“There’s Always Hope.” Mom Becomes NICU Nurse After Having 1-Lb Micro-Preemie.

Willow Hennessey then and now

There are many different reasons to change careers as an adult, but Perry Hennessy’s was incredibly personal.

When Perry was pregnant with her second daughter, she developed an infection in her placenta called chorioamnionitis. She was hospitalized for eight days and received large doses of antibiotics, but in spite of their efforts, her baby was born at just 25 weeks gestation.

Willow Ward weighed just 1 pound, 10 ounces at birth, making her officially a “micro-preemie.” She was placed in an incubator in the hospital’s NICU for 69 days, where she continued to develop right before her mother’s eyes.

“Seeing her and her little ears still attached to her head like they weren’t fully formed yet, and her eyes were still fused shut. I got to see her develop right in front of me,” Perry said. “All of my beliefs and how I feel about things around me completely changed.”

Willow was given just a 6 percent chance of survival without defects, but Perry never gave up hope. Not only that, but she also noticed that the staff members in the NICU never stopped believing in their patient either.

“There’s always hope in the NICU, no matter how sick your child is or how early they’re born,” Perry said.

As Willow got stronger, Perry started thinking about what it takes to care not just for a tiny micro-preemie, but for their families, too. Her own sister was born a micro-preemie, and when Perry was a child, she dreamed of being a NICU nurse to help babies like her sibling. Watching the caring staff nurture Willow renewed her interest in this specialty. Since Perry was already a registered nurse, she decided to change her career and take a job in the NICU instead.

Willow is now a healthy 2-year-old who has defied the odds in every possible way. She has zero deficits and is the center of attention in her family!

little girl on swing wearing shirt that says "i don't give a frappe"
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Perry became a full-time NICU nurse who keeps hope alive for other parents going through a tough time. Who better to encourage them than someone who has walked a mile in their shoes?

Share this story to remind anyone reading this that there is always hope, no matter how bad things seem at the time.

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