In the meantime, thought I'd share the following article that ran in today's Orlando Sentinel:
Florida Children's Hospital reunion in Orlando celebrates preemies
When Jennifer Kupiec's water broke in a hotel room just 22 weeks into her pregnancy, her Disney vacation took a frightening turn.
"My family was a thousand miles away," the Ohio woman said.
And then after her new son was born, the doctors at Florida Children's Hospital said his chances of survival were not good.
But yesterday, Kupiec, 36, held her healthy 15-month-old son, Kyle, at a reunion for former neonatal intensive-care patients and their families. The safari-themed party at Orlando Junior Academy -- complete with a moon bounce, crafts, clowns and a disc jockey -- gave patients and their families a chance to share their stories and reunite with their former doctors and nurses.
Kupiec flew in for the event out of appreciation for the care her son received. In February, they also visited the hospital for Kyle's first birthday.
"It just didn't seem right celebrating in Ohio," she said.
The hospital hosted a similar reunion six years ago. The plan was to host one every year, but the hospital never had the money. This year, hospital officials made sure to free up $5,000 for the party, plus an additional $2,000 in donations.
"We wanted to tell the families, 'Hey, we still care about you,' " said Wanda Perara, administrative nurse manager of the neonatal intensive-care unit.
Since the unit opened in 1983, it has treated nearly 11,000 babies, most of them premature. But full-term babies born with life-threatening diseases also are taken in.
Neonatologist Jim Rawlings said he has bonded with many of his patients and their families.
Dr. Jim Rawlings visits with former patients Kyle Kupiec and Rylee Davis
Her story, she said, was harrowing: she got sick with cholestasis, a liver disorder, and had to deliver John Michael by emergency Cesarean section 29 weeks into her pregnancy.