A few weeks ago, our Montclair studio posted a blog from one of their Classic Sessions that was titled "miracle baby." In the blog post, pictures slide by of a glowing and happy 14-month old and his loving parents. Little would you be able to guess from these photos that sweet Harrison has an amazing story to share and has come a very long way from his birth at just 27 weeks. A true "miracle baby," little Harrison spent 87 days (that's almost 3 months!) in the NICU before being allowed to finally come home.
Mom, Leslie, was kind enough to share their family's story (and a few photos) with us.
What is Harrison’s story?
I gave birth to Harrison Douglas DeBello at 27 weeks and 5 days, due to severe preeclampsia. Harrison was born at just 1 lb 10 oz and only 13 inches long. He then went on to spend the next 3 months in the NICU at St Barnabas Medical Center. When I originally chose SBMC to deliver, I had no idea that they were nationally ranked for their NICU. We never imagined that our decision was going to be what saved our miracle baby.
What was the hardest part about his 87 days in the NICU?
The entire 87 days was hard, but were especially difficult in the beginning. We were devastated and had to face the fact that we had to wait almost a week just to hold our baby for the first time. We had so many fears for our Micro preemie and what his future held. We had to wash our hands for 2 minutes straight just to sit next to our tiny baby in a giant incubator. I was still recovering from an emergency C-section. It was so hard to even look at him at first because his skin was so thin, so I would just focus on the parts that were easy for me---like his tiny feet. I loved them. They were so cute and perfect! I would spend my entire day next to him, reading books + poetry and singing him songs while I stared at those feet.
Were there any moments that are most memorable to you?
So much was memorable to me! We celebrated every ounce he gained and milestones like being able to hold him for the first time, Harrison taking a bottle for the first time, being able to wear clothes, and eventually going to room air instead of oxygen. In the NICU, every 2 steps forward also means 1 step backwards, so the process was never just smooth sailing. Luckily, we were surrounded by amazing staff at SBMC. They would celebrate with us on the good days, comfort us on the bad and help us see the silver lining during a really rough road!
What was it like bringing him home for the first time?
For most moms, the day their baby is born is the best day of their life. For me, it was the scariest. The day that Harrison came home---THAT was one of the best days of my life! We didn't sleep at all because we couldn't believe we were finally bringing this precious baby home. The nurses at St Barnabas were so amazing. They carefully trained Steve and I to be as prepared as possible to be bring home a preemie. We cleaned the house every 10 minutes for fear of dust or any dirt! We had to stay home on isolation until after Flu season ended. It didn't matter. We were over the moon to be stuck at home with our baby instead of spending our days in the cold Hospital.
What 3 words would best describe Harrison now?
Silly, busy, and loving!
What does he enjoy doing most?
He loves to play with blocks, balls, climbing and getting into everything in our house!
Why did you chose now to get your photos taken @ Little Nest?
We wanted to share with everyone how far he has come (at 14 months!). And c'mon. He's just sooooo handsome!!
Anything else you’d like to share?
We really wish we had taken a picture with this little yellow hat that was the first hat he wore in NICU bc now it's about the size of Harrison's hands. It really shows how little he was and how far he has come!
Pictured below: Harrison shortly after he was born in the NICU (left) and Harrison at a happy and healthy 4 months old. Photo Credit: Harrison's Mom
Here at Little Nest Portraits, our Montclair studio was so happy to be able to share in the celebration of Harrison and his family. He has come so far in his short 14 months and we look forward to watching this happy and healthy boy to continue to grow.
Special thanks to Leslie + Harrison for sharing their story.
Do you have a unique story to share? Please let us know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.