Crystal gave birth to her daughter Briella 12 weeks early on August 28, 2021. Being born at only 28 weeks gestation, Briella weighed 2 pounds 11 ounces and was hospitalized in the NICU to monitor her development and support her growth into a healthy and strong baby girl.
Doctors have since identified and are monitoring a patent ductus arteriosus, an opening between two major blood vessels leading to Briella’s heart, and an atrial septal defect, a small hole between her heart’s upper chambers.
Despite all these setbacks, Briella remains a tough little fighter and Crystal radiates positivity and resilient optimism. Crystal is counting down the days until she can bring her daughter home. Doctors anticipated that Briella will be able to leave the NICU around the time of Thanksgiving, which was Briella’s due date, depending on her ability to breathe and eat on her own.
Briella has been able to put on weight and regulate her body temperature remarkably well, both great indicators of healthy development. Briella now weighs 6 pounds 3 ounces. She has also been able to breathe room air on her own for a few days at a time without an oxygen flow.
“It takes a lot of energy out of her. I keep reminding myself that these are things she wouldn’t even be doing right now,” Crystal said on Briella’s progress given that she should still be in the womb at this time.
I can only imagine the pain and struggle for my sister. She goes to work, takes breaks to visit Briella at the NICU, and then goes back to work.
Crystal’s sister Danne Doering, Retail Location Manager at Choice Bank in West Fargo, submitted a wish to our Wishing Well program to provide her sister with some extra support throughout this difficult time.
“This process has been very exhausting and nerve-wracking for me, her aunt. I can only imagine the pain and struggle for my sister,” Danne said. “My sister has since gone back to work cutting her maternity leave short. She goes to work, takes breaks to visit Briella at the NICU, and then goes back to work.”
Having an infant in the NICU is not only emotionally taxing, but also very costly. Between balancing work, family, medical bills, and caring for Briella in the NICU, our Wishing Well wanted to provide some financial support to be a comfort and help for Crystal and her family. So, we invited Crystal over to Choice Bank and surprised her with $1,000 in food and gas gift cards.
Briella has been continuing to grow and get stronger every day, and was able to come home around Thanksgiving just as her doctors anticipated! She was sent home with an NG tube, but it has since been removed as Briella has been able to eat and breathe on her own. Cyrstal’s courage and Briella’s strength during these first months of her life are nothing short of inspirational.
You can follow Briella’s journey and donate to her family here.
The Choice Bank Wishing Well is now accepting wishes for 2022! Ready to cast yours? Visit choicewishingwell.com and let us know who you would like to help out in your community.Make A Wish