• Kristina Mulligan

NICU to Now

Flynn and Mommy in the NICU. At this point, he was less than two pounds and was about one week old.

I thought for a while about an appropriate (and concise) way to introduce myself for this first blog post, which I am so grateful to have the opportunity to write. "Hi, I'm Kristina, mom to Flynn, who will be two this coming February. I've been married to my husband, DJ, for six years. I work from home as an Administrative/IT Assistant. In my spare time, I love crafting, listening to podcasts, and obsessing over true crime..." As a reader, you may want to know these things but at this point in my life, I feel that you can't truly know me without knowing Flynn's birth story.

After struggling with infertility for almost three years, I lived the majority of my pregnancy thinking that was going to be the biggest hurdle to overcome and that everything was going to be perfect going forward. I began designing the nursery, reading all the books I could possibly find, and, being the greatest perfectionist and planner, I started planning my baby shower. I felt great and life was amazing, until my twenty-seventh week of pregnancy. I was admitted to the hospital with a very severe and sudden onset case of preeclampsia following a routine doctor’s appointment. With all other options exhausted and both of our conditions becoming critical, Flynn was delivered via emergency c-section at twenty-eight weeks.

After a long seven weeks in the NICU, we were finally able to take Flynn home. Though we were overjoyed to have our sweet boy home and to finally be a family, we started a new, unexpected journey when he was not meeting important milestones, like sitting up, rolling over, or eating solids. We've visited dozens of doctors for countless appointments, discussing multiple diagnoses and at nine months old, Flynn started receiving services through Early Intervention. He started with just physical therapy, and we have since added occupational therapy, speech and feeding therapy, and a special instruction teacher. Together, we tackle Flynn’s issues with sensory processing, improving his gross and fine motor skills, and building his vocabulary. As a toddler, Flynn’s schedule is more packed than most adults I know.

In the past two-and-a-half years, I have seen my child survive, change statistics, beat the odds, and defy all expectations. I've seen a baby unable to breathe on his own become a toddler with a lust for life, who dances, laughs, and takes steps all on his own. I've felt his arms wrap around my neck and I've heard his sweet voice say "mama." I have been one of the lucky ones able to witness a miracle. It’s because of this that I am the mother that I am, but life with a child that has special needs has many challenges. I want to share our trials, triumphs, and everyday life (including doctor’s visits, therapy sessions, and daily activities) because whatever you’re going through, you’re not alone. We have each other.

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