Plunge for Preemies

Honorary Angel Sweet Pea

Kaylee Gabrielle Zale

We were married in September of 2016 and went on our honeymoon in January of 2017.  2 days after returning from our Honeymoon we found out we were pregnant.  the following months came and went mostly without issue.  we were thrilled to do the normal prep stuff, including a pretty cool gender reveal involving Jurassic park.  we decided on the Name Kaylee for one of our favorite characters from Firefly and Gabrielle to honor my Nana.  round about end of May i was diagnosed with Gestational diabetes, which we took in stride.  we did everything we could to make sure we were both healthy throughout.  despite our best efforts something happened.  one week after my Beloved Nana passed away from lung cancer, i was at work and felt like something wasn't quite right.  I went home, picked up my husband, and went to the hospital.  i was scared.  when we got to the hospital they checked and checked and checked.  no heartbeat.  i was admitted and they tried to deliver her naturally.  we tried for 6 days to deliver to no avail.  on the morning of the 6th day they did another ultrasound to check her position.  she had slipped to her side and so we had to do a c-section.  at 11:46 Am on July 19th 2017 Kaylee Gabrielle Zale was born weighing 1 lb 9ozs and measuring 13 inches long.  she was beautiful.

-Written by Kaylee's mom, Rebecca

Honorary Sweet Pea

Bohdan Bradbury

Our journey for Bohdan began 2 years before he was even conceived. Due to my (mom) medical history and implant, we had to see a variety of specialists (anesthesia, neurosurgery, Maternal Fetal Medicine, etc) to determine if it was safe for me and baby to become pregnant, and deliver. My pregnancy was the  most difficult  experience of my life. I experienced Hyperemesis Gravidarium, Gestational Hypertension, Gestational Diabetes and severe Preeclampsia. Again, it took an army to keep both mom and baby safe (MFM, OB Medicine, OB GYN, Dietician, etc) .But even with all our efforts, Bohdan was born at 31 weeks. He was diagnosed  with Respiratory Distress Syndrome, as he was not breathing at birth. Intubations, ventilators, oxygen along with so much more kept our baby safe and thriving.

Our NICU  journey was difficult and amazing. Watching our little man through his battles and conquering them one by one. It was so beautiful to see such strength in such a tiny person. Nothing about my pregnancy and birth was normal. Nothing. As holidays approached in the NICU, I assumed these too would be the same. But no! Project Sweet Peas brought such happiness and normalcy back to us! For Halloween, they had a photographer and special itty bitty costumes to choose from. For the first time, I was just a mom picking out my son's  costume. Then the photo shoot  was amazing! We had our first "real" pictures of Bohdan taken, just as we would have  if we were home. We cherish that picture of our little a Ninja Turtle.

Project Sweet Peas was not done there either. We were given a care package and family photo shoot! How "normal" can you get?! It was so beautiful  to get "real" pictures of Bohdan, my husband and myself done. It was such a happy time! One that we had been looking forward to for so long, and then did not think possible until after we got home. It was such a blessing!

Bohdan spent a total of 49 days in the Women & Infants Hospital NICU. Project Sweet Peas helped mold those days into positive experiences and cherished memories. We will be forever grateful!

-Written by Bohdan's mom, Laura

Honorary Sweet Pea

Julia Rose Rahn


I was diagnosed with preeclampsia at my 28 week visit to the OB following a 24 hour urine test at home. I ended up being admitted at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, RI and for a few days, we weren't sure what was going to happen until I started responding to medication. The plan was to stay in the hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy, but to make it to 32 weeks at least. I had been in the hospital less than one week when I woke up in the morning and realized something was wrong. My doctor came in, did an exam, and it was determined that I was having a placenta abruption. So at 29 weeks, Julia Rose arrived via emergency csection, weighing 2lbs. 14 oz. She was a fighter from the get go, letting everyone know how loud she was once she was delivered. Julia did great in the nicu, and after 49 days of figuring out how to breathe, how to eat, and gaining weight, she came home weighing 6 lbs even. I decided to stay home with her as she was our first baby, and we didn't know what the future would hold for her as she was a tad behind on milestones. At 21 months, Julia stopped talking, so she went to a speech and socialization group through early intervention. A few months later, she was not only speaking full sentences, but she had also taught herself to read. Her strong will and her fiery spirit got her through the nicu and she overcame so much. Now at 8 years old, and a proud big sister of another former Honorary Sweet Pea, we know there is nothing she can't do! This girl is going to do big things. 

-Written by Julia's mom, Paige

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