After 142 days at Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital, Alexandria Hicks was not disappointed to spend another holiday — this time Mother’s Day — in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with her premature daughter, Esther Grace. Instead, she was grateful for all of the positives in their lives.
WTVM reported that Esther Grace has spent nine holidays in the hospital so far, with Mother’s Day being the most recent. But Hicks used this time as an opportunity instead of a setback. Hicks explained, “I had figured out very early on that I could either feel sorry for myself, feel sorry for her, or I could look to it as we’re here, we’ve made it, we’ve survived and every day she fights, I’ll fight behind her.”
She added, “I’ve started to notice what’s important and what’s not important. Things that I thought ahead of time would be ‘Oh my god, I hope we don’t celebrate this holiday here’, to ‘Oh look I get to spend it with the nurses.’ It’s just there’s always two perspectives and I try to look at it as the more beautiful side as we can either feel bad, or celebrate.”
Esther Grace was born on Christmas Eve, and weighed only one pound. “They said that her life and my life were both at risk the longer she stayed in. So, at birth because of all of her conditions and everything she was going through, they gave her a 20% chance of survival,” said Hicks.
On social media, Hicks shared, “After a very distressing pregnancy leading to a traumatic delivery, my daughter Esther was born fourteen weeks premature. She has triumphantly fought for weeks we prayed and sat at her bedside speaking life.”
The premature baby girl is now five months old, weighing a very healthy nine pounds. The family doesn’t know when baby Esther will be allowed to go home but Hicks said, “Throughout all of this we’ve never once felt like we’d lose her, we just felt like we should keep praying and trusting that she will make it through.”
“I believe that every child is given exactly to the mom that they need them to have, and I didn’t know I was capable of being a NICU mom until I was thrown into it,” Hicks continued. “This is a chance to love and grow and become something I never knew I could be.”
During their time in NICU, Hicks was only able to clothe her premature daughter with hats. She had a two-week hospital stay leading up to delivery, during which she crocheted 30 hats for the NICU. After Esther was born, Alexandria brought handmade items to share with other NICU moms. She believes it’s important for them to connect with their babies by dressing their little ones while in the NICU.
“Being able to see the hats I crocheted on my own daughter and other babies has brought such a joy to myself but also to other moms to be able to pick out colors or patterns that they specifically desired,” Hicks explained. This was how Project 4:14 began. It’s a non-profit organization that sends love to NICU moms. The ministry was founded by Hicks when Esther Grace was only three weeks old.
“Esther 4:14 says, ‘Perhaps you were created for such a time as this’ and she was born 14 weeks early,” she said. “Our mission is love. We send out care packages free of cost to new NICU parents all over the country.”
Project 4:14 has blessed 35 babies and 30 mothers so far. You can support this ministry by donating handmade hats and blankets, notebooks of any size, personalized cards with kind thoughts, pens, and yarn. Hicks said, “My heart is so overfilled constantly with the amount of love that people have shown us to help make these care packages happen.”
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