Enzo’s NICU Story, One Year Later

One year. 365 days with you physically here… really? How? When? I type this as I watch him propping his little butt in the air and quickly standing on two feet. Something about today is making me so emotional. Maybe it’s because his birth is so present in my brain and yet it seems like a 1000 years ago.

My welcoming into motherhood wasn’t an easy one. In fact, it was every mother’s worst nightmare. If you have been following me since Enzo was born, you know we didn’t have an easy start. Twenty two days in the NICU, and to be honest, I might say it lightly now, but those 22 days were the worst days of my life. I lost 10 years of my life due to that stress, gray hairs and all. So many unanswered questions, so many doctors, and so many loved ones in the waiting room – every single day. I remember feeling numb, all day, everyday. At one point, I remember telling Hector to punch me so I could feel something.

When Enzo was born, he cried just like any other healthy baby but then the nurse told me she was going to check on him because his skin tone wasn’t ideal. A couple hours later he was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. He basically didn’t know he was out of the womb yet and needed treatment to fully expand this lungs. He was almost immediately taken from my arms and sedated to transfer him to Rady Children’s Hospital. The treatment takes time – I mean a long time. For Enzo it took 22 days. While in the NICU, he also had a lot of other complications. For example, after 2 days, as they were taking him off the sedation he suffered a seizure. It was a subtle hand jerk – nothing major – but nonetheless a seizure. Again, I say it lightly, but that might have been the most horrific night of all. Imagine, after 2 days of sedation, your baby is barely waking up and suddenly he seizes.  Luckily, he responded to the medication and after that day, he has never had another seizure.

After he left the NICU, we slowly started to become a “normal” family.  Of course, the meds and doctors visits continued but life started getting better. We started to live that life we had always dreamt of, slowly healing our NICU traumas. I don’t think we will ever know why this happened to us, but I think its important to stay positive and to always pray and hope for the best. I am a huge believer in prayer and manifesting positive thoughts. Even when he was in the NICU, in the darkest days of my life, I would imagine him at home playing and crawling like a normal boy. I really wanted to believe it and now look at us.  I know that we are extremely lucky and not everyone has a happy ending, but prayer does move mountains. Doctors to this date, can’t believe Enzo and his progress!

Fast forward to today, I am happy to say he no longer has pulmonary hypertension, and is no longer on seizure medication. This baby boy is the most resilient and strongest human being I know. It’s now more clear than ever that he chose me as a mom to teach me not only the purest kind of love, but to remind me to not take things for granted. To be grounded to the world’s sufferings and to remind myself how extra grateful we must be everyday!

Enzo, oh my sweet boy Enzo, you fill everyone with smiles, you are so LOVED and BLESSED. You are truly a gift from God and I feel so honored to call you mine. You have taught me so much in just one year, I can’t wait to see what’s to come.

It took me a year to open up and tell you his story, and I want to thank you all for respecting our family’s privacy until I was emotionally ready. I decided to open up because my Blank Itinerary community is my family too. So I am so happy to finally be sharing this news with you and to be celebrating his first year with all of you. Cheers to our little miracle baby!


Un año. 365 días contigo físicamente aquí … ¿Cómo? ¿Cuándo? Escribo esto mientras lo veo alzar su pequeño trasero en el aire y rápidamente ponerse de pie. Algo sobre este día me está poniendo muy emocional. Tal vez es porque su nacimiento está tan presente en mi mente y sin embargo parece que fue hace mil años.

Mi bienvenida a la maternidad no fue fácil. De hecho, fue la peor pesadilla de cualquier madre. Si me han estado siguiendo desde que nació Enzo, saben que no tuvimos un comienzo fácil. Veintidós días en la UCIN, y para ser sincera, ahorita parece que lo digo a la ligera, pero esos 22 días fueron los peores días de mi vida. Perdí 10 años de mi vida por el estrés que pasé. Tantas preguntas sin respuesta, tantos médicos y tantos seres queridos en la sala de espera todos los días. Recuerdo que me sentía entumecida, todo el día, todos los días. En un momento, recuerdo haberle dicho a Héctor que me pegara para que pudiera sentir algo.

