It’s his first ‘real’ Christmas |

It’s his first ‘real’ Christmas

Michon Deem

Last year my son Auryn Matthias was born two days before Thanksgiving at the gestational age of 31 weeks. Weighing 3 pounds 12 ounces, he came out breathing on his own and was one of the healthiest babies in the Intensive Care Nursery at Washoe Medical Center.

Due to medical difficulties of my own, my husband and I were unable to stay in Reno and instead drove to the hospital every night to visit our son for one of his nightly feedings. Weekends were spent driving up early and coming home late. Every day he got bigger and healthier, but still could not feed from a bottle due to the lack of his suck, swallow, breathe reflex which doesn’t develop on average until 34 gestational weeks.

We were so happy when he was finally allowed to have one bottle feeding a day and waited anxiously for the doctors to approve more bottle feedings. It was a slow process and we desperately hoped our beautiful son would be able to come home before Christmas, but Christmas morning came with smiles and tears; our son was doing well but was not ready to come home yet.

Christmas night was spent at the ICN holding and feeding our son in his Santa outfit which was way too big for him, and visiting with other families whose precious little ones were also not yet ready for the outside world. The nurses were amazing, caring not only for their tiny charges but also the terrified parents who had to cope with seeing their babies hooked up to monitors and IVs.

A lot of tears were shed last Christmas but in the end everything worked out fine, and on Jan. 6 we were able to take our 6-pound son home.

It’s been a year now, our son weighs more than 20 pounds and we are excited about celebrating his first “real” Christmas with all the trimmings. Three different family celebrations over the course of two days. Now the only thing left is to finish the Christmas shopping.