It isn’t always that one hears about touching stories that happen only in the movies. Today I want to share with you what happened on 8/11/15.
Mayor Gary Bruhn of Windermere scheduled a town council meeting and invited Rosie Moore, founder of The Gift of Life to do a proclamation of The Gift of Life Day in Windermere on Sept 12 2015. This means that every resident in Windermere should know that on this day there is needed support for parents of premature babies and their babies. The town of Windermere is invited to the annual gala called A Night at the Tropicana , The Gift of Life Charity Gala, to raise funds for this worthwhile organization.
As the guests were awaiting the proclamation, at the town council meeting, Rosie was speaking with parent Staci Bradshaw, long time resident in Windermere and her daughter Olivia, who is 24 years old and a preemie herself, born at 23 weeks , 1lb 7oz. On this day there was a police induction taking place as well after the proclamation. The officer and his family were present. In speaking with Staci, it was made known to us that the police officer and his wife had a premature baby themselves. This is a little bit of history of what happened on this day before we get in to the touching story.
After the proclamation and the induction, Rosie, Staci, Olivia, Nikki( new preemie mom) and her mother in law were talking and enjoying the miracle of life, their baby boy looking great after being born 2 months early. Staci shared her daughter’s story. She let us know that Olivia was born at 23 weeks ( 17 weeks early) she was 1lb 7 oz. She shared with us that the doctors called her on three separate occasions and told her to plan Olivia’s funeral because she would not make it. It was no surprise how many times the hospital would called Staci to come in asap to the NICU to say their good byes to Olivia. Staci got to the point where baby Olivia had been poked, prodded, tested, and just plain suffering in pain and could not stand it anymore. She requested a meeting with the neonatal team to see what could be done. There were days that Olivia was not even weighed because she dropped below a pound in weight. They all looked at Staci and stated we are doing the best we can but we agree, if she survives, she will be completely disabled and suffer more. Staci decided with the entire team of doctors to disconnect the life support and let Olivia pass on peacefully in to the arms of Jesus.
AT this meeting, one Doctor, stood up, and said, wait. There is a new medication and some new procedures for preemies that are on double ventilators that have not been tried. Please give me two weeks to be able to try it and if in two weeks she is not improved, we will disconnect the life support. Staci agreed to the treatment and Olivia started improving within a few days, a few weeks later she got off one ventilator the jet, which is awful because it is a constant vibration to the body and if you are in pain, this can be traumatic. She finally got off the ventilator and was breathing on Cpap and oxygen. This doctor saved Olivia’s life, she was able to come home on oxygen, tube feedings and medications. But she survived. The 24 years was a challenge as Olivia received speech , physical and occupational therapy and multiple doctor’s visits as well as getting through school, but she made it!
Someone gave Olivia a chance. Staci spoke about not having support to get through this other than her mom and her husband. She always said in her heart, one day I shall have to visit with this doctor, but like all parents of preemies life gets the better of you in busyness.
As Staci was sharing her story, Nikki,’s mother in law asked which Dr was this and which hospital. At the time it was called Arnold Palmer for children and she mentioned the doctor was Dr Linda Slater Myer. She said “oh my, she is one of my best friends.” She immediately text her and took a picture to show her . Dr Slater Myer replied back to her and she could not believe it. She dialed her number and gave the phone to Staci, Olivia’s mom to speak. Staci had tears of joy at being able to talk to the woman who saved her daughter’s life. After 24 years to be able to say thank you, what a rewarding thing for Dr Slater Myer and for Staci mother of preemie Olivia. We hope one day that we can continue this story through a reunion. Dr Slater-Myer is now in a hospital in NJ. Was this a coincidence? I don’t believe so, you see here is another twist. Founder Rosie Moore of The Gift of Life, was an OB nurse in the high risk unit at a hospital in NJ, but where Dr Slater- Myer currently works, is the hospital where Rosie Moore received her training in Nursing school.
This is a miracle that through an article in the West Orange Times on The Gift of Life, Staci found Rosie Moore, founder for The Gift of Life, and through Rosie she came to the Windermere town meeting for the proclamation and met the friend of the Doctor who saved her daughter’s life.
So today give someone a chance, support a parent of a premature baby, support a baby born too early…there are many Olivia’s in the world, but they don’t always have as happy an ending as this…..step out in faith come out to The Charity Gala on 9/12/15. Buy your tickets here