Contributors



Joel and his son Jayden
FOUNDER

Joel Brens and his wife, Gena, were blessed with a baby boy in May of 2010. Jayden was born just over 7 weeks early at 3 lbs. 6 oz. He was the most beautiful thing Joel had ever seen. Their stay in the NICU was for 25 days. While every story is different, he's learned a lot about himself while he watches Jayden grow. Joel created this group as a forum for people to share insight, experiences and support. As a dad, he is eager to break the notion that they are not emotional beings.  His supportive wife, Gena, is the Community Liaison and Director of Family Support for Life after NICU.

Read the posts written by Joel here.




Jon and his son Jack
CONTRIBUTOR

Jon Bennion is a young father and husband living in his life-long home of Montana. His 23-weeker, Jack, recently turned 3. He is publishing a book about his experience as a micro-preemie dad: You Don't Know Jack. His wife, Jessi, blogs about their son at Life With Jack

Read the posts written by Jon here.




Rob and his daughter Hazel
CONTRIBUTOR

Rob Berry is the proud father of a 24-weeker, Hazel who spent 107 days in the NICU. Watching his child fight for her life taught he and his wife so much about life and what is truly important. Rob feels they were lucky to have some amazing people support them along the way and now he is eager to pay it forward. Believe it, they will grow! Just this April, Rob’s daughter turned one.

Read the posts written by Rob here.




Mark and his son Owen
CONTRIBUTOR

Mark Brislin and his wife Maria are the proud parents of Owen, born in August 2011 with a rare and life threatening birth defect known as a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH). They spent 54 days in the NICU at the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital in New York City watching their boy fight for his life. On the 54th day Owen came home to Northern NJ. Now that he's handled his own bout with Post Traumatic Stress, Mark is ready to share his experience and help other Dads cope with life in and after the NICU.

Read the posts written by Mark here.




Jonah and his son Nash
CONTRIBUTOR


Jonah and his amazing wife, Melissa, are the proud parents of a 26-weeker named Nash. He and his wife worked two years to have their beautiful boy. He was worth every minute and all of the disappointments along the way. Twenty-four weeks into a very healthy pregnancy, Melissa's water broke, and two weeks after that, Nash was here. To say the least, they were shocked. Though it's been tough to see their precious boy struggle and have it so much harder than all of the "normal" babies, they wouldn't take anything for every moment they’ve had him here. Nash is just at the beginning of what they know will be an amazing journey through life, and they are positive that God's hand is and will continue to be upon him every step of the way. Jonah and his wife Melissa have created a Facebook page called Nash News, where they give updates on Nash who has been in the NICU for almost 5 months.

Read the posts written by Jonah here.



Joe and his son Isai
Joe Mata 
CONTRIBUTOR 

Joe and his girlfriend of two years gave birth to their son Isai in June of 2012, via emergency c-section at 25 weeks. Weighing in at 1 lb. 14.6 oz, Joe knew they were in for a long journey. Joe has been humbled by the experience in the NICU. Joe believes his faith helped him get through the toughest days. Joe is so very proud of his son to be able to overcome the odds. After 75 days in the NICU, Joe was able to bring Isai home with only a apnea monitor and some medications. He is eager to share his story and hopes it will help other dads.


Read the posts written by Joe here.


Brandon and his son Tristan
Brandon Van Deinse
CONTRIBUTOR 

Brandon is a husband, papa, student, worker, and Christian. Currently double-majoring in English and Biblical Studies, Brandon also works full-time as Development Associate for a private Christian school in Philadelphia. Brandon likes reading, writing, and working out. He also loves to eat--big time. His wife Stephanie and son Tristan are his heart and soul. Stephanie blogs on Preemie Resources and urbanflowerpot.com


Read the posts written by Brandon here.


Jeromy and his son Eli
Jeromy Guthrie

CONTRIBUTOR

Jeromy and his wife Jess are the proud parents of Reagan and Eli. Eli is a 7 year old NICU graduate.  Eli was born 10 weeks early at 3lbs. Jeromy is currently working on his Board Certification and Clinical Pastoral Educations units with aspirations of becoming a NICU Chaplain one day. He and Jess are founders of Eli’s Hope and currently providing support & resources to parents of NICU babies at several hospitals in the Chicagoland area. He has a strong faith in God that drives his life. He believes that his family is a true gift from God and values every moment with them. 

Read the posts written by Jeromy here.


Jacob and his son Connor
Jacob Hedgespeth
CONTRIBUTOR 

Jake and his wife Taryn are the proud parents of a 32 weeker named Conor born in July 28 of 2012 weighing in at 3lbs 11oz. Conor came into the world at 32 weeks 3 days gestation due to Taryn developing severe pre-eclampsia with HELLP syndrome. The long road ahead of an 8 night stay at Norton Hospital for Taryn and at 26 day at Kosair Children’s for Conor left Jake knowing one thing, He was forever in debt to people on staff at both hospitals, as they responsible for saving Taryn and Conor’s lives.  Jake works for the Commonwealth of Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services as a caseworker. The Hedgespeth family is completed by their loving German shepherd Asher.
 
 Read the posts written by Jacob here.

Joshua and his twin sons Aaden and Noah
Joshua King

CONTRIBUTOR 


Josh King is the father of 28-week twins Aaden and Noah.  These two miracles were mono-amniotic twins, a rare condition where both twins are in the same amniotic sac.  They spent three months in the NICU and have been thriving ever since.  Aaden and Noah are now four-years-old and live with their parents Josh and Michelle, both band directors, in East Texas.  The King family is a huge supporter of March of Dimes and hope that some of our stories both comfort and give hope to those who need it!

Read the posts written by Joshua here.

Tom and his twin daughters Ava and Sophia
Tom Doty 
CONTRIBUTOR

Tom and his beautiful wife Josie became loving parents of Sophia and Ava on July 24, 2012.  After developing Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome the girls were delivered at 25 weeks and 6 days.  Ava at 1.7 pounds and Sophia at 1.3 pounds they were little fighters.  On November 7, 2012 they were discharged home.  Thanks to love and support of our friends, family and those at MSCHONY the girls are improving every day.  I want to thank my wife for her dedication and love to our girls.

Read the posts written by Tom here. 

Jordan and his daughter Adeline
Jordan Stowe
CONTRIBUTOR   
Jordan Stowe and his wife, Shanna, welcomed Adeline Marie into the world on May 1st, 2013.  She was born at 34 weeks gestation to the second almost.  After what seemed like a lengthy hospitalization for my wife, they decided to do an emergency C-Section and deliver baby Adeline.  She was born at Women’s Hospital in Greensboro, NC and spent 26 days in the NICU. My wife is a RN at Moses Cone Hospital here.  I am a very proud stay at home dad.  Addie has taught me two things about life.  Number one, it’s not about me.  Number two, it’s all about her!  I love how I traded in my basketball shoes and Xbox games for Modela bottles and Kangaroo care time.  When I’m not being a stay at home dad you can usually find me… Nah, just kidding, I’m always a stay at home dad!  Enjoy reading my contributions to this wonderful blog as much as I will enjoy writing them.  I take a humorous approach to a not so funny situation…. Life outside the NICU.

Read the posts written by Jordan here.