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A twisty ride and only 2

May 9, 2014 - Karin Elton
The president of the world — who would that be, Pope Francis? Oprah? has hereby declared May 10th International Aubrey Day. It’s a day when no bad things happen and people who are fighting sit down, sip tea together and tell jokes.

The people who know who Aubrey is will tell about her birth two years ago. They will tell the tale of how she was due to be born into this world Aug. 20, 2012, but decided to make an early appearance in May, weighing in at under 2 pounds.

The doctors and mostly the nurses at the neonatal intensive care unit at Avera McKennan in Sioux Falls carefully calibrated what the little peanut’s needs were in order to survive. They even gave her caffeine to help a little part of her heart close (patent ductus arteriosis).

One of the major influences in Aubrianna’s survival was her mother, who dared to pick up this fragile little thing and give her “kangaroo care,” where the neonate is held next to the mother’s skin for comfort. Aubrianna was tucked under her mom’s chin with blankets covering them until they both took a nap. Her mother also changed the tiny diapers which were the size of a saltine cracker.

Her mother and grandma (me) were always so happy when another wire or tube was removed and Aubrey became a little more self-sufficient. The best day was when the nasogastric tube was removed and Aubrey could drink breast milk from a bottle.

We were so happy when we were finally able to take her home — after spending 100 days in the NICU. She was about 5 pounds by then. She has been healthy and happy these past two years. She loves walking around outside, loves playgrounds, loves kids, loves the children’s department at the library.

She went swimming with her mom and grandmother last week at the YMCA. Her mom asked do you think Aubrey and I can go down that slide? I thought she was too young. I said what about the very end of the slide when you are plunged into the water? I said it might be too traumatic for her and put her off swimming forever. Her mom said, “I’ll hold her up.” She put a lifejacket on Aubrey and they went down the twisty slide together three times. Aubrey came through it with a smile on her face and ready for the next adventure with her mother.


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