Emersyn was born at 28 weeks and 3 days. We had no experience with high risk pregnancy or even any sort of pre term labor situation before her. Her older brother Grant came right on time, without issue about a year and a half before her. I had a completely normal pregnancy with Emersyn until my water broke October 10th, I was 26 weeks pregnant. I woke up and went and sat in my son Grant’s bedroom and my water just broke. I wasn’t sure that’s what had happened but I went to the hospital and then was transported by ambulance to Evanston hospital where they have a level 3 NICU that could take care of a 26 weeker. I was given steroid shots to spur her lung development in case she came right them and I was also given magnesium. My labor did not progress and I was admitted to the hospital, I stayed for 10 long days and then they let me go home, convinced that maybe my water had not fully broken. After a week of being home and taking it easy I started to feel like I was coming down with a cold. My whole body ached and eventually I developed a very high fever. October 24th, 28 weeks and 2 days pregnant, Ray got home from volleyball and I told him I thought I was having Braxton Hicks contractions. We called the doctor and she said that because of my fever and contraction symptoms I needed to get to the hospital right away. We drove all the way to Evanston at 3am and I was in full blown labor. Terrified, we had no idea what to expect with a baby arriving this early. I found out when we got to the hospital that my water had broken at 26 weeks and now I had a horrific infection and my body went into labor because Emersyn was no longer safe inside. They gave me more magnesium when we got there and I was already 10cm along. There was no time for an epidural to work and I was in so much pain from the infection and labor I didn’t even know what was happening. They brought me into an OR to push and then stopped me 3 pushes in because her heart rate dropped to nothing, they immediately put me under to deliver her. I woke up in recovery and our journey began there. Emersyn did so well right from brith, she came out breathing on her own and with so much hope. We were in survival mode, our lives were split between a happy, energetic toddler at home and a daughter fighting in the NICU. One week into her journey she developed NEC, a very scary infection in her intestines. They stopped her feeds completely and she was sustained on just IV nutrition for 10 days. We were unsure how bad the infection had gotten and were told there was a chance she could die from this. Luckily they had caught it early and her body responded to the antibiotics, slowly she got better. By 31 weeks gestational age she was back to making strides, shortly thereafter we were able to give her her first bottles and first outfits. We were still splitting our time and doing everything possible to see her everyday, driving the 40 mins each way and leaving our first born with his grandparents. We owe seeing her everyday to them, we received so much help from our families and it was the only reason we could survive the NICU life. Emersyn stayed for 50 days in the NICU and we were able to bring her home right before Christmas. She was a true warrior and did absolutely amazing during her stay there. When we got her home, her older brother Grant went to work as her older brother right away and has loved her like crazy since that first day. We feel so incredibly lucky for the team of nurses and doctors she had while she was there, they saved her life. Since coming home she is gaining lots of weight and becoming a chunky happy baby, we can’t say enough about how strong she is. The NICU life was the hardest time in our lives and we feel so blessed that she was able to conquer it and we were able to bring her home.