San Diego

Inspiring San Diego: Miracle Mom Thanks Nonprofit for Sweetening Mother's Day

Nothing could have ever prepared Heather Imenson for the birth of her third child.

"I thought I knew what to expect and I was totally wrong,” she said. “I was terrified every day. For probably the first 60 days."

Imenson’s water broke when she was just 23 weeks pregnant. She was hospitalized and two weeks later her son Kaelan was born via emergency cesarean section. He weighed but 1 pound and 14 ounces.

"He looked very translucent,” Imenson said. “I mean, his brain wasn't even fused so you could see the line on his brain. His eyes were still fused together. His eyes wouldn't open for weeks."

Baby Kaelan was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where he spent the next 104 days, hooked up to wires and tubes, with his mom right by his side.

Imenson was confined to a hospital room nearly 24 hours a day for more than three months. Her bills at home continued to pile, she grew isolated and struggled to find people she could relate to, and she began to miss life’s simplest luxuries, like a decent lip balm.

Miracle Babies, a nonprofit founded to help families and mothers just like Imenson, stepped in and solved all those problems and then some.

The organization helped cover Imenson’s bills and other expenses associated with her hospital stay, and brought her care packages with hygiene and comfort products.

Perhaps the most important service Miracle Babies was able to provide Imenson was connecting her with mothers and fathers dealing with the same fear and uncertainty she was.

"They brought us into a community area where you can actually talk to other people that are going through the same things that you are so that you don't feel as alone," Imenson said.

Dr. Sean Daneshmand founded Miracle Babies because he knows how frightening and stressful an infant’s hospital stay can be for families, and he recognized their need for support.

"They need to be only thinking about that child,” he said. “That's it. They've got to make sure that they're there. They shouldn't be thinking about paying gas, paying for a mortgage or paying rent. They've got to be with their child."

Over the past decade, his unique nonprofit has gifted nearly $2 million to help thousands of families like the Imensons in San Diego County and beyond.

"We just need to continue doing more and more and more so that really, we come to a point where we're giving enough money to families where they really can just be in the NICU with their babies and prepare for the future,” Dr. Daneshmand said.

Kaelan Imenson is now an active 2-year-old and his mother said she is grateful for every moment.

“There was a time when I couldn't see his eyes and he didn't have a voice and I just wanted him to cry so bad that I never take it for granted," she said.

Imenson said she is forever grateful for her miracle baby and the group who stood by her to watch that miracle unfold.

"Mother's Day definitely would be a lot different if things went differently. And now I can celebrate it with pure joy and happiness and I can never thank Miracle Babies or everyone that helped us and our whole community, I can never thank them enough."

Every year more than half a million babies are born prematurely in the US. Miracle Babies hopes to expand to other parts of the country. To make a donation click here.

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