Oliver Vince Bergman

Written by his mother, Madeleine Bergman

Shortly after dawn broke on  Sunday morning May 21, 2017 the doctor entered my  hospital  room  and   suggested that   I call my husband. Overnight monitoring indicated the baby’s condition was  such that   he had   a  better chance  of  surviving   outside of  the  womb.   I      remember feeling cold and   numb as  I   spoke with my husband Mark  and  my parents. My mom prayed with me and reminded me of my strength which she  pointed out  that  the  baby would possess as  well.  Deep   breaths and   self-talk that  I needed my heart and  body  to be calm and  focused because our  baby was  fighting  for  his life were  my only thoughts as  I   was  wheeled into surgery.

Oliver was delivered by (-section at 10:35 a.m. weighing 1  pound   and  13  ounces. We were  given a moment to view our tiny miracle with skin almost transparent  before  he   was   whisked    off   to   the capable  hands of  the  staff  at  Wolfson   Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive  Care Unit – a moment seared into my memory.

And so our journey  began …

Oliver   spent 132   days  in  the   NICU  as   his  little body  worked feverously to stay  alive.  Severe Bronchopulmonary   Dysplasia   prevented    Oliver from   breathing on   his  own   and   he  experienced multiple  Bradycardia episodes which  were  rapidly addressed by the expert response teams as  I   stood in silence holding  my own  breath. Our little guy received seven  blood  transfusions and  experienced three  surgical procedures that  included the insertion of  a  Gastrostomy Tube  an  lgni  hernia   repair and several  Bevacizumab injections in  his eyes   during his patient stay.  Listing the procedures has unlocked me es and   emotions that   I     have   kept apart in my mind using upon  each day   caring for  a  premature infant  allows  scant opportunity for reflection back.  However, as  I     revisit  those  weeks and   months   – particularly during   episodes  when Oliver’s heart rate   would  drop so  low  the  alarms would   go   off  and   I  would   have   to  step   back   to make  room  for the  nurses  who  would  “bag” Oliver to squeeze oxygen into  his  lungs,   I    found   myself  experiencing the   same   visual   reaction of  agony over  my helplessness.

The   consummate expertise of   the   staff   coupled with  their  nurturing manner  kept  us  assured  even during   the  long  days of  challenge. We remain   in awe over  their stamina as the responsibilities are all consuming; yet, the level of professionalism remains remarkable. The sophistication of the equipment and supplies as well as  the  accommodations added  to our  trust that  baby Oliver  would  thrive.  Further, the hands-on education we received daily  from  nurses, staff and  doctors prepared us fully for the demands of oxygen lines,  g-tubes and  various monitors  once we were  able to care for Oliver  in our  home.

Today, Oliver   is  lively.    spunky and   curious.  He thrives in his music class and  swimming  lessons.  He stretches himself in every activity from  rolling a  ball to taking  steps. Oliver has a  contagious smile and a giggle that  can  brighten days for  all  the  lives he touches even  in passing.

We   still have   not fully  come   to  terms   with  the enormity  of  the   experience  surrounding  Oliver’s first  months,   but  we  shall   be  ever  grateful for  the impact  of Wolfson  Children’s Hospital  on our  lives.

OLIVER’S STORY IS SPONSORED  BY ARLINGTON TOYOTA, BOYNTON FAMILY FOUNDATION, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, SHELLEY C. KLEMPF, LINDA AND DAVID STEIN AND THE RED DAISY