Traci and Travis Morgan each had two children from previous marriages when they found out Traci was pregnant. The pregnancy was difficult almost from the beginning. At 25 weeks, Traci developed a life-threatening blood clot and was airlifted to Loyola Hospital. For six days doctors postponed labor, until at 26 weeks she was induced.
Keagan Morgan made his appearance on July 3, 2011, weighing 2 pounds, 11 ounces. "He looked like a little bird," Traci says. "He had to be kept in a moisture-rich environment because his skin hadn't really developed yet and you could almost see through it."
Traci moved into the Ronald McDonald house nearby so she could be with him as much as possible, although she couldn't do much to help as her son fought for life.
"The nurses can't let you do a lot that you want to do for your baby, and you feel helpless. They change the baby's diaper. You can't hold the baby for the first week," Traci remembers. "Their veins are so little and it's just way too delicate. …It's hard, but you have to understand and watch the nurses and realize that eventually you will get to care for your baby."
There was one day Traci still can recall vividly, when Keagan spit up and it was all over him. As Traci tried to figure out what to do, one of the nurses came over and said, "It's OK. We got this."
"I started crying because that was my baby and I felt like I should be able to do it," Traci says.
Keagan was hospitalized until Sept. 19. Now six months old, Keagan is one of the lucky ones, Traci says. He has some vision problems that will require surgery and he receives physical therapy because he's a little behind in his motor skills. But right now, he's on track for his development with an adjusted age of three months (how old he would be if he had been born full-term).
|At 6 months, Travis is behind but seems to be doing well.|
Still, Traci finds herself watchful and sometimes worried there may be other problems not evident yet. "He does seem to have a little bit of stimulatory problems, if there's too many people or too much noise he starts crying," Traci says. "So I'm hoping it's something he'll outgrow, but the doctor did say it's something that we might want to watch."
Traci knows she has to get back to work, but she's having a tough time with the idea of being away from Keagan. "I don't want to go back to work, but I need to," Traci says. "But I'm so afraid to leave him."
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.