care of Lennah, their 3 year old. They are currently taking time off of work during this time, and hope to return in a few weeks. From early on in the pregnancy, Brianna and Fred were told Ari had several issues that would need to be evaluated after birth- a spinal curvature in the thoracic region (trunk area), clubbed feet, possibly only one kidney, the end of his spinal cord could not be seen and it was unknown if he could move his legs, if he would ever walk, or if he would have control over his bowels and urination, and lastly, his ribs were too small, which may affect his breathing. As the pregnancy progressed, the news got much better, but nothing was ever certain. The doctors told them that Ari would still need to be evaluated after birth to see what really is going on. Ari was born at 3 pounds 3.5oz with perfectly moving legs, control of his bowels and urination, two kidneys, and ribs that are well sized for good breathing!! That was such amazing news to find out...truly a miracle! With that said, however, Ari still does have a spinal curvature and clubbed feet, which will require surgery, physical therapy, and casting to correct and in order to help him walk properly when he's older. These medical bills will quickly add up especially on top of their current NICU stay and insurance will not cover the majority of it.
Their journey to this day has been long and filled with a lot of pain and heartache, but God breathes life into each of us and he doesn't take this truth lightly! We are so thankful for a loving and gracious God that does not abandon us. Praise God for the miracles that have happened and pray with us for the the ones to come!!
A dear friend of Brianna's was able to be with her during the days events, here is her take on the day:
"My WONDERFUL, strong, amazing friend called me this past Wednesday, 8/23, just before 4 in the morning - her water had broken, at 32 weeks, her loving husband was on the other side of the country for work, and her 3-yr-old was still fast asleep. I launched out of bed, threw on the first thing I could find, grabbed a very confused Little Peach out of her crib, and hightailed it over there. After arguing briefly on whether I should run the red lights (the woman in LABOR being on the side of caution because there was a baby in the backseat...), we made it to the hospital and confirmed that her water had broken, and she would not be leaving that day. -A ton of crazy ups and downs (and really intense contractions) later- we get the news that: yes, the babies are coming; yes, we will be doing a C-section; and yes, this will all happen before Fred will make it to the hospital. I had the absolute honor of being in the OR, holding her hand, while this freaking warrior woman, delivered TWO beautiful, perfect little miracles. I heard them cry, I watched as they were each brought in, in turn, for Mama to meet them, and I sat, in awe, while the incredible medical staff at Anne Arundel Medical Center cared for my friend like she was the most important patient there. My little niece and nephew, Sloane Michelle (I'm not crying, YOU'RE crying!) and Ari Frederick, are absolutely beautiful and tough as nails like their mom. They are rocking the NICU, getting stronger everyday, and are just heart-meltingly sweet. Mama is recovering well, and taking everything in stride like the champion she is. Dad and big sister are just as wonderful and supportive as ever. I literally cannot gush enough about this family. I'm sharing this amazing, beautiful moment (pictured) with permission. What a tremendous blessing these people are to me and my family. I love you all. (And yes, I picked out those adorable hats for them) -Michelle Somers