Three Little Birds

Story of 3 little birds and one who soared above us all.

World Prematurity Day

I honor of world prematurity day today, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to all the doctors and nurses who kept our babies alive and helped them all celebrate their second birthday. I will forever be grateful to my perinatologists at St. Luke’s who were able to stop my labor at 27 weeks and helped the babies cook until they reached 32 weeks. Even at that point they were 2 months early and had it not been for the excellent care they received as they were delivered and then at St. Luke’s and Children’s Mercy NICU, they may have had a very different outcome. We can never thank all our wonderful NICU nurses either who work long days saving the tiniest and most precious patients of all and provide the love and care our babies need for 24 hours a day until they are big and strong enough to face the world.

Hard to believe it’s been 2 years since we welcomed these little babies into our lives. What a birthday they had. Note: photos may not be for the faint of heart.

Baby A: Wyatt. Our beef cake at 4lbs 6 oz and 16.5 inches. He had an Apgar of 1 initially and had to be resuscitated with a breathing tube and brief chest compressions (10 is a pink screaming wiggling baby, 0 is a pale or blue baby with no heart rate, not breathing and limp) Wyatt had a slow heart rate and that was it. The excellent team of doctors and nurses revived our little man and he was bright eyed and breathing tube free in a few days. After 6 weeks in the NICU, he was home just in time for Christmas 2009.  He’s now our 23 pound, ABC singing and drumming little charmer.

His very first picture.

Hanging out in his incubator or as we referred to it as his little Snoopy house.


Baby B: Ava weight 3lbs, 10 oz. 16 inches. She had an Apgar of 4 and was my only one to make a quiet little squeak once entering the world. She was able to have her breathing tube removed after a few days as well. After 7 weeks in the NICU, she was able to come home with an apnea monitor on New Year’s Eve. She surprised us with a cleft palate and had a longer stay due to reflux and learning to drink from her special bottle. Ava is also our 23 pounder chattering and singing toddler full of sugar and spice and most things nice, although I do believe she got the amount of spice for 2 little girls.


Baby C: Lydia Grace, our little fighter who continues to be our miracle girl, 3lbs 7 ounces, 16 inches. I saw her dancing legs kicking as they whisked her away to her own team designated for Baby C. She too was given an Apgar of 1 and they had a very difficult time being able to get a breathing tube in her. After discovering her likely esophageal atresia, she was taken to Children’s Mercy that afternoon and had her first surgery on day of life 1 for a stomach perforation that happened when they were resuscitating her. 734 days, 2 hospitals, 5 ICU’s and 23 surgeries later, she’s now home in time for a belated birthday celebration and Thanksgiving. While her life and surgical treatments have not gone as planned or hoped, we are blessed to have our little surprise Baby C in our lives. She makes us smile and still talk in high pitched cooing voices. I think Lydia got double the sugar of two little girls and only a small dash of spice. Must have been another strange identical twin splitting thing.

The first and only picture of her without any surgical scars.

Lydia with her new snuggle buddy Sugar Bear, back when her preemie size diapers went up to her arm pits.




  1. David

    Hi ajjohnston or forgive me the way I call you,

    My name is David, living in Alberta Canada. Please forgive me to bless you how lovely your baby comes back home now.

    I found your post dated 2009/12/08, which talked about TEF on your baby. This problem (esophagus atresia) falls on my newborn son today – Nov 18 2011. It totally stunned my wife and myself when the doctor came to see us 5 hours after delivery. My first son was borne 8 yrs ago, pretty good. Right now I need your advice, please.

    What I want to know from you are as follows:

    1) what complications have happened so far to your baby which are associated with surgical repair? how bad are they? how to prevent them happening?
    2)recurrence of fistula so far?
    3)how to prevent gastric acid corrosion after surgery? any difficulties in feeding or chest problems? how do you tell if the baby have the feeding problem resulting from the surgery?

    Any positive response and contribution are very appreciated. Further confidential response can be sent to my email ( Private discuss on the phone (provided on further email contact) is 1000 times appreciated.


  2. Sarah Freund

    Thank you for sharing pics and stories of your amazing family. It’s so wonderful and helps re-affirm why we do the things we do.

    Sarah Freund

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