One year after their baby daughter was born about three months premature, a North Texas couple is saying – and singing – thank you to the team of doctors and nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit at Texas Health Plano.
“She was the smallest baby on the block,” said Cri Rivera, of his daughter Ivey, who weighed only 2.5 pounds at birth and was so small she wore her father’s wedding ring as a bracelet.
“Just looking back at how little she was, it doesn’t even seem possible that she’s come this far,” added mom Misty Strebeck.
Ivey spent two months in the NICU, a time her parents said was a time of doubt and struggle but also good humor.
“It was a very serious time in our lives, but we just laughed and made the best of it because we knew she was getting the best care imaginable,” Rivera said.
What resulted was a series of “fighting” nicknames, like “Tiny Dancer,” and little songs to pass the time watching Ivey grow in the NICU incubator.
“You have lots of time to think while you’re waiting on your baby to grow,” Rivera said.
The “Presby Plano Blues,” a ditty Rivera wrote to the tune of “Folsom Prison Blues,” became a favorite. Months later, it became the soundtrack to a thank you video the family put together for the Texas Health Plano medical team that saved Ivey’s life. (See the video here)
After passing the video on to the staff, it quickly went “viral” around the hospital.
“I know I sent it to 10 people, and then they sent it to 10 people,” said Veronica Schaedler, supervisor of lactation services. “It makes it all worth it – that’s why we do what we do.”
Returning to the hospital to celebrate Ivey’s first birthday on Monday, the Rivera family had a similar view.
“She’s doing so well because of all these amazing angels,” said Ivey’s father. “I hope they have the smallest idea of what they’ve done for our family.”