BARTLESVILLE, Okla. -- A Bartlesville couple has made it their mission to help NICU babies all across the country with their non-profit, Mighty Miracles Foundation.
The couple’s life was completely altered in a moment. A simple check-up for their unborn child quickly turned into the scariest day of their lives after being told their little one’s heart was not working as it should.
A week later, Kaleb Dickinson was born 12 weeks early, and his fighting journey has changed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit's across the country.
Kaleb spent 99 days in the NICU. His heart fought to beat, and his body fought to grow, but that's only the beginning of his story as the face of Mighty Miracles.
His big brown eyes and his sweet smile tell the story of a mighty journey.
"He is a flirt,” Amanda Dickinson, Kaleb’s mom said. “He thinks he's a comedian.”
In 2015, the Dickinson's went for a prenatal check-up, anxious to see the progress of their unborn child.
"Everything up until 28 weeks had been great,” Amanda said. “Everything looked right on track.”
During the appointment, dark clouds quickly filled the room when the nurse began looking at the ultra sound.
"She got really quiet,” Amanda said.
The news was heartbreaking.
"With tears in her eyes and she goes ‘Change of plans, the fetal maternal specialist wants you to meet at his office,’” Amanda said.
The baby had a heart defect, was going to be premature, and needed emergency surgery if he survived. The risk of down syndrome was also a possibility.
"We got two rounds of steroid shots and were sent home with the world completely turned upside down,” Amanda said.
A week later, Kaleb Dickinson was born, a fighter through and through.
“This two pounds two ounce human being is breathing on his own,” T.J. Dickinson, Kaleb’s father said.
Kaleb ended up in the NICU for over 3 months.
"I know what a typical labor is like, nurses coming in, oohing and awing,” Amanda said,
She recalled the abundance of baby gifts in the hospital with her first child, who was completely healthy. She said her experience with Kaleb in the NICU, however, did not compare.
“With Kaleb there was nothing,” Amanda said.
A life, just as important, only full of uncertainty. The Dickinson’s said they felt NICU babies deserved more. They wanted families to be able to see more than just the monitors and wires connected to their children.
That's when they decided to start the non-profit, Mighty Miracles, to brighten NICU’s with care packages.
"We send them all across the country,” Amanda said.
Each package is made with love, full of stuffed animals, bonding hearts, a guide to the NICU on what to expect, and even art. All of this is meant to bring NICU families encouragement and a sense of comfort.
"It’s already a daunting experience,” T.J. said. “Anything we can do to try to help.”
Kaleb is now 3 years old and the face of it all. The non-profit has been growing ever since.
If you're looking for a way to become a part of Kaleb's journey and the many other NICU babies, you can click here to donate.
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