Cuando Enzo nació, lloró como cualquier otro bebé sano, pero luego la enfermera nos dijo que lo iba a checar porque su tono de piel no estaba ideal. Un par de horas más tarde fue diagnosticado con hipertensión pulmonar. Básicamente, no sabía que ya había salido del útero y necesitaba tratamiento para expandir completamente sus pulmones. Casi inmediatamente, me lo quitaron de los brazos y lo sedaron para transferirlo a Rady Children’s Hospital. El tratamiento toma mucho tiempo. Para Enzo tomó 22 días. Mientras estuvo en la UCIN, también tuvo muchas otras complicaciones. Por ejemplo, después de 2 días, cuando lo sacaban de la sedación, sufrió un ataque epiléptico. Fue una sacudida sutil de la mano, nada muy dramático, pero sin embargo, una convulsión. De nuevo, lo digo a la ligera, pero esa fue la noche más horrible de todas. Imagínense, después de dos días de ver a tu bebé recién nacido sedado, que cuando por fin lo van a despertar, de repente se convulsione. Afortunadamente, respondió a la medicación y después de ese día, nunca ha tenido otra convulsión.

Después de que dejó la UCIN, lentamente empezamos a convertirnos en una familia “normal.” Por supuesto, las visitas a los médicos y doctores continuaron, pero la vida empezó a mejorar. Empezamos a vivir esa vida con la que siempre habíamos soñado, lentamente sanando nuestros traumas. No creo que jamás sabremos por qué nos pasó esto a nosotros, pero creo que es importante mantener una actitud positiva, rezar y esperar lo mejor. Soy creyente en el poder de la oración y la manifestación de pensamientos positivos. Incluso cuando Enzo estaba en la UCIN, en los días más oscuros de mi vida, me lo imaginaba en casa jugando y gateando como un niño normal. Realmente quería creerlo y ahora es una realidad. Sé que somos extremadamente afortunados y no todos tienen un final feliz, pero la oración sí mueve montañas. Hasta la fecha, los doctores no pueden creer el progreso de Enzo!

Un año después, me alegra decir que ya no tiene hipertensión pulmonar, y ya no está tomando medicamentos para las convulsiones. Este bebé es el ser humano más resistente y más fuerte que conozco. Ahora es más claro que nunca que él me eligió como madre para enseñarme no solo el amor más puro, sino también para recordarme que no tome las cosas por hecho. De estar consciente de los sufrimientos del mundo y recordarme lo agradecidos que debemos estar todos los días.

Enzo, mi dulce niño, llenas a todos con sonrisas, eres tan AMADO y BENDITO. Eres un verdadero regalo de Dios y me siento tan honrada de llamarte mío. Me has enseñado tanto en solo un año, no puedo esperar para ver lo que está por venir.

Me tardé un año para poder abrirme y contarles esta historia, y quiero agradecerles a todos por respetar la privacidad de nuestra familia hasta que estuvimos emocionalmente listos. Al final, decidí compartirlo con ustedes, porque la comunidad de Blank Itinerary también es mi familia. Estoy muy contenta de finalmente compartir esta noticia con ustedes y celebrar su primer año de vida con todos ustedes. ¡Felicidades a nuestro pequeño bebé milagroso!

27 Comments

  1. July 11, 2018 / 11:27 am

    Thanks for sharing,! He is a lovely little boy full of love and with a purpose in life. You are so grounded and authentic.

    Xoxo

  2. Claudia Monroy
    July 11, 2018 / 12:10 pm

    Truly God has blessed you & your Husband with such a strong happy baby. God bless.

