A former preemie still thankful 33 years later

My name is Nichole Hajtovik Bland. I was born May 11, 1977. I was one of Akron Children’s NICU preemies at 26 wks. I’m now married, have 2 boys and going to college in the medical field. I want to say thank you all for helping me stay alive and for me to move forward in life. Thank you very much. I’m so blessed for all of your support and my parents Glenn and Robin.

Facebook Comments


  1. NICU Miracle

    My name is Keri Johnson. As a resent 2010 High School graduate at the University of Akron studying Radiology my parents and relatives are extremely proud of my accomplishments considering just 19 years ago, I was born 3 months premature with a birth weight of 1 lb. 6 oz on December 25,1990. I also had a twin brother that died 5 days after birth. It was a rough, touch and go start during my first 3 years of life.
    I was in the NICU at Akron Children’s Hospital for the first 10 months of my life dealing with multiple health problems such as sufficient lung development,& an enlarged heart. During this 10 months I spent most of the time on the ventilator. Along with this I was the genie pig for experimental medicine. I ended up having a tracheotomy put in before 5 months of age. After 10 months I came home for the first time. My bedroom ended up being a mini Intensive Care Unit were I was confined with a ventilator and other equipment. I had 24 hour home care for the first 3 years of life. After I came home, it seemed like every holiday I would go back into the hospital. Within the first 3 years I died 6 times. Because of the trach I could not eat or speak until age 3 when the tube was removed. At age 2 I had occupational and speech therapy. Also at age 2, I was only able to play for 2 hours and the rest of the day I was attached to a ventilator to breath to protect my heart from being strained. During the 2 hours I wore the “trach collar” which allowed me to breath on my own.
    I was fortunate that by the time I was school age, I was able to live a normal life and do the same things as my classmates because I was not as sickly. In high school I played the Alto Saxophone and loved every minute of it.
    Now that I am older, I fortunately do not have any major medical issues from being 3 months premature. I do have High Blood Pressure which to me is considered a minor issue considering what could have happened. Having High Blood Pressure for me has been positive in a way. It helped me to decided that I wants to study Radiology in college. The first time I had a Kidney Ultrasound and Echocardiogram to determine the cause of HBP I was fascinated seeing the body working and the technology itself. After being so fascinated I knew that’s what I want to go into. Also I wants to go into this field so that I can help people hopefully not get as sick as I was. I was diagnosed with High Blood Pressure 8 years ago. Fortunately, after seeing a Specialist at Akron Children’s Hospital’s Nephrology & Pediatric Hypertension center all test have come back good.
    I just wanted to show parents especially the Neonate Intensive Care Unit parents that even though one sometimes have no idea what is going to happen they should always remember the miracle children and their parents that have gone though the same or similar situation and know that you aren’t the only one. Just keep positive even though it is tough because some day you could have a miracle story of your own to tell and be proud just like my parents and family are.

    •  you truly are a miracle and God has kept you with us here on earth for a reason. God bless you and thank the Lord that you and your family were given so much strength. I am an intensive care nurse and it breaks my heart when I see people lose their loved ones. I cannot even begin to imagine doing my work for babies. People say us critical care nurses are something special but neonatal intensive care nurses deserve recognition thats all their own. I pray your life continues to bring you health and happiness! Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. For the past 26+ years I’ve wanted somehow to say “thank you” to the wonderful staff at Akron Childrens – On November 8, 1986 our son, Zachary was born at Akron City Hospital at 33 weeks – I had pre-eclampsia and had been hospitalized for 3 weeks prior to his birth.  My blood pressure rose and it was safer for him to be out than to be in – he was tranferred to ACH and I still thank God that his “out” began in such capable hands. Zac graduated with honors from high school and with honors from undergrad and he will graduate from medical school in May!  Plus his wedding is only 2 weeks away!  He is an amazing young man!  God has been so very faithful and we look forward to watching how many lives Zac will touch in the future through his medical career – in a way, those who so lovingly & competently cared for him will be touching them also. There is no way to ever say “thank you” enough!!  We will forever by grateful!  Karen Robinson

Speak Your Mind