What you see in this picture is from the darkest time in our lives. I don't voluntarily talk about it very often. I guess I should. Perhaps it would help other parents, I don't know.
On September 27, 2001, our son Hogan Charles Nance came into, and changed our lives forever.
He arrived 2+ months early. He weighed 2 pounds, 4 ounces. I loved him the moment I saw him; and just as soon, I had to give him away.
You see, "preemies" don't get to go home with their moms and dads from the hospital. They're lives are in the balance-daily, hourly, minute to minute-in the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit. Once Hogan was born, I was allowed to walk him to the NICU, and then I had to leave. The angels that worked in that NICU had a job to do...save my son's life, and I was just getting in the way.
At the time, Debbie and I were doing a morning radio show in Augusta, Georgia. So, here was our schedule: Get up at 2:30am. Get the hospital by 3:30. I get to hold the baby until 4:30. Then we go to work. At 11am we're back at the hospital. Debbie holds the baby until 12-12:30. We go home. And have to leave our baby behind.
It is heart-breaking and soul-crushing. And the ride is not smooth. There were good days and bad days. There were infections and blood transfusions. There were unexpected weight losses. And there were first smiles when he recognized us at 3:30 in the morning. There was a night in November when Debbie fed him for the first time.
The picture above is when Hogan was a month old...and still weighed about 3 pounds.
Two things-related-kept us going...kept us sane. First, our faith. God works in his own way on his schedule. He obviously had a plan for our boy and for us. Two, we had faith that he would work through those magnificent men and women of the NICU to allow us to bring him home and raise him.
Here are some "souvenirs" from that time; a blood pressure cuff that would fit your big toe, a knit cap that you could not get over HALF of a small baby doll's head, and a "preemie" diaper that is roughly the size of a feminine napkin.
We finally brought him home the night of Veteran's Day, 2001.
And here he is today.
Miracles happen. And they happen because of the men and women of Neo Natal Intensive Care Units like the one here at Levine Children's Hostpital. To make these miracles continue to happen, they...we need your support. Give today, give now, 877-932-9951 or 704-446-4951 or text SECRETSANTA (one word) to 51555, or you can donate here on the website.