  3. July 11, 2018 / 12:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Paola! My son was also in NICU for pneumothorax, a collapsed lung, at Scripps La Jolla. He was a 9 pound baby amongst a lot of preemies. I remember feeling so guilty that my baby was so big compared to the little ones but I was also scared out of my mind as he lay in there with an oxygen bubble over his big head. He is now 17 years old, 6’6″ and captain of his basketball team at Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad. Enzo will one day be running around like boys do and will prove to you his amazing strength as he already has in his first year! Just so happy he is out of the woods and that you are on your way to a life full of family fun…..and probably LOTS of sports!! Get ready, Mamma! xo Tracy

  4. Laura
    July 11, 2018 / 12:46 pm

    What an incredible story. Thanks for sharing. We all followed a year ago and were praying for his recovery. What an amazing and strong boy! Congratulations and Happy Birthday to Enzo!

  5. Marisa Fierro Goins
    July 11, 2018 / 12:54 pm

    What a beautiful miracle! I have a now 7 year old miracle, started off mother hood with a 6 week NICU stay as well. Nothing like it, but so amazing to see them thriving! So many prayers answered! Makes you more aware of the poet of God, and his nearness to us. The ones that have to fight hard, have an extra special calling ! Happy Birthday to your sweet boy! And happy 1 year to you mama!

  6. Mayra Gonzalez
    July 11, 2018 / 1:32 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing Paola. My baby girl turns one year in August. I remember seeing your instastory last year telling us that Enzo was in the NICU, and I started praying. Then I started hoping that the same thing wouldn’t happen to us. But it did. Camila was born with too much fluid in her lungs and was taken from my arms. Praise God she got progressively better each day and only stayed in the NICU for 3 days with another 3 in the special unit care. It’s still hard for me to tell her story without tearing up. And I ask myself the same question, why me when it seems like so many people around me were able to have a healthy delivery and keep their babies with them? But then I remind myself that there are so many others who have gone through worse and I think back to those times in the NICU when it seemed like families had been there for months. I couldn’t have done it without the miracle of prayer. And I am 100 percent convinced that babies are much, much stronger than adults. It’s been such a joy following along on your journey and seeing Enzo thrive and grow so beautifully!! Your story made me feel like I wasn’t alone. And I’m happy to say that my Camila is a thriving, happy, sassy little almost-one-year-old 🤗 😍😍Much love to you and your family 💜💜💜

  7. July 11, 2018 / 2:08 pm

    I remember following along on Instagram during that time and it was so painful to watch you not be able to give an update. I can only imagine how hard that was on you and your family and all your loved ones, with day after day of no answers.

    Thankfully, Enzo’s story was only just beginning and he seems to have been taking life by the horns ever since! You all make such a beautiful family and I have a feeling this experience made you even more grateful for those normal mundane everyday family moments. To be together is the best gift of all!

    xo Mary-Katherine
    http://www.goldhattedlover.com

  8. Patty
    July 11, 2018 / 2:34 pm

    God bless you and thank you for sharing! Happy Birthday to Enzo! My 29 year old daughter was a NICU baby and has had many challenges since then but she has tenacity! She had her first seizure at six months then nothing until age nine. She had the VNS Therapy implant and that has substantially decreased her seizures! She hopes to one day be medication and seizure free. I love your blog, Patty Herrera 🌺💕

  9. Andrea
    July 11, 2018 / 3:34 pm

    Paola me encanta que eres súper transparente! Por este tipo de posts es por lo que amo tu blog…no he tenido la experiencia de ser mamá, pero si que tienes mucho de que admirar se nota como vibras amor en tu vida y hacia tus seguidores! Felicidades al bebe más tierno de todo social media!!! Mamma Goals✨
    Xo Andrea Agnesi

  10. Franciele Lacerda
    July 11, 2018 / 4:17 pm

    That’s the most special and strongest baby boy i have ever seen!! I follow you for a looong time and i remember your pregnancy and the day you went to hospital… i just was so ansious for the family together… when you said that enzo was born and he had to go to the NICU, right that moment i started praying for him and for you and Hector to be the most strongest people in world, wishing him all the good energies … i followed your news about him day by day and always sending the best energies and love for you. I can say with so much certainty that the day you three come home together was one of the most beautiful days of my life, God was good, God IS GOOD!!!! Now he’s ONE and bringing us his best smile everyday ❤ you are an amazing momma and hector and amazing daddy, you have such an incredible family Pao ❤ HB big little Enzo, and happy one year of the day that this angel was send from God to your fam !!!

