Ronnie's Early Start
From the very beginning, Ronnie was a fighter. His mother, Nikki, was admitted to the hospital in her 27th week of pregnancy due to preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. Doctors planned to keep Nikki in the hospital until she hit 32 weeks, and then deliver her baby. However, her complications continued and at one point, Ronnie’s heart rate dropped so low that a nurse jumped onto Nikki’s bed and began shaking her stomach. It became clear that it was time to deliver. Ronnie entered the world at exactly 28 weeks – Nikki’s fifth child and fifth premature baby.
Nikki and her husband Ron were no strangers to the NICU, having spent a collective total of 100 days there with their four older children. When Ronnie headed there after his birth, they soon had to decide how to feed him. Nikki did not feel comfortable pumping for him, as she was on blood pressure medication and worried how that could affect her son. Formula also seemed like a risky choice for his fragile state. After much thought, the family put their faith in donor milk. “We are so blessed to have had this choice,” Nikki said.
Ronnie needed help breathing for the first six weeks of his life – he used a CPAP for a month, followed by a nasal cannula for two weeks. He had a hole in his heart that closed after about four months, and while he had the beginning stages of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), the condition resolved after about five months. After 66 days in the NICU, Ronnie joined his family at home.
He received physical therapy to help with developmental delays and is now happy and healthy. Nikki believes that donor milk provided Ronnie with the right foundation and nutrition he needed to grow. “Ronnie flourished in the NICU and had no issues like NEC or other digestion problems, which allowed his body to fight for his life,” she said.
Donor moms, in Nikki’s opinion, are true angels. “I am so thankful for each and every drop they donate,” she said. “They are the most selfless and generous women in the world!”