A Jumpstart At Life
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A Jumpstart At Life

How the neonatal intensive care unit changed my life.

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A Jumpstart At Life
Kennith Everett

There have not been many times that I can recall in my life where I have completely been inspired to just be an all-around better person. It was not until I was shown how amazing life can be and how enriching new life is that I made the decision to just give it my all and just be great.

For a 19-year-old college student that already has two brothers both six years apart on each end, 25 and 13, finding out that I had another sibling on the way was a little shocking. In between midterms and freshly living on my own in a new city, the last thing I was worrying about was babies — but still, there is something exciting about getting a fresh chance at being a big brother again.

I remember asking my mother on a visit back home, “How did that, um, happen?”

“You’re in college, you should know where babies come from,” said my mother.

What I was implying was that my mother was 43 years old and it was honestly shocking that she was having another baby. I asked myself constantly if I thought I would be jealous of the new baby, but I was honestly just too old for that kind of internal dialogue.

My main concern was for my mother because I was perfectly aware that pregnancies later in life can be very risky for women, and my mom is my best friend.

She assured me that she and baby would be fine and felt a relief that only could come from hearing her say it.

Between 18 credit hours and two jobs, I was completely unaware of the passing time and could only wrap my head around deadlines and making it to work on time. I always amazed myself with how I could manage to maintain contact with anyone and function with three hours of sleep, the never-ending waterfall of coursework and customers to deal with but I always made sure to call my mother every chance I could get to check in and let her know that I was still alive and have not dropped out of school — yet!

What Do You Mean the Baby is Coming?

I have this terrible habit of never planning for anything because life and I have a very awkward relationship. Anytime I plan for something it just happens without me being ready for it and that was exactly how my baby sibling decided to make his entrance into the world.

Being nervous is not an emotion I am used to feeling, but my mother was not supposed to be in labor yet, the baby was not supposed to make his grand entrance yet!

He is coming too soon — not in the sense that I was not ready for him to be here, none of us were. He was not due for another two and a half months.

This is one of the major concerns with women in their 40s getting pregnant because “1 out 10 babies [carried after 40] are born too early and almost 1 million children die each year due to complications of preterm birth,” according to World Health Organization.

My thoughts became incredibly intrusive and I had no idea what was going on. So I naturally began to panic because I had absolutely no idea what the baby being born almost three entire months too early meant for the baby or my mother, my best friend.

I began to research about women giving birth in their 40's and premature births and that was the biggest mistake I could have made because all of the statistics and data looked so grim.

It is very easy to let your mind wander to places unimaginable when you have gotten absolutely no sleep, but I had to know what to prepare myself for.

It’s a Boy!

On April 18, 2014 at 3:50 AM, Ethan Alexander Bergstrom made his grand entrance. His stats were 17 ½ inches, three lbs and 7.25 ounces.

He made it and both he and mom were healthy and OK.

Although Ethan was now here in all his glory, his battle was not yet done. Ethan was born in Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, in Marietta, where his angels in scrubs were there to transfer him to his temporary home in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

The NICU department was where I met my little brother for the first time. It was completely uncanny how small he was. He was attached to so many different monitors so that the neonatal nurses could monitor his health at all times.

I wanted to cry at the sight of all the technology that was created to keep babies, just like my little brother, alive.

“About 4 million newborns around the world die within the first 28 days of their lives each year. Low birth weight contributes to between 40 and 70 percent of these deaths,” according to the International Center for Advancing Neonatal Health.

It is a reminder of the miracle work that the hospital does at the very top of the hospital’s website. A reminder that the nurses and doctors that work around the clock to keep our little hero strong and healthy deserve so much appreciation.

How is Ethan?

I could not have fathomed that such a small human could have affected me and my family so much. There is something so incredibly cool knowing that my little brother started his life in this world with a disadvantage and he pushed through it to bring joy into all of our lives.

How could I not want to be the best just for him? He is my inspiration in life if I never had inspiration before. Ethan is a cool little guy with enough personality to fill a room. It is incredibly amazing that I got the chance to experience a series of events so life altering all because of this little department called “Nickyou.”

Ethan has made progress that is developmentally outstanding. He wants to be completely independent already and he celebrated his 2nd birthday this April of 2016.

Life works out for the best sometimes because just when I felt like giving up on school, this little guy comes along and I’m graduating fall 2016 with my Bachelor of Science degree.

So I guess it is safe to say that Ethan Alexander Bergstrom, you are my hero and because of you I will in turn be your inspiration to grow up to be great.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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