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Meet Ella Christensen

My daughter’s name is Ella Christensen. She was born at 28 weeks, 1 day gestation in August of 2019. She was 1310 grams at birth (2 pounds, 14 ounces). She came early due to placental abruption. She was born while we were in Utah on vacation (we lived in Massachusetts at the time). 

Elle Christensen, NICU Patient
Elle Christensen, NICU patient

I stayed with her in the NICU when my family went back to Massachusetts to start school. During her NICU stay, it was such a blessing that I was able to be with her so often so that we could work on nursing and pumping and bonding. 

She did have some mild ROP (retinopathy of prematurity), had some concerning blood work a few days, and every transition (for example: from isolette to crib) was marked with some backslides, but after acclimating she did much better. She also had infantile hemangiomas that she had to have monitored by a dermatologist for 1.5 years. 

Other than those challenges, she did remarkably well and was able to leave the NICU at 35 weeks (before flu and RSV season, thankfully, as we had to fly back to Massachusetts). She’s now two years old and is walking, talking, still nursing, dancing—all of the things that I didn’t realize I was able to hope for when she was born so early and so small. 

The staff at University of Utah Hospital was so wonderful, helpful and supportive. I loved having the community of the NICU to lean on during the days when I didn’t know what Ella’s future would look like and the days where I felt so alone and isolated. I learned to be informed and an active participant in Ella’s care. I found my voice as a NICU mom and did all I could to advocate for her care and progress. 

Ella Christensen, former NICU Patient
Ella Christensen, Former NICU Patient

Meet Our NICU Alumni

This is a special project that documents our NICU alumni. We are so grateful to watch these amazing young patients grow into their lives, despite a challenging start.