We give back to show our gratitude and help other NICU families

Christine and Logan Derck are grateful parents and donors to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. Their son, Miles, was born prematurely and spent a month in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This is their story as written by Christine. 

When I got pregnant, we chose to deliver at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. A friend of mine is a nurse there, and she told me the hospital has a level 3 NICU. I didn’t know what that meant, but she assured me that if we ever needed it, we’d be very grateful to have it. Little did we know we would need it.

Miles was born at just 33 weeks on April 30, 2020. We really didn’t know what to expect, but the Labor and Delivery team was fantastic, and we had a wonderful experience despite the pandemic and the fear of having a preemie. 

When we were able to see Miles for the first time in the NICU, the nurses and doctors made sure that we had all of the facts about his health, but also allowed us the space to feel the celebration of welcoming our first baby into the world.

The NICU team made the most beautiful name card for Miles that now hangs in his nursery with his graduation bracelet. They also made me a Mother’s Day card because he was there the entire month of May.

The family atmosphere they created was so beautiful, especially in the middle of a pandemic, and it was never lost on us that they were leaving their own kids at home to take care of our little boy. They knew both Logan and me by name and greeted us as we came and went, updating us on our son’s progress since we could not visit him together due to COVID.

At one point, Miles had to be taken away for a procedure, and I was beside myself. Luisa, one of the charge nurses, silently grabbed my hand, held it and said, 'I'm a mom too.' It was all of those little human touches throughout our entire stay that just made us feel like we were in the right place. Everyone was cheering him on every day.

As soon as we understood the game plan for Miles to come home, we knew we really wanted to give back. I’m so appreciative that I got the opportunity to work with Advocate Charitable Foundation to figure out the most meaningful way to give and how we could have the biggest impact for others.

Giving back also brought us closure. Having our first baby prematurely in the middle of a pandemic was certainly not our plan, but going through it and being able to create this family with the nurses and doctors in the NICU, and then being able to pay it forward to the families that come after us really provided healing and closure to our experience. We can’t reiterate what a wonderful experience we had from beginning to end.

At his 8-week appointment, Miles was in the 1st percentile in weight. Now, he’s at the 85th percentile in weight! He recently turned 9 months old. He’s just the happiest, brightest little light from 2020, and we are grateful for him and the strong foundation that Advocate gave him every day.

You can help families like the Dercks by making a gift to support programs and services in your community. Get started here.

At 9 months, Miles is a happy and healthy.

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