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NICU Fund in Honor of Max Bravo
Our son, Max, was discharged from Sam’s NICU at the end of September, after a 50 day stay. While being pregnant was an exciting part of our lives, the week leading up to our son’s delivery was nothing we could’ve ever imagined. Having one son already, we were excited to give him a little brother.
We decided to embark on one last vacation as a family of three before our baby arrived. Traveling to Bermuda, only a 2-hour flight, seemed more than safe, especially only being 31 weeks pregnant. On the day we flew home, at 32 weeks, I experienced my water breaking on the flight home. Talk about literally getting one last vacation in! Not convinced my water broke, we drove home to drop off our son to stay with a grandparent. We headed to Morristown Medical Center to confirm if, in fact, my water broke, thinking we’d be back home in a couple of hours.
After being checked out, I was told my water broke and I would not be leaving the hospital until I gave birth. I still remember feeling shocked and scared – how can this be happening? I was only 32 weeks pregnant, had no complications and have a 2-year old son at home to take care of! Having a preemie born so early was not anything either of us had expected or planned for.
The next morning, I had an ultrasound done to determine the baby’s size and see if we could wait two weeks for him to be delivered. When the results came back, we were given the worst news and our fear of having a preemie seemed minuscule. I was told I had polyhydramnios, which only affects 1% of pregnant women and that our baby had severe hydrops, which only affects 1 out of every 1000 births. He had excess fluid in his belly, which then spread to his kidneys, his lungs and skin. The next six days were torture – constant ultrasounds, blood work and echocardiograms. I myself got an amniocentesis to relieve about 4 pounds of my excess fluid, which also had its risks, but we had to give our son every fighting chance. We were told we could get a priest in the delivery room in case something didn’t go as planned. All we could think of was how could we possibly tell our 2-year-old son, who was so excited to be a big brother, that he wouldn’t be.
Finally, after all the blood work and tests, (that didn’t give us a definite cause for our son’s diagnosis), I was told they would have to do an emergency C-section. On August 10, 2018, I gave birth to our son, Max. There were so many doctors and neonatologists in my delivery room. Within five minutes of the start of the surgery, Max was lifted out of me and brought into a side room. My husband was able to go see him. Unfortunately, he had to see him with one doctor breathing for him, another putting in a chest tube and another draining him of fluid. Max was then whisked up to Sam’s NICU on so many machines to keep him breathing and functioning.
Sometime after my surgery, my husband was able to go to the NICU to see him again. This was extremely hard, being that Max was hooked up to several machines and doctors everywhere were working hard to keep him alive. I was not allowed to see him until the following morning.
Each of the next 50 days, we visited Sam’s NICU to see our son. Tests kept coming back negative, which didn’t give us a reason for his condition, but miraculously, he seemed to be getting better every day. Within the course of Max’s stay, he had been on three different breathing machines, an eating tube and a chest tube. He underwent blood transfusions, four stomach fluid taps, a surgery and so much bloodwork, IVs and a PICC line.
We’ve formed such wonderful relationships with the doctors we personally engaged with from MMC’s Maternal Fetal Medicine (Dr. Benito, Dr. Lashley, Dr. Oyelese, Dr. Russo and Resident Jacob), Labor and Delivery nurse, Audrey Kramm, pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Timchak, the neonatologists of Sam’s NICU (Dr. Crowley, Dr. Hassinger, Dr. Ladino, Dr. Memon, Dr. Mimms, Dr. Murphy, Dr. Rogido, Dr. Schenkman and Dr. Stryker) and Sam’s NICU nurses, especially Max’s primary, Nurse Denice Muller.
Without our faith in God and all the people that played a part in our son’s treatment, our son would not be here today, and our 2-year-old son would not be a big brother. Our son, Max is a miracle and we can’t thank Sam’s NICU enough. We are forever grateful for what Sam’s NICU has done for our family.
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Contributions To Date
We love you Max! We hope others have the opportunity to defy the odds like you did! Love, Dad, Mom and Louie XOXO
For all the children who are ill and need NICU.
Angela and Jeff McNiece
We love you
william bruen jr
Best wishes to your entire family for what must be your merriest Christmas ever! God bless us all. Bill B.
God bless you all. Welcome to the world Max!
Unbelievable Story! Merry Christmas Bravo Family!
Max, you'll always be my miracle! Grandma loves you!
Merry Christmas Max and the whole Bravo Family! God bless!
We can't wait to meet you, Max! Love, Danielle + Eric + Estelle
God bless your miracle! Love you guys!
We love you! Love, Shin Family
Matching Gift via UBS for Bonnie Bravo
Saving more little precious lives like Max xoxox
So thrilled to support this incredible cause in honor of Lorenzo’s first birthday!! Xo, Dan, Dana & Brooklyn Exter
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