    Lots of Love!
    XO Franciele Lacerda (BR)

  11. Joni Mindel
    July 11, 2018 / 5:10 pm

    Beautiful family. I’m so happy he is doing so well! ❤️

  12. Jessi
    July 11, 2018 / 6:52 pm

    Paola, thank you so much for sharing Enzo’s NICU journey – it brought me to tears. I started following you while I was pregnant last year with twins – it was so refreshing to see someone just as pregnant as me (you always looked amazing!). We too had a similar experience. My son Sam (who just turned 1 a few weeks ago – aren’t one year olds the best?!) was hospitalized for 3 weeks due to low birth weight. My other son Desmond was very small (he only weighed 1 lb at birth) and we found out that he had pulmonary hypertension after he was born. We hoped and prayed that he would be okay but God had other plans for him. Unfortunately, for us, Desmond only spent 79 days with us – in the end, his lungs and heart could not keep up with a growing boy.

    I just felt like sharing this with you because I fully agree that positive thoughts keep you going day after day (especially when you’re going through dark times and when you feel that things are so out of your control). Thanks again for sharing your story – it truly hit home for me.

    Happiest of birthdays to your little miracle! Isn’t it crazy how a fast a year goes by?!

  13. Ana Lucia
    July 11, 2018 / 8:39 pm

    Felicidades a ti tmb Blank!!! Hace un año te hiciste mamá!! Besos está hermosoo tu baby

  14. Mariana R
    July 11, 2018 / 10:09 pm

    Paola, primeramente felicidades, tienes un niño precioso !!! 😍 mis amigas y yo estamos enamoradas de él!
    Por otro lado, es de guerreros ingresar a la UCIN, me consta como trabajadora de ese lugar. Que ahí todos los días ocurren cosas increíbles y sentimientos encontrados que no se pueden explicar. Cada uno de los pequeños es un campeón, por la causa que sea que haya sido ingresado luchan cada instante por aferrarse a la vida. Junto con grandiosos equipos de enfermeras, médicos, terapeutas, camilleros y demás… siempre buscamos y oramos para que todos los niños salgan de ahí rumbo a una vida plena y feliz! Las mamis y sus bebés nunca están solas, siempre hay un gran equipo acompañándolos❤️ Te admiro mucho en todos los sentidos, bendiciones ✨

  15. Claudia
    July 12, 2018 / 2:23 am

    Que historia más linda, y justamente me llega en un día que Dios me está pidiendo que confíe, que declare, que tenga fé, que todo pasará . Paola, me encanta tu Blog, de verdad que me inspira demasiado, me encantan tus outfits y la buena persona que eres! Este año dije que quería cambiar la forma en la que me visto, verme mejor y has sido una inspiración para mi tanto en tu estilo, así como en la parte personal!

    De verdad que la mejor energía para ti, tu familia y tu proyecto.

    (BTW nunca había escrito una fan letter)

    Claudia desde Londres 🙂

  16. Jamez Ferrell
    July 12, 2018 / 2:43 am

    I READ YOUR STORY AND I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND YOU, OUR LITTLE ANGET HAD A 100 DAY STAY IN THE NICU.. JUST KEEP YOUR HEAD UP

  17. Cecilia Oviedo
    July 12, 2018 / 11:37 am

    Wow que historia! No me puedo imaginar lo que esos 22 días pudieron haber sido, lo que si estoy segura es que Dios los guío y los ayudo a salir de eso. Sobre todo a Enzo, que me parece increíble como parece que nunca pasó por ese momento tan difícil. Recuerdo todo tu embarazo y la alegría de los días previos, cuando pediste oraciones un hoyo se me hizo en el corazón, le pedí a mi mamá que rezáramos por ti esos días, tal como si fueras de nuestra familia. Que bendición saber que Enzo está totalmente fuera de la situación y que lo pueden disfrutar tan sano y hermoso. Tienes razón, nunca sabrán porque pasaron por eso, pero estoy segura que los hizo más fuertes y unidos a Héctor y a ti. Y Enzo tendrá una perspectiva de vida muy distinta a los otros niños, te lo dice alguien que pasó por un accidente a los 3 años y sin explicación lógica salió de eso, eso los hará una familita muy fuerte y muy bendecida! Un abrazo enorme a todos, gracias por compartirlo, que aunque no fuera necesario, es lindo saber que todo está bien.

