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I was born on September 13, 1949, without hope of survival. Low-birthweight babies have a difficult time, often living only weeks or months.
My mother was six months pregnant when I was born, and I weighed only one pound, seven ounces. The medical professionals were not encouraged , saying that no baby had ever survived at that hospital weighing so little.
One morning my mother was lying in bed at the hospital, depressed and worried. She didn’t want to believe the doctors, and nurses. Then, two men sat on the edge of the bed. One was her father. The other’s a handsome man whom she had seen only in photographs , was her father-in-law, Both of these men were dead. Her father died two years before I was born, and her father-in-law died when my father was ten.
she told me she wasn’t afraid. “I was surrounded by a peaceful feeling- something I couldn’t explain.” My grandfather told her, “Don’t worry or listen to your doctors- they are wrong. Your baby will survive and grow up to be a wonderful daughter and beautiful child.”
The doctors and nurses noticed a change in her attitude after this. To their minds, she wasn’t facing facts. They explained that the odds were a million to one I would survive; even if I did, they told her, I would have many health problems. They even told her to pray that I would die so I wouldn’t suffer.
My mother smiled and kept her positive attitude. I kept fighting , and the doctors shook their heads in amazement. Mother left the hospital and walked back every day to stare at me through the glass wall. Back then you weren’t allowed to hold a baby; parents couldn’t even enter the premature section of the nursery.
I gained weight slowly. The tubes were removed, one by one, and I began to look like a normal baby. Mother told me she could have held me in the palm of her hand when I was born.
On Christmas Day, after more than three months in the hospital, I was brought home. I weighed five pounds.
My grandfathers delivered a message, and my mother believed them.
Nancy Duci Denofio
Glenville, New York