Mom Looks Forward to Taking Baby Home After Preterm Birth

When Latevia Ward, a third-grade teacher in Miami, went to the hospital in August at 27 weeks pregnant, she knew something wasn’t right. She was recovering from a recent bout of COVID-19 but felt like she was experiencing early signs of labor.

Doctors at the Women’s Hospital at Jackson Memorial Hospital were monitoring her closely because Ward — a mother of 7 — had a history of preterm labor and preeclampsia, which results in dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Just one year ago, on August 6th, 2020, Ward delivered twins at 27 weeks. The twins, Aidan and Asia, weighed less than two pounds and struggled with many complications. Ward lost both within a matter of months — one-month-old Aidan on Labor Day and four-month-old Asia on Thanksgiving morning.

In 2018, Ward lost another baby girl, Miracle, who was also born prematurely.

With this pregnancy, Ward had been in the hospital several times already due to issues stemming from preeclampsia, which was frustrating because she only had high blood pressure when pregnant. And after losing her previous three babies, she tried to get as healthy as possible.

“You can’t be prepared for it,” Ward said of preeclampsia. “[Before this pregnancy] I had lost weight, was eating right and everything, and wasn’t even on high blood pressure medicine. But as soon as I got pregnant, preeclampsia came back.”

Ward continued to go to the hospital every three days for monitoring. Then, doctors checked her cervix and realized she was dilated, a sign her body was preparing for labor.

Ward was in the hospital on bed rest for seven days, and doctors gave her medications to try to slow or stop the delivery and to prevent complications in the baby if it was born early.

On September 14, Ward went into labor and delivered a baby boy via cesarean section. Aaron weighed 4 pounds. The moment Ward heard him cry, she knew something was different. She never heard her twins cry because as soon as they were born, they needed to be intubated to help them breathe.

“When I heard him cry, I started crying because it was a relief to me,” she said.

Aaron was whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Holtz Children’s Hospital, the largest Level III NICU in the region that can provide care for the sickest and smallest babies.

Within four days, Aaron was off the CPAP breathing machine, but Ward was still nervous. She feared something would go wrong.

“I was afraid about everything,” she said. “I was so sad all over again thinking about my other babies.”

The nurses in the NICU, especially those who know her from the previous year, have reassured her each day that Aaron is doing well and getting stronger. He is tolerating food and is learning to suck to be able to eat from a bottle. He is now 8 weeks old, weighing more than 5 pounds.

“He’s alert and doing better,” Ward said. “I’m able to relax a little. But I still have some bad days, [especially since] November is when I lost Asia.”

Despite her understandable fears after her unimaginable loss, Ward has faith that Aaron will pull through.

“You just have to stay strong. I’m spiritual, and I read my Bible to stay positive, and I have positive friends around me,” Ward said.

Ward’s original due date was November 25, and doctors believed he would be ready to go home by then, but on Friday, November 12, Ward received the much-awaited that her baby boy was finally coming home.

Ward is looking forward to that day.

“I’m thankful to God that my son has finally come home and now we get to spend time together as a family,” She said.