Michaela Rosales
January 8, 2021

NICU: A story of survival-Born at 24 weeks 37 years ago

 I'm getting a little teary-eyed as I sit here thinking about the fact that on the 19th of February I turned 37! Don't get me wrong; I am not sad about being another year older. These tears that are rolling down my face are because I've had the opportunity to reflect on where I am at in my life. In the early 80s it was almost unheard of that a baby survived being born at 24 weeks gestation, but as I sit here and write to you, I am proof that miracles do happen!

As I take a I look back on my childhood years, I have so much to be thankful for, a great family, and lots of wonderful memories. No matter what life threw at me, I never took for granted that I was "healthy" for all intent and purposes. Yes, I had some minor problems growing up with ear, nose and throat issues, and I got sick a little bit more than the next person, but honestly I didn't experience or suffer any lifelong repercussions from being born so early.  I was born at two pounds one ounce, and dropped down to one pound seven ounces, unimaginably tiny ( I still don't know how my mum handled that).

Every year, my mum and I would go visit UCI Medical Center, and check in with the doctors and nurses that saved my life!! I was always so proud of the fact that when they would ask me a series of questions about my health which included my eyesight, knees, joints, learning etc, I was able to tell them that I was FINE! They were baffled and shocked that I didn't have any significant Issues. Thanks to these visits I was able to intern at UCI my senior year of high school and work in the NICU which sparked my passion for the birth world!!

So, as I look back on the last 37 years of my life, I spent a good deal of it searching for who I'm supposed to be. I thought for many years that I was going to go to medical school and I was become a neonatologist, but, God had some other plans for me. I didn't really understand it at the time but I made a choice my junior year of college, and that choice was to invest in my relationship with my now-husband rather than pursue my dream to be a medical doctor, no it wasn't because my biology classes were kicking my butt. Best decision I ever made in my life.

Alfred and I have had so many great memories but we've also had some hard times too because relationships take work. Less than a year into our marriage we got pregnant with our son. My husband had just finished pilot training and was in the middle of another training, not exactly the best timing. However, little did I know that the connection my husband I would make during childbirth course and those months leading up to the birth of our son would impact me for the rest of my life, despite the hectic schedule he had.

Fast forward a few (ok more like 14) years and we now have three beautiful children whom I home school, that I am 100% invested in their everyday lives.  I think I started to get lost along the way and felt that if I didn't have the house cleaned, the laundry done, the kids working hard on school, I was somehow failing. NOT TRUE! My Roles in life don't define me, my character does and this is something I feel confident in as I am entering my 37th year of life! Don't get me wrong, being a mom is and always will be one of my greatest accomplishments, but recently, I realized that my calling was to be a friend. I'm super proud of the fact that I have lifelong friendships. Still to this day I have friends that I talk to on a regular basis that I met back in elementary school and junior high, and I am married to my high school sweetheart.

 So, being a mom, a wife, a lover of learning and a FRIEND are all pieces of who I am!  Being a good friend, someone that you can call on, someone that you can confide in, and someone that you can just laugh with, is truly my life's mission. I love people. I love friendships.

My birthday is a day in which I can be thankful for who I am, the passions that God gave me, my family and my friends!  Life could have been so different!

I hope you too can feel comfortable about who you are and where you are in life, and I would love to be your friend.