Eli Dix holding his growth chartIn Their Words

Jade Dix
Fredericksburg, Iowa

Eli was born at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. He was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for seven weeks. We had multiple doctors while in the NICU, but the doctor who finally sent us home was Dr. Bell. He believed in me and in Eli—that he would be just fine.

I don't think Eli would be here today if it wasn't for University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. He was born at 31 weeks but he was only a little over 2 pounds. That's the size of a baby born at 27 or 28 weeks. He was so tiny. He spent exactly 47 days in the NICU. His biggest challenge was growing. He went home weighing 4 pounds, 7 ounces. He is still small for his age, but looking at him, you'd never know he had to fight to live.

Shortly after Eli came home, I was changing his diaper and noticed a lump in his pelvic area. I started to cry, because I thought something was wrong. We took him to the emergency room in Waterloo and they explained it was a hernia. Because he was still less than 5 pounds, he would need to have surgery at UI Stead Family Children's Hospital. That's something no parent ever wants to hear, that their child needs surgery. But you especially don't want to hear it when you spent the first seven weeks of his life fighting for his life.

Luckily, his surgery went well. Over the next two years, we traveled to Iowa City every three months for follow-up appointments, making sure Eli was where he should be. Other than his weight, he was hitting his milestones on time like any other baby. I'll never be able to thank them enough.

UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital saved my baby's life. They treat you like family, and they really do care.

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