My daughter, Brooke, was born at 30 weeks, 2 days gestation, weighing 3 pounds at birth in December of 2018. We spent 71 days in the NICU nearly two hours from home. In that time, I never left her side and my husband would come spend weekends with us when off work. Although I am a teacher and my husband a physician assistant, we were first time parents and knew next to nothing about caring for our own newborn, let alone a premature baby. We learned so many things about parenting from our NICU nurses, but when the time came that she was ready to come home, we were terrified. Since she was behind developmentally due to her prematurity, Brooke qualified for Early Intervention.
She qualified for occupational therapy (OT) once a week until she was 13 months old. Our OT, Brittanie, came into the home and she was absolutely amazing. She not only taught us how to work with Brooke on her fine and gross motor skills, but she gave us amazing parenting tips to help us get through the first year of new parenting. Brittanie was fabulous, caring, and always put a smile on my daughters face even at a young age – and I am a true believer in children being great judges of character. When our time came that Brooke exited the program, we felt it was a bittersweet moment because we were losing our time with Brittanie, but it was exciting because she had brought Brooke so far developmentally, she no longer needed the assistance. We stayed in the tracking program until Brooke turned 2 years old, in which she was deemed developmentally caught up at her 2-year pediatrician visit!
Fast forward to January 2021, I gave birth to our second child, Brock, who was also born prematurely. He was born at 34 weeks, 3 days gestation. Brock luckily has shown to be close to developmentally appropriate as of now, so we were given the recommendation of Parents as Teachers program for him when we asked about Early Intervention needs. We found out we were able to enroll both of our children in the PAT program and we couldn’t be more pleased!
We are just getting started with our visits, as Brock was also in the NICU for a few weeks, but we absolutely love our time with Ashley! We unfortunately must have virtual visits for the time being due to COVID, however Brooke LOVES her time with Miss Ashley! We look forward to the fun activities she has planned for us and getting to have socialization with someone outside the home. She has been a wealth of knowledge just in her first weeks with us and we cannot wait to continue with this program until we no longer are able to participate!
I already feel as though we are communicating better as parent and toddler & parent and baby and feel as though Ashley’s suggestions have been extremely helpful! We are so grateful for these amazing interventions, as they have helped not only our children, but also us as parents to grow into the best that we can be!
David & Whitney B, Brooke and Brock’s parents