For Angela Bakker, of Reno, Nevada, the decision to have a baby girl after she had had a very easy pregnancy with her firstborn, a boy, was a cinch.
All this changed the moment her doctor told her three simple words: “everything is wrong.” That’s when Angela and her husband, Michael, went through the wringer as they discovered that their baby-to-be wasn’t receiving the nourishment she desperately needed.
As Angela described in a video for Renown Health, where she gave birth, “[The baby] was basically starving, starving to death in my stomach.” For dad Michael Bakker, the focus was on preparing for the fact that their daughter probably wouldn’t live. “My mindset and my heart were already on letting her go,” he explained in the Renown video.
Update: 8/3/2015Just finished a frustrating moment with the computer as I had just completed an update and was about…
When Naomi was born in July 2015, the odds couldn’t have been stacked any more against her. First of all, she was born 15 weeks early, before her lungs could properly develop. Just as bad, she weighed “about 12 ounces and change” as Angela described it in her video, about the weight of a can of soda. She had to be kept on constant breathing support in the NICU at Renown Children’s Hospital in Reno.
While things looked incredibly bleak for this baby, Angela Bakker just couldn’t believe her child had made it. “She’s alive, she’s alive!” Angela remembered shouting when she found out that Naomi had made it through delivery. But while Naomi had shown that she had some fight in her, her chances of survival were incredibly slim.
During this incredibly difficult time, Angela found comfort in posting updates online for friends and family, which quickly drew lots of attention and prayers from well-wishers around the country and the world as they watched this “micro-preemie” fight for her life.
Update: 8/7/2015It's been awhile since out last update. While a lot of things have happened, it's been hard to find…
But while most mothers get to hold their babies almost immediately after delivery, Angela Bakker had to wait. Naomi was simply too small and too fragile, not to mention the fact that she needed constant support for her breathing.
However, the doctors at Renown did everything they could to help Angela and Michael connect with their daughter, even if it just meant the most minimal contact, as when Angela held out her fingers and Naomi barely managed to clasp one of them. As Angela said in her video: “there’s so much research behind ‘kangaroo care’, skin-to-skin contact with a mother.”
The theory is that when newborn babies are able to touch and feel their parents’ bare skin, they receive many benefits from hearing their parents’ heartbeat and will feel safer and more secure. This was particularly important for Naomi, who was deprived of the usual time babies get to spend in the safety of their mother’s wombs.
As the days went on, Naomi continued to fight, and her parents continued to shower as much love on her as they could. Finally, the big day came. The staff hospital finally felt that Naomi was ready to be fully and completely held by her mother.
It was quite a process as the NICU staff needed to work together to make sure Naomi was safely transferred from crib with her oxygen support intact and that everything was done gently enough.
But this simple act meant the world to Angela. As she said in her video for Renown, “A lot of hospitals would never have let me hold a baby that frail. Our doctor was adamant that she needed to be held.” For her parents who thought this day might never come, it was a blessing beyond belief. “I texted my girlfriends: ‘I’m holding a miracle.'”
While things weren’t all smooth sailing from that point on, Naomi has grown up to be an incredible little girl. She has made it through dozens of “firsts” that doctors never thought she would, from breathing on her own to learning how to swim and even holding her breath under water. Angela Bakker recently posted a picture of Naomi snowboarding on Facebook!
But none of these moments will ever measure up to the most important first—the time that this loving mom got to hold her amazing daughter!