Jeremy and Pamela Hansen’s miracle son, Jayce, was born at 29 weeks weighing a whopping 2 pounds 10 ounces. It all started at the end of September, when Pamela woke up during the night in a pool of blood in bed. Terrified, she was put into the hospital for several days to stop the bleeding and monitor the baby. The doctors were never able to give them an answer as to why Pamela was bleeding, but she was put on bed rest and sent home. On October 14, they got what they thought was the worst news ever in their lives, Pamela was 3 cm dilated and needed to get to the hospital ASAP. The doctors tried everything they could to stop the delivery, but she kept progressing, so they gave her a steroid shot to help the lungs of the baby develop faster. She was air lifted from Kearney to UNMC in Omaha, which was a scary trip because she was now dilated to 4-5 cm and even the flight nurse was not 100 percent sure they would get to Omaha before delivering the baby, but they made it and had a team of doctors and nurses waiting.
Thankfully, Pamela had an aunt and uncle that live in Omaha and they were there waiting for her so they could be her support team while waiting for Jeremy to drive to Omaha, which is about 4 hours from Kearney. Her family prayed and prayed for her to keep incubating at least one more day, so she could receive the second and last steroid shot to help mature Jayce’s lungs, which she did. On the morning of October 16 she was dilated to 7-8 cm and the staff prepared for delivery as quickly as possible. As Pamela was pushing, her aunt was helping the doctor get tied up, the NICU team was setting up in the other room, and the team of other nurses and doctors were by Pamela’s side helping her and doing what they do best. At 6:16 pm, she delivered a 2 pound 10 ounce, 15 inch long crying baby boy – Jayce.
Pamela said, “The crying was the best part of that moment. The doctors and nurses congratulated me on the birth of my son with smiles so big, that it helped me a little, seeing smiles and not straight faces or frowns like something was wrong. As a mother you think about the moment your baby is born and you get to kiss them and have them lay on you, but when you have a premature baby, that thought is shattered. That special moment of getting to hold your child for the first time is replaced with getting to see your child in an isolette about 10 feet away and rushed off to the NICU while you have to stay in bed. Talk about a stab to your heart.”
As the hours passed, Pamela was finally able to go the NICU and see her son. She saw a very tiny baby covered in monitors with an IV in his head, monitors going off, and nurses and doctors going in and out of the room. Once they got Jayce assessed and settled in, it was time for Pamela to get him some nutrition, but her body wasn’t ready for that job yet. That’s when she met Abby, the March of Dimes NICU Family Support Specialist, who lined up some help for Pamela. Abby was a great cheerleader for her to stay pumping.
The second week they got to “kangaroo” with Jayce (hold him skin to skin on their chest). Pamela shared, “That feeling of holding your child is AMAZING. I felt like my prayers were being answered. I felt like a mother. You don’t realize how blessed you are to be able to take your child home from the hospital and being able to hold them for hours upon hours, until you don’t get that perfect world. When we got to hold our son for 30 minuets a day, we felt like the luckiest parents in the world and we thanked God and the doctors and nurses for taking amazing care of our son so he could grow and stay healthy.”
As the days and nights passed, Jeremy and Pamela sat in Jayce’s room watching monitors, helping with care, meeting new nurses, and watching Jayce move and grow inside the isolette. They would talk to Abby daily and she really got to know them and became like part of their family. She was there for the good days and the bad days. During the week, Pamela would meet with a group from the NICU that Abby led. She met other parents and realized she was not the only one feeling the way she did. The group gatherings really helped her when Jeremy had to go back home, because he was out of vacation and leave time. She also learned to crochet and made a hat for Jayce that he would be able to wear. During those weeks, Jayce had a series of setbacks including bradycardias, MRSA and anemia requiring blood transfusions. Once again, Abby was there to help get them all the information they needed.
Pamela never thought she would have to leave the hospital without Jayce, but on Novmeber 16 she had to. She remembers it being the worst feeling ever. She said, “I was in such a daily routine, I didn’t know how to live any other way. I cried the whole four hours home from Omaha and called the hospital every hour and checked my phone all the time, in case I missed a phone call. Jeremy and I worked Monday - Thursday and then went to Omaha Friday- Sunday. I cried all the time, because it was my worst fear that something would happen and I was hundreds of miles away and couldn’t see him in those four days I had to be home working. We are so blessed to have had the best nurses and doctors that understood why I called ever hour on the hour.”
December 13 was a day that was both bittersweet and wonderful. They said goodbye to the wonderful nurses, Abby and other staff members. Pamela said, “We cried because they all had become a big family to us and had been our backbone for all that we had been through! We are so thankful for the nurses, doctors, their knowledge of children and medicine, March of Dimes, and Abby for being there for us and full of information when we needed it. Not only was Abby a staff member, but she was a friend to us and especially to me when I was alone at the hospital with Jayce.”
Pamela and Jeremy said they will always be grateful for all that March of Dimes did for them. They will also always be a part of March for Babies in Nebraska and help fundraise, because it helps support prenatal wellness programs, research grants, newborn intensive care unit (NICU) family support programs, and advocacy efforts for stronger healthier babies. Their family knows all too well how critical these programs are to families with preemies.