Guest mom Megan wrote in to share the inspiring journey her family has been on since the fall of 2017. Here is what she wanted to share with you:

“Promise me you’ll always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and loved more than you’ll ever know.”

This very quote hangs in the nursery of our NICU graduate, Kasey.

On October 14, 2017, our lives changed for forever. After a restless night of what I thought was just back pain, at only 29 weeks along, I found myself in Kettering Medical Centers labor and delivery department. This was our first child, so we had zero idea what to expect. Our pregnancy had already been a roller coaster of emotions because at our 10-week ultrasound, we found out that our child had a rare birth defect called an omphalocele that would require closure surgery at Cincinnati Children’s shortly after birth. We had been working with Dr. Lim and the Fetal Care Center planning our little warrior’s arrival, but little did we know all those plans would shortly go awry on this one October morning. Kasey’s heart tones began to drop, and we were rushed to an emergency C-section. Kasey Grant Albrecht was born at 8:29am.

The number one thing that stuck out to me as I was learning about birth was “Listen for that first cry. That’ll be the telltale sign everything is okay!” As I laid on that operating table, I waited and waited for that cry…the one that never came. Kasey ended up having to be resuscitated and put on a ventilator. I honestly don’t remember much from that day, and I’m not sure whether that’s the exhaustion, the meds, or my brain simply trying to delete a traumatic memory, but I do remember how I felt as I returned to my room without my baby boy. Empty. After being stabilized, Kasey was transported to Cincinnati Children’s where I finally got to meet our precious miracle for the first time after three days of life.

The overwhelming nature of the situation took over as we tried to comprehend what challenges our sweet baby boy would face. All the wires, the tubing, and the tape were the new obstacles set before us as we tried to learn how to love our baby boy-medical style. Our nurses became family and our doctors became mentors. As our NICU stay progressed it seemed like the diagnoses poured out like a leaky faucet. Brain bleed, Cystic PVL, chronic lung disease, possible Cerebral Palsy, hearing loss, Beckwith Wiedemann Syndrome and the list went on. As each new challenge fell into our laps, we felt the weight of the world get heavier and heavier. I can honestly say to witness the strength of a baby born too soon, who goes up against life with every breath, is truly one of the most miraculous things I have ever witnessed.

We quickly realized Cincinnati would become our second home. Since we are from Dayton, that put an hour commute between us and the hospital. We knew that with half of our heart being in Cincinnati, us being apart just wasn’t an option.

Back in 2011, I had the opportunity to perform with the Hand2Hand Acrobatic troupe and serve at the Ronald McDonald House. Here I was creating some “normalcy” for parents currently staying there and little did I know fast forward six years, I would be on the other end of it. My husband was finishing his degree at Ohio University, so weekends were our only option to be together. I remember the feeling I had as I stepped into the Ronald House for my first night like it was yesterday. I was at my lowest point and they met me exactly where I was. Not only did I not get to bring my baby home from the hospital, home wasn’t an option for me anymore, either. I was completely out of my element, scared and in a new city. The staff did everything they could to make sure I felt welcomed. I couldn’t believe all the blessings this place offered for their families- free of charge. As a medical parent you often tend to put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list. The needs of your child reign superior even if that means you don’t shower, sleep, or eat at all that day. I can’t tell you how much it meant to have a home cooked meal ready for me, served with a smile.

Our NICU stay lasted for 173 Days- a long and trying six months. After months and months on the ventilator, multiple surgeries, a G-tube, and countless tears, our baby was finally able to come home in April of 2018. Kasey currently follows up with many of the clinics here at Children’s and is beating odds people never thought he would. In sharing our story, we hope to give you reassurance that you are not alone in your journey with your little ones. Our beautiful miracles are making strides and defying odds daily. Hold tight to the truth that prayer is powerful and brighter days are soon to come!

~ Albrecht Family

Their journey was not easy, but for families like Kasey’s, there is no choice but to do everything necessary to get life-saving medical care. By being together and just steps away from this expert care, our House helps make this possible. You can be the reason children like Kasey are beating the odds with a gift today.