Every year 600 babies are seen at WVU Medicine Children’s NICU.
Wheeling Park High School graduate and current Shepherd University student Alyson Hehr was one of them.
When Renee was nine days past her due date she didn’t think much of it.
She had no problems during her pregnancy other than her baby having a slower heart rate.
“Everything was fine, so we thought. And then when she was born, she was born with birth asphyxia which means she was not breathing when she was born. I saw her for like a split second and then the next thing I see they’re using the bag, pushing air into her lungs,” said Renee.
At that moment Alyson’s AP GAR score, or health test, was a 0. She was basically not living.
Renee had to make a split decision, name her baby and choose a NICU.
“It was a horrible experience that she was leaving I was in the hospital. I went home she didn’t come with me. My four year old son at the time, where’s my baby, it was a horrible experience there’s really no way to describe it,” said Renee.
She chose the name Alyson, and after consulting her doctor, she chose WVU Medicine Children’s.
“She was there for six days, and I know there are some babies that are there for months on end and six days to some people they’re like oh that’s not bad, but six days, those six days felt like an eternity. And even now she’s 21 and I still I probably worry more than any mother of a 21 year old when their 21 year old child is sick, it just brings back all the oh my gosh what are we going to go through now,” said Renee.
At the age of 14, Alyson decided it was time to give back to the place that saved her life.
She started Alyson’s Angels, a program that gives care packages to families at the NICU including gas cards, gift cards, toiletries, snacks.
“Hearing the story literally every year for my birthday and every time my Dad or grandpa is feeling nostalgic, so it was just a way to give back,” said Alyson.
As Renee and Alyson laugh and share life together now, Renee says the best decision of her life was choosing WVU Medicine Children’s.
“These babies would not be here without the NICU without doctors who were trained and nurses who were trained in this. So to go to the Gala or attend the gala, or just make a donation to WVU,” said Renee.
The Gala is scheduled for August 13 at Glessner Auditorium at Oglebay Park.