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