Sherley Legrand-Jackson's Story
Nearly 14 years ago, my twin daughters were born at 25 weeks on October 26, 2001. I went into pre-term labor a month before and was ordered to complete bed rest at GBMC hospital. As much as the hospital tried to prevent early labor, I became very sick and the twins had to be delivered immediately. Identical twins Lamia and Layla were born premature at one pound, six ounces and one pound, four ounces, respectively, and were immediately placed in the NICU.
On October 27, 2001, Dr. Pomerance a pediatric doctor in NICU, told me that Layla was not doing well, and would probably die today. To my shock, Layla did pass away as the doctor said. Lamia remained in the NICU for four months under the care of the GBMC NICU nurses and doctors. The nursing staff members were caring, and extremely diligent in caring for many sick babies. Lamia was a fighter! She fought for herself as well as for her twin sister who left us to go back to God. Lamia went through many challenges. Her vocal cords were slightly damaged as a result of her intubation. Lamia had heart surgery to close the small hole in her heart caused by prematurity. Although she never had any bleeding in the brain, Lamia suffered many other health difficulties that are associated with a premature birth at that weight. Lamia had retinopathy of the eyes (ROP), chronic lung disease (BPD) and apnea, meaning that Lamia required oxygen especially when feeding. It took four long months for Lamia to reach the weight of four pounds and nine ounces so that she could be released from NICU and be able to come home. After leaving GBMC, Lamia continued to have other health problems. She had a G-tube placed in her stomach at John Hopkins University Hospital. She was hospitalized many, many times for lung issues such as pneumonia and RSV.
Today, Lamia is a beautiful, bright, smart, easy going, shy, young girl. She has a raspy voice, however, and that is what makes her different from others. She currently is finishing the 7th grade with full honor roll for all three quarters at Aberdeen Middle School. She is currently taking hip hop dance class and will perform next month for her recital. Lamia enjoys listening to music, wearing bright red lipstick, dressing extremely stylishly and drawing up creative fashion clothing. Lamia has a portfolio full of her designs, and they are extremely nice. Lamia has plans to attend a high school that will focus on her creative fashion skills because she wants to be a celebrity fashion designer.
Lamia is quiet and shy at most times, but when she is around her family she will open up. After going through all the ups and downs of being a premature baby, Lamia has, by the grace of our God, come through all of her maladies with no lasting effects. If someone were to look at Lamia today, you would never know she was a preemie. You would never know her back story and or about the four months she spent at GBMC’s NICU. She carries some visible scars on her body which are easily covered with clothing. Other than that, Lamia is a healthy teenager with a bright future.
We will forever be grateful to GBMC and the nursing staff, neonatology doctors, pediatric doctors and social workers, all of whom were involved in the care for Lamia and the grief process for my other daughter, Layla.