Our mission is to provide direct assistance to Central Florida premature babies and their families.
The History of Blessing for Babies
Tami and Scott Nickerson knew that having children would be an uphill climb. The doctors had been telling Tami for years that her chances of ever conceiving and carrying a baby were less than 5% with in vitro fertilization. Within a few months being married, Tami was pregnant without IVF. The doctors warned Tami & Scott that a premature baby would be a very likely outcome.
On a weekly basis throughout Tami’s pregnancy she and Scott visited Fetal Diagnostics for testing & treatments and they celebrated every milestone they overcame. Milestones that most people are not aware of;
· 21 weeks being the earliest a baby can survive outside the womb.
· 24 weeks they celebrated escaping preterm labor with medical assistance.
· They celebrated 28 weeks where survival is not just possible but likely and the latter being a threshold where complications are minimized.
Every week after 28 was a gift in their eyes and when Tami’s water broke at 35 weeks they thought they were very fortunate. Their son Hunter was born at a relatively healthy weight of 5 pounds 4 ounces and spent time in Neonatal ICU. Hunter was discharged, sent home, and Tami & Scott were under the impression they were taking a seemingly healthy baby boy home. They received a call from the doctors at Shand’s Hospital in Gainesville, FL. The doctors went on to explain that Hunters newborn screening test was abnormal. They were instructed to take Hunter to Arnold Palmer Hospital emergency room immediately for further testing. Tami and Scott packed a bag and headed to the hospital with the expectation that they would return home that night. They were reminded that things don’t always go according to plans.
Shand’s hospital called ahead and the doctors at Arnold Palmer were waiting for him. When it came time to draw some blood, Tami held Hunter while the nurses did what they needed to do & Hunter was crying throughout this process. When they stuck Hunter he stopped breathing due to series of complications. For Tami and Scott, the next few hours were the longest time of their lives. They watched as respiratory technicians and doctor’s struggled to save their son. They prayed over the shoulder of the nurse whose hands were shaking while she tried to establish an IV. Eventually, Hunter began to breathe again. However, now the doctors needed to conduct a spinal tap and other tests to pinpoint the cause. Hunter was re-admitted for several weeks in critical condition weighing just 3 lbs. 14 oz. and was giving the diagnoses of Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia.
Hunter had constant follow up doctor’s appointment along with physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, behavioral therapy, feeding therapy and surgeries for several years. Hunter had to be given synthetic cortisol daily and visit an endocrinologist on a regular basis.
Today, Hunter is a happy healthy 8 year old boy who plays numerous sports and plays them pretty well. Looking at him today, you would never know he had such a rough start. Premature babies, who can often reach a point where they have no permanent effects, still spend the first few years of their lives trying to catch up.
The Nickerson’s second son, Liam, was born full term. Tami started labor with Liam at 32 weeks and gave birth at 39 weeks, 6 days. She received weekly progesterone shots to help prevent premature labor and fetal diagnostic testing/treatment during her pregnancy. Liam’s smile and spunky personality can turn your bad day to your best day!
Tami & Scott stated “Coming home with a premature baby was shocking.”
This experience left Tami & Scott with a desire to help premature babies and their families
and BLESSING FOR BABIES was Born!!