Two tiny feet

Information and Support for U of M Holden NICU Families and Graduates


Holden grad story

We just wanted to share this great story we received. Hope you all enjoy it.

If you would like to share your own, the discussion board is always open.

As I look at family pictures from the time I was at Holden NICU, I have a hard time understanding that the baby in the pictures is me. I was born on July 15th, 1988 at twenty-eight weeks gestation to my parents, Paula and Roey, and to my two-and-a-half year old sister, Ella. Throughout the past seventeen years, I have heard countless stories of my sickness and struggles and the valor I had against them all. When I came to Michigan with my dad after fifth grade to visit my grandmother, I asked if I could visit Holden. As we came to the front desk, a woman asked us what baby we are visiting. In response my dad answered (pointing at me): “this one here”. The woman smiled and asked me what my name was. A few minutes later a number of nurses came to greet me; they said that one of the only reasons they remember me, other than because of the severity of my sickness, was that my name is Inbal.

During the summer after my sophomore year I asked my grandma to teach me how to knit. I spent that summer knitting hats for preemies, which I later sent to Holden with a letter. A few weeks later, after a bad day at school, I noticed that a letter was waiting for me from Holden. As I opened it I saw that along with a formal letter from the unit, I received a personalized letter from Dr. Schumacher who took care of me when I was born. Needless to say, all of a sudden my day became much better. A few weeks later, I also received a card from Janet Yamon who was one of my many nurses. I still have both letters and have made copies of them for my grandma.

Since I was born, I have had countless operations and have taken many medications. Fortunately, I do not remember most of them. One of the stories my parents tell me is of when I was three and had surgery to remove the hemangioma on my nose. Still drowsy from the anesthesia, my mom tried to put my shoes on. Yet, because I was a person that wanted to achieve her own goals even at age three, I took the shoes from my mom and put them on by myself.

On September 23rd, 2004 I had a procedure to close the ASD I had since I was at Holden. Although my family was not aware that the ASD was not closed until a few weeks before the surgery, I will never forget how worried my parents looked when they heard I had to go through surgery again, and this time the surgery was on my heart. Now that I went through the procedure, I have a much better understanding of how my parents felt when I was born. During the summer after my Junior year in high school I wanted to volunteer at a place where I could actually make a difference. After helping with the 2004 elections, I decided to find a place to work at that would have a personal and significant meaning for me. I chose two places, the first was Innisfree Village, a community based village with people with disabilities, and the second was Holden.

I was unsure of what I would do at Holden, but hoped that I would help in any way I could. I helped with organizing care packages and putting together bottles in bags for mothers. Yet throughout, what had the greatest impact on me was meeting with parents that have babies at Holden today. I noticed that at first many parents were uncomfortable with me looking at their babies, but when they heard that I was a Holden graduate, they seemed very appreciative of my help.

On the day I took a picture with three of my nurses that still work at Holden: Darlene, Jan and Lorri, I showed the pictures to my grandmother (or my “greatest cheer leader”, as written to me by Janet). She was so excited that she showed the picture to everyone at her work and all her neighbors. Seeing my grandma so happy, gave me a new perspective on why I came to volunteer at Holden. Yes, I did want to help and see babies that are now like I was then, but I received even more in return. Most teenagers cannot say that they visited the hospital where they were born and that nurses remembered them, but I can. I look at pictures of me and understand that whatever challenges I have ahead of me, if I could face them as a baby, I can face them today.

Thank you Holden!!!!