"Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to you, each other, your children, your grand-children and others throughout the generations. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events." --President Spencer W. Kimball

January 29, 2013

On the Wall

When my baby Katea was born, she spent 134 days in the NICU.....that's almost 5 months.  In the time that she was there, I went to the NICU every single day....sometimes more than once a day....never ever missed one single day!  To get to some of the rooms in the NICU you have to walk down this hall, and on the wall in that hall they a bunch of frames with before and after pictures and stories of preemies who had been there before.  I loved that wall.  I called it the miracle wall.  The wall of hope.  Some of the stories on that wall had miraculous endings, some not so happy.  Everyone had different trials and struggles and different successes, but those stories were real and true and those were babies and families who had been in the exact position that I was in at that moment.  Ova and I stopped at the wall several times throughout our time there, just looking at the pictures and reading their stories and getting hope.....we always wanted our little girl to be on that wall.

Last month when I was taking baby Katea to one of her appointements, we stopped by the NICU to see if we could see any of our nurses, and Tricia came out.  Tricia is one of my good friends from the NICU.  She had a preemie daughter, who is 12 years old now....and she has dedicated her time to giving back.  She, with another lady, Kathie, started up Common Bonds.  A support group made up of parents who had been through the NICU experience and wanted to help others by giving hope.  She's such an amazing woman and I can't say enough about her.  She helped me a lot!  She came out to the hall and played with baby Katea for a little bit and then she asked me if I would let Katea be on the wall.  At first it didn't click at what she was asking, but as she started explaining to me what she needed from me, I realized that she meant THE WALL....the NICU wall...the miracle wall....the wall of hope.  My heart smiled as I said yes, so happy that we'd be able to share our story and hopefully help give hope to the NICU families that would come....like those on that wall did for us!  :)

I typed up our story, sent in some pictures......and a little while later Tricia picture texted me these pictures:


Thank you Tricia for giving us the opportunity to share our story on the wall.....Thank you to the NICU nurses who loved and cared for our baby girl.....Thank you to our little miracle Katea for your strength and fight! 
We are so blessed!
Here's the story that's up on that wall:
Kalolaine Katea Fangupo
Our daughter Katea was born at 24w5d, weighing 1lb.12oz. I was pregnant with twins, two girls, but had complications throughout my whole pregnancy due to a subchrionic hematoma. Half way through my pregnancy my baby Cindy's heart stopped beating and shortly after that my body tried to reject her fetus and I went into labor. At 22w my water broke and I was admitted to the hospital until further notice. I had to go through that very difficult conversation with the Neonatalogist about how my baby Katea was still really early and probably wouldn't survive either. If she did survive, I was told she could face some serious mental or developmental delays or issues. That conversation was probably the hardest one I've had in my life. Thankfully, they were able to stop my contractions and my precious little miracle Katea held on for those 2 critical weeks that got her to the 24 week mark and she made her debut on September 26th, 2011 at 24w5d. Baby Katea came into this world so tiny, but so so strong. We call her our little miracle, because that is what she is. When all odds were stacked against her, she showed them who was boss! We were so blessed that she didn't suffer any ventricular hemmorages, and that her little heart was developed and beating. But obviosuly, being born so early, her lungs were not completely developed and that is where she's had the majority of her struggles. She was intubated for the first couple months of her life and it took her 4 1/2 months to strengthen her little lungs as she moved from one type of support to a lesser type of support until finally, after 134 days in the IMC NICU, she was able to go home. The NICU was not easy at all, and it really was that emotional rollercoaster ride that everyone warned us about, but we are grateful for it! Katea went home on oxygen and a monitor and she really needed the additional oxygen support throughout her first year of life. Her eyes were not fully mature when she was born, and she did develop some ROP, but with time that has healed itself. She is 15 months old now and she's amazing! She still has some struggles with her lungs and has had to be hospitalized a few times since leaving the NICU because of it, but she always fights her way through it. She's completely off oxygen now and has been for 3 months. She's reaching the milestones of her adjusted age and with every milestone she meets, it's a huge celebration! We understand how lucky and blessed we are that she is alive and we are aware of the progress that she makes every single day. We would like to thank the IMC NICU staff for everything they did for our little miracle. She wouldn't be here with us, doing as well as she is if it wasn't for them, they are true miracle workers!  


shaunita said...

How wonderful to now be on the giving end of the NICU. Katea's story is so amazing and surely will inspire many parents dealing with huge struggles.

sarah said...

That's great! Glad Katea's story is one with a miraculous ending :) Her/your story is so inspiring!