NICU Awareness Month


Good morning friends,


September has become a very important month for me. It is NICU Awareness Month! Perhaps you don’t know my story, so today I thought I’d share a little about why this is so important to me.


In August 1982, I gave birth to my first child. A son. I anxiously awaited the birth of this child. I didn’t know if I was having a boy or a girl, but I knew this babe would be loved and cared for to the best of my ability. Finally the morning arrived and I was heading to the hospital to welcome this child into the world.


It went fast. At 12:30 pm Philip Daniel Fairchild arrived on the scene. While I was being cared for, they whisked Philip off. I didn’t know why at first, but finally they told me that he was in serious condition. The small hospital where he was delivered couldn’t care for him, so they quickly transported him to the NICU at Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, Ohio.


I was in shock at this point. Philip was moved so quickly that I didn’t even have an opportunity to hold him. Once they had him in the NICU they knew what was wrong. Philip had been born with meningitis. My doctor visited me and told me the news. He also said that they didn’t expect Philip to survive the night, so he released me to go be with my son. I left the hospital at 6:30 pm. What a day that was!


Being in the NICU was so overwhelming. There were multiple isolettes scattered throughout a large room. There were bright lights and beeps from monitors. Nurses were working diligently with all the babies and when I finally saw Philip I was overcome by it all. The picture of my beautiful baby boy in this situation was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced. And probably the worst thing was that I couldn’t hold him. I could touch him, but that was all.


I know I heard lots of details and statistics, but all I really remember is that they didn’t give us much hope.


Unfortunately, I got very sick almost immediately. A high fever kept me from spending any time with Philip for several days. I really don’t know the first day I was able to hold him…he was a few days old. But what I do remember is how wonderful it felt to have him in my arms.


By this point the antibiotics were doing their job and his body was healing from the infection that had taken up residence in his body. They could assure his survival, but still the statistics were not very promising. After two weeks in the NICU, I walked out of the hospital with Philip in my arms. That was a day to remember.


So how did I survive this difficult situation?


Prayer. A lot of prayer. Not only was I praying, but there were friends and family members praying for Philip from the moment they moved him to the NICU.


I leaned in to God. God provided the strength and courage to wake up each day and fight the battle that I faced each day.


And I’ll never forget the way my family and my friends surrounded me with love and support. I couldn’t have made it without them.


What is my encouragement for you if you’re facing a similar situation? Do the same things I did. Lean in to those who love you most. Remember, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 – NIV) And “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12 – NIV) There is no reason to do life alone. Circle up with those who desire to help you through these most difficult situations.


I would also encourage you to find wonderful organizations like Little Lambs of Hope ( who have some encouragement for you. I am so blessed to be part of Little Lambs of Hope and know that it is our desire to come along side anyone who is in need. As a quick plug, if you have a desire to help us help others, your financial gift to Little Lambs of Hope would be a special blessing. Would you be willing to help?


36 years later, I see my first-born child as a loving husband and father. Philip is walking with the Lord in a daily relationship with Him. I am so proud of the man he has become. I can’t say it’s been smooth sailing, but I know on this side of it, that God has been with me through it all. As I’ve learned to lean and depend upon Him more and more, I know that His grace and peace covers me sufficiently (2 Corinthians 12:9). I pray the same for you.


Grace and peace be yours in abundance,




PS – I recently read a wonderful book by Kelly Balarie called “Battle Ready.” What an amazing read! If you are in need of finding a way to be battle ready, this is a read for you. 


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