Fight for Preemies

ambassador-family1You never know how many red cars are on the road until you’re driving one yourself.  My darling husband’s colleague told him that the day after our son was born six years ago and the truth of those words have stuck with us ever since.


Birth is supposed to be kisses and hugs.  Family celebrating together.  Harmony.  But for my family it was complete chaos.  Anguish.  Doom.  Tubes and wires, bells and needles – a baby born much too soon struggling to survive in a hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).  When I was only 23-weeks pregnant, I went into pre-term labor and was forced to deliver our Joshua.  He weighed one pound and eleven ounces and was very sick.  Doctors weren’t sure if he would make it.

My life had always been according to plan.  One minute I was having a healthy pregnancy, the next minute I was in pre-term labor.  All of a sudden I was in uncharted territory, completely out of my element, and never more terrified in my life.  I couldn’t grasp how the perfectionist in me failed to produce a perfect baby and a perfect family.  In an instant my life was turned upside down.  I woke up on a roller coaster and it was anything but a thrill ride.  My emotions went from terror – seeing my son for the first time in an isolette, a tiny protoplasmic being through a maze of tubes and tape; to remorse – how could I let this happen?  To sorrow – what does the future hold for my son?  As soon as I finally let go of the shock and denial and accepted Joshua’s situation my maternal instinct kicked in and my deep-rooted family values emerged.  I began a mission – together with my husband – we felt like we had to battle the impossible but we went into full on battle mode and fought harder than we ever fought before.  We wanted our son to have every chance in life.

These days our society is so busy.  Life is oftentimes so trivial.  Many people are just trying to make it through the day.  Our story could happen to any family.  In fact it does.  And that’s when we realized how many other red cars are on the road.

My experience the past six years has been a fascinating study of women and their steadfast role in their family.  Preemie moms are some of the strongest women I know in our society today.  To have to endure something as frightening as your baby faltering on the brink of survival and to watch all the pain he has to suffer to stay alive is a true test.  But my Joshua taught me so much and wow did he enrich not just my life but so many others, too.  And he continues to do so every single day.  I learned how to cope.  I learned how strength oftentimes comes from the unexpected and how in times of great fear you must do the thing you cannot do.  I learned how everything is a state of mind and I can get there by believing that nothing is impossible. 

Follow us as we travel around the country fighting for preemies at Josh Fights for Preemies blog.

By: Melanie Hoffman, 2010 Ambassador Mom

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One Response to “Fight for Preemies”

  1. Marilyn Campbell Says:

    Wow, to see your story brings back so many memories. On May 9th, 2005 my daughter, Melonie Hoffman went into premature labor. She was in her 25th week of pregnancy. At 8:45 am she delivered a 1 lb. 12 oz. baby girl (Ella) by C-section. She was 15 weeks and 2 days from her due date. The next 3 months and 3 weeks were spent in the NICU in Shreveport, La. Ella had heart surgery and laser eye surgery. She also had a brain bleed. On July 12, 2005 my daughter and her husband were driving to Shreveport to be with Ella during her eye surgery and they were involved in a car accident. Melonie was in the hospital for the next 5 days with broken ribs and a broken leg. Fortunately her husband was not injured. They brought Ella home on her due date, August 24, 2005. On September 28th she was flown back to Shreveport and had intestinal surgery for a blockage in her intestines. She recovered quickly and they were back home in 5 days. One year later in August 2006 she received a brain stint. Since that surgery she has progressed. She is a precious little girl who loves pink and ddressing up. She does wear glasses. She has some trouble with walking and hopefully with therapy that will improve.

    I had to share our story with you.

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