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Bennet Neil's Story   — Jennifer V.

I went into labor on March 21st 1998. I was only 34.6 weeks along but I had been having preterm labor for 5 weeks so the doctor did an amnio and the baby's lungs were mature. Labor wasn't good at all. The baby's heart rate dropped numerous times so I was given extra oxygen. I also developed a fever during labor. At 7:30 p.m. Bennett Neil was born. The nurse handed me my beautiful baby boy, but after about 30 seconds he was taken from me, and was given oxygen. He just couldn't breathe. They thought it was because of his prematurity so they called for a life flight helicopter. Ben was flown to a N.I.C.U 100 miles away when he was 4 hours old. I wasn't allowed to leave until the next morning but the nurse did call me from the N.I.C.U when they arrived. They had to put Ben on a respirator as soon as they landed because he was so tired from trying to breathe that he gave up. They also put a I.V in his umbilical cord and he had about 5 medications started. When I got there at 10:30 the next morning he was hooked up to so many machines and he was in critical condition. The doctor said they hadn't seen a sicker baby in a very long time. Ben had medications to help him control his blood pressure, he had 3 doses of Survanta to help his lungs expand, and they had him on phenabarb and morphine to keep him calm. After a week they had to put a Subclavian I.V into a larger vein in his neck. His little veins just couldn't handle all the I.V's in them. During the surgery to put it in he lost alot of blood so he required 2 blood transfusions. Over the next week Ben was slowly weaned down from 100% oxygen to 28%, that's when he was taken off the respirator and put in a oxygen hood. I had thought that I'd be relieved when he came off the respirator but I was a nervous wreck! All I did was cry. I had relied on the respirator for 2 weeks to keep my son breathing and now he had to do the work on his own. It was touch and go for the first day but he made it! On April 3rd, 1998, Ben came off all extra oxygen. I was finally able to breastfeed my son. That didn't go very well, but what a joyous event it was! Ben slowly came off all his medications over the next 2 weeks and on April 20th, Ben came home! Today Ben is a healthy happy 11 month old. He is small for his age but the doctor said he will catch up in time. I thank God every day for the miracle he performed. He gave us our son back. I still cry on the 21st of every month. Its hard to get over something so traumatic as this. I cannot imagine what its like for the poor families who lose their babies to this horrible illness. I pray that soon there is a vaccination to protect all the little ones. I never want another family to have to go through this. Jennifer V. mother to Bennett.

GBS survivor 3-21-98

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