MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. – When the Johnsons anxiously awaited the arrival of their son, they never expected him to arrive smaller than the palm of their hand.
Graham Johnson was one of the 380,000 babies born prematurely in the U.S. each year, according to the March of Dimes. He weighed only 2 lbs.
His mom, Jaclyn Johnson, went into pre-term labor at just 23 weeks. She was on bed rest until she delivered 5-and-a-half weeks later.
The day Graham was born began the roller coaster ride of being a NICU—Neonatal Intensive Care Unit—parent. There were incredible highs, like when his dad, Wade Johnson, was able to hold Graham for the first time.
“It was pretty incredible,” Wade said.
But there were also incredible lows, like the day Jaclyn found him not breathing. She said he had turned completely white, and nurses told her she had to talk to him in order to wake him up.
“I just remember saying, Graham mommy’s here,” said Jaclyn.
Graham recovered and each day grew stronger. After three months, they were able to take him home. Jaclyn and Wade credit the doctors and nurses at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center for getting them through it all.
The parents took Graham back to the hospital to meet with the staff so they can see the kids he is now. They also attend local March of Dimes events.
The Johnsons say the local chapter of the March of Dimes has been instrumental in supporting them and other families with babies in the NICU.
March of Dimes is hosting a fundraiser on June 27 to raise money to continue helping families. The Get S.E.T. event starts at 6 p.m. at the NOVO in Downtown LA.