August 26th, 2013 Rhea Selena DiBernardo was born 15 weeks early. She was 13 inches long and weighed 1 lb. 10 oz. She spent 3 months in the NICU at Magee Women's Hospital, located in Pittsburgh Pa. We visited her every day, and on day 27 we were able to hold her for the first time. She had several scares with infections, had her feedings stopped and started, and there were many days of weight gains and losses. Rhea had several blood transfusions and x-rays during her stay in the NICU. She was released to our care one week before Thanksgiving, but only came home for one day, as she ended up going to Children’s Hospital for a week resulting from a cold. Rhea finally ended up coming home the beginning of December, and thrived at home and is now 15 lbs, smiling at everything, and has just started crawling.
Throughout our stay at Magee we emotionally survived by the kindness of friends and co-workers, the patience, support, and information from all of the staff at the hospital. We made friends with other families in the NICU who we still currently talk to; and it helped us to cope with the stressful times. Small gifts such as toys and blankets gave normalcy to our daughter's birth.
We wanted to reach out to other families who are currently going through what we already have experienced. We hope the story of Rhea will give comfort in a time that does not make sense. She has an optimal story of successes with few setbacks. There are many factors we attribute to the success of Rhea, which were the decisions made by the medical staff, and we know we have been lucky.
In honor of Rhea’s first birthday we organized a fundraiser with Magee Womens Hospital and Bob Evans to support other families starting their journey in the NICU and to give thanks to Magee for the wonderful care Rhea received while she stayed there. Every Saturday in September 15% of a meal purchased at Bob Evans will go to the NICU fund, all you need is to show is the flyer either in hand or on your mobile device to participate. All Southwest PA stores and surrounding Pgh stores are participating!