Amelia Boxleiter photo at 2 weeks oldIn Their Words

Shayna Boxleiter
Dubuque, Iowa

We became involved with the hospital on Oct. 28, 2014, the day before Amelia was born. From that moment on, the children's hospital has been a huge part of our lives.

Amelia was born at 28 weeks and 0 days on Oct. 29, 2014 at 1:53 a.m. We felt at 28 weeks things were going to be OK, but unfortunately there were many complications for what had seemed to be a perfectly healthy full-term baby.

From the moment I got there, we knew we were in good hands. My nurse, Kasey, went above and beyond during Amelia's traumatic birth and got me into see her in the NICU right away. Once I was there, Dr. Dagle and Dr. Lim made us feel comfortable and gave us the rundown of everything as best as they could. The day Amelia was born was the scariest day of my life, and things only got worse for several weeks. After she turned 1, things really came together for her but only because of the help and support of all of the nurses and doctors.

We just celebrated Amelia's third birthday, and it is truly unbelievable the little girl she is today. She can spell “red” and “green.” She can count to 30 (trying to count to 100 like her sister). She is active, has a great personality (and a little shy), and she wants to be a hair stylist when she gets older. She will continue to see cardiology for the rest of her life and ophthalmology for the foreseeable future, but all of the other doctors cannot believe how well she is doing.

Amelia Boxleiter photoWe were prepared for the worst: cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, possibly a trach (tracheostomy tube to help with breathing), and hearing and vision loss. But because of the nurses and doctors, we have a very healthy and active 3-year-old! She is involved in toddler yoga at Challenge to Change. This is one of her favorite things to do. And she participated in the Living for Brecken obstacle race this summer. She was the youngest and finished last, but she didn’t give up and is still very proud.

She is a shining example of what a bad situation for a “preemie” can look like because of the excellent care provided by the doctors and nurses at UI Stead Family Children's Hospital.

UI Stead Family Children's Hospital saved my daughter’s life many times. They never gave up, and they were there for all of us throughout Amelia's stay. This is the best place to be for preemies and many other specialties.

My husband says that because of UI Stead Family Children's hospital, "Someday I will get to walk my daughter to her first day of kindergarten, I will get to see her graduate from high school, and someday I will get to walk her down the aisle.”

There are no words to describe how much UI Stead Family Children's Hospital means to us. Because of them, our family is complete. It is really hard to truly explain how a hospital can have such terrible and amazing moments and how medical professionals can become like a part of your family, but that is what it has done for us.

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