Mission Accomplished in September!

25 weeks into her pregnancy, April gave birth to Cooper who weighed only 1lb 15oz.

While vacationing in South Carolina, the Young family found themselves hospital-bound when April went into early labor. The plan was to stop it and keep her on bedrest for 9 weeks, but at the end of a very stressful day and faced with the possibility of losing one or both April and the baby, she was wheeled in for an emergency c-section. At just 25 weeks, Cooper made his appearance. Philip, Cooper’s dad, and April weren’t able to see their newborn for hours while he was stabilized in the NICU.

“Our first visit with our newborn baby boy was no longer than 5 minutes. We wouldn’t see him again until almost noon later that day.”

A little over a month later, Cooper was stable enough to transfer to VCU. For 110 days, they would not go a single day without seeing him. Talking to him, singing to him, being with him- they stayed close to him while he fought to grow and grow.

“On many occasions, us parents would run into each other at different times in the snack/food area just outside the NICU doors. We would all trade each other’s NICU stories and each one of us would nod our heads, understanding what each parent was going through.”

One topic that kept coming up was RMHC of Richmond. Philip and April lived near VCU, so didn’t need to stay at the House on Monument Ave, but found comfort in the Lunches with Love program.

“I don’t know how many days that we would eat the delicious lunches RMHC of Richmond provided and that would be the only thing we would have eaten that day. Time is a funny thing in the NICU. In the blink of an eye the whole day is gone and you realize ‘Thank goodness for those kind people for bringing in those lunches.’ Otherwise, I am sure there would have been plenty of days we all would have collapsed from the hunger.”

On December 7th, 2016 Cooper grew to the point where he didn’t need the medicines, the monitors, the oxygen, the wires- he was just a healthy baby boy.

But, that’s not where this story ends! This year on Cooper’s first birthday, the Young family decided to pay it forward by asking friends and family members to donate wishlist items for the House! They brought the birthday boy and donations to the House where staff and volunteers got to dote on him and gratefully accept the items.

“Most times in life, people don’t know if they have made a positive impact on other people’s lives, but I can assure you that in the Youngs’ lives, even though we didn’t get to stay at your facility, you ALL have made a positive difference and for that, we will ALWAYS be grateful. I still have yet to taste a better sandwich!”

Keep up with Cooper’s progress on his FB page- Cooper’s Chronicles!