November 21, 2016
Wall of Hope: Stories of Courage & Inspiration
Learning that they were expecting a baby came as a surprise for Jennifer and Brian Strahl, who thought they couldn't conceive.
But the couple was in for an even bigger surprise when their son decided to arrive 14 weeks early.
"We had learned we were expecting just three weeks prior – and had seen the OB-GYN just four days earlier!" Jennifer says.
Jennifer went into labor so quickly that the only place the couple could get to in time was the emergency department at Wahiawa General Hospital. Luckily, an off-duty neonatologist from Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children just happened to live a few minutes away, and showed up quickly to assist before the transport team arrived.
"He explained the rough road ahead, but gave us hope that we could have a happy ending," Brian says.
Because Declan was a micro-preemie (he weighed just 1 pound, 11 ounces at birth), he was in the Kapiolani Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for 100 days and was discharged on Dec. 30 – two days after his original due date.
"During that time, we built relationships with doctors and his primary nurses that continue to this day," Brian says. "Even now, two years later, as soon as we walk into the NICU, everyone remembers Declan and can't wait to see him again."
Today, Declan is doing "fantastic."
"No medical professional we see now ever believes he was a 26-week preemie – he's a happy, healthy boy who is meeting developmental milestones and has virtually no residual health issues following his dramatic early arrival," Jennifer says. "Kapiolani will forever be a part of Declan's incredible story, and we're honored to be a part of Kapiolani, too, giving hope to others as others did for us."