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Harrison's Story

Twenty weeks into her first pregnancy, Stacey Bulloch and her husband, Rob, went in for an ultrasound and were told that their baby meaured small. A more detailed, follow-up ultrasound offered possible explanations—including intrauterine growth restriction or dwarfism, but no definitive answer. Additional testing ruled out any fatal abnormalities.

“Our doctors couldn’t really say for sure why our baby wasn’t growing,” Stacey says. “They just said we needed to keep him in there as long as possible, and we’d know more about any issues once he was born.”

At 28 weeks, Stacey was admitted to the hospital for monitoring because there were problems with blood flow through the umbilical cord. Doctors told her and Rob that they might need to deliver the baby, but after a week in the hospital, Stacey was sent home on bed rest. She continued her thrice weekly doctors’ appointments until her 31st week.

“It was the Friday of my 31st week and I went in for my regular appointment,” Stacey recalls. “The doctor said that babies have died from the type of blood flow issue we were experiencing and it was time to deliver. I had an emergency C-section and Harrison was born on Oct. 5, 2012. He weighed 2 pounds, 3 ounces.”

Fortunately for the Bullochs, who live in Naples, there was an opening in the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). “Before I had my C-section, the nurses called the NICU to see if there were any openings—thankfully a baby was being discharged and that opened a spot for us,” Stacey says. “Otherwise, we would have had to go to St. Pete or Miami.”

Harrison was in the NICU for two months. Throughout that time, Stacey made at least two, and sometimes three, trips a day to the hospital. “I wanted to be there for the morning touch times, and I would drive back to Naples to pick up Rob for the evening touch times,” she says. “It was a lot of driving, but definitely worth it. Especially when we were able to finally hold him two weeks after he was born—that is a moment Rob and I will never forget.”

Throughout his time in the NICU, Harrison didn’t have any major setbacks—no infections, surgeries or breathing issues. “We stacked good days on top of good days,” Stacey says. “Then, on Dec. 5—which happened to be my original due date—we were able to take him home. He weighed 5 pounds, 3 ounces, so he was still small, but he didn’t require any oxygen or other special treatments.”

When she thinks back on her family’s experience in the NICU, Stacey says she is grateful for the dedication of the nurses and doctors. “The NICU is an emotionally charged place,” she says. “I commend all of the staff because they never know what they’re walking into when they approach a family. Emotions change minute to minute, but the staff understands that and maintains their professionalism, compassion, kindness and positivity.”

Stacey says that Harrison, who recently had his 15-month checkup, is growing, healthy and happy. “He is doing spectacularly,” she says. “We are so fortunate. You never think something like this will happen to you—that this would become your story. Now, it seems so far away. But, we will never forget our experience and will be forever grateful.”

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