  18. Desiree
    July 12, 2018 / 3:24 pm

    I am also a Nicu mommy of a 26 weeker 1 pound baby. My premiee was in Nicu for 6 months in 2016-2017-And Here we are 1 yr later-19 months with Chronic Lungs disease but hope to soon outgrow it. The Nicu became family to me and I had a lot of faith and support through it all. Thank you for sharing your story. Its so nice to hear Nicu stories as I am , too, a nicu mommy.

  19. July 12, 2018 / 7:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing. I remember reading what you did share at the time on Instagram and was sending all the love. He is such a beautiful boy! I can’t believe that happened either, I guess we just never know. It does go to show that being strong and having loved ones with you who stay positive makes all the difference. I remember meeting you briefly during Sydney fashion week, long before this new journey started for you, it has been so encouraging to watch you grow and adapt to mother hood and overcome these challenges. So very inspiring. Enjoy the second year, toddlers are the best! hehe
    xx Jenelle
    http://www.inspiringwit.com

  20. Ana Isa Díez De Urdanivia
    July 13, 2018 / 5:57 am

    Eres una fregona ! No tengo hijos pero pude sentir todo el dolor en th historia y dinner sobrevivientes y una familia hermosa!

  21. July 13, 2018 / 7:06 am

    I’m so happy how things turned into and that you finally got your happy ending ! I do remember very well Enzo’s birth, I already followed you at this time and posted something on my Instagram in support 😉 I was so so so sad for you and I was thinking about you, hoping it would get better… I was glad when it did !
    Congratulations for your bravery and all your “positiveness”, they are very inspiring.
    A lot of love to the three of yours from a French follower 😀

  22. Marifer
    July 13, 2018 / 9:19 am

    Thank you for sharing your story, Paola. My baby boy is due any day now and your story just reminded me of the day I asked God with tears in my eyes to send this baby to me. Just like Enzo, my baby is also an answered prayer and you reminded me not to take this experience for granted. Sometimes life gets so busy and you are just going going going that you forget to look back and take a look at the journey you’ve been on. Enzo looks like such a happy boy, I’m so glad everything worked out for your family at the end. Thanks for the inspiration, I’ll start visualizing my baby happy and healthy just like you did with Enzo. Un abrazo para ti y tu familia.

  23. Karolina Gl
    July 13, 2018 / 9:23 am

    Thanks for sharing! Cant imagine what you guys went through, luckily it seems like a 1000 days ago and you and your family as happy as a hippo. Love and light to you , your family and amazing community.

  24. Adriana
    July 13, 2018 / 1:45 pm

    Hola Paola,
    La verdad no soy mucho de escribir, pero me sentí muy identificada, mi bebe nació en agosto en el mary birch y me acuerdo ver tus historias y pensar que dificil situación, ojala que no tenga que pasar por lo mismo. Y resulta ser que si pase, cuando por fin nos subieron a nuestro cuarto vieron que antonio no estaba respirando como deberia, tenia agua en los pulmones, lo bajaron de emergencia al NICU en donde gaD solo estuvo 3 días, 3 días que nunca voy a olvidar y que también me hicieron darme cuenta de muchas cosas acerca de mi misma.
    Ahora veo a mi bebe ya casi por cumplir un año y no me la creo lo grande, fuerte y sano que esta, todos los días doy gracias por ello.
    Para terminar muchas felicidades por el gran bebe que tienes, por compartir tu historia y hacer que no nos sintamos solas.

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