PREEMIE UPDATE: Claire & Mary Sharkey

In our February edition of our Preemie Family newsletter we learned about 23-week and 5 day preemies Claire (1 lb. 2 oz.) & Mary  (1 lb. 4 oz. ) Sharkey.  Mary received her angel wings at 14 days old in the NICU and Claire spent 103 days in the NICU before being discharged to home.  Read more in an update by their mother, Martha, below. 

by Martha Sharkey, Mother to Claire & Mary Sharkey  

The Day Mary Passed Away

The Day Mary Passed Away

1st Time Holding Claire, 1 week after Mary Passed Away

1st Time Holding Claire, 1 week after Mary Passed Away

In July 2010, we discovered we were pregnant and found out soon after we were having twins. The pregnancy was smooth with nothing out of the ordinary happening. On November 9, something did not feel quite right. I called the doctor and they wanted to see me to make sure all was OK. Upon arrival at the hospital, I was admitted immediately and told I would not leave the hospital until our baby girls were born. We had hoped for weeks on bedrest but only made it for 5 days.  On November 14, 2010, our lives changed forever. Our identical twin girls arrived 4 months early at just 23 weeks and 5 days. Claire Josephine was born at 1lb. 2oz. Mary Gladys was born at 1lb 4oz. Mary was with us only 2 weeks. Claire faced a difficult prognosis with bilateral brain bleeds, multiple blood transfusions, and the effects of twin-to-twin transfusion. During our time in the NICU, we experienced so many emotions. The NICU journey is truly a rollercoaster. Eventually, the good days outweighed the bad days and we brought Claire home after 103 days in the NICU. She came home on an apnea monitor, which stayed with us for approximately 3 months. Over the first 3 years, Early Intervention Services made a significant difference in Claire’s development. We will never forget the moments she rolled over, crawled, and walked for the first time. She was 18 months real age, 14 months adjusted when she took her first steps.

Claire Today

Claire Today

Today Claire continues physical therapy to strengthen her core. She is a beautiful little girl with a big personality. She is in Pre-K this year and will start kindergarten next September. She became a big sister in July and has taken the role very seriously providing daily entertainment for her baby sister, Rose. We continue to take it “One Day at a Time” and are grateful for each milestone Claire accomplishes. Last year, we started TODAY is a Good Day to support families traveling through the NICU journey. We provide care packages, including a journal, ‘One Day at a Time’ bracelets, a water bottle, and On the Night You Were Born board book. While we work closely with Abington Memorial Hospital, we send the care packages upon request across the country. In addition, we host listening sessions with parents at Abington Hospital. During our NICU journey, we met another family with a “23-weeker” and were inspired by his outcome. We believe Claire provides that inspiration for other families when they meet her during the listening sessions. We encourage parents to rejoice in the “Good Days”.

Photo Credits: Sharkey Family

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2 Comments on “PREEMIE UPDATE: Claire & Mary Sharkey”

  1. This is so wonderful and inspiring …my country does not have any parental support groups and having been through the nicu experience with our daughter for 181 days…I can definitely say- its really needed! Who better to lend support than those who have been through it and understand you. I hope to implement something similar in my area someday soon.

  2. Charlotte’s Mom – Please make sure you pass along the Preemie Inspire support forum that helps 25,000+ families worldwide. While not an in-person group, it is a very active and very popular forum for parents to connect. I hope you do implement your own support group. If you do, please contact us as we are happy to get the word out to others about your efforts.

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