Parents: Laura & Rob Mello
In the spring of 2013, Laura and Rob Mello found out they were pregnant with their first child, who was due to arrive on Dec. 15. On Oct. 10, Grace Betty Mello arrived 10 weeks early, weighing only 2 pounds, 12 ounces. She was immediately rushed to the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Grace was so small and struggled to breathe, so she needed to be intubated (a tube was placed down her throat into her lungs and a machine was breathing for her because she couldn’t do it on her own). The next day, Grace was transported to Rady Children’s. Laura and Rob were relieved, as they knew there was no better place to care for their baby.
For the next three days, Rob stayed with Grace 24 hours a day until Laura was discharged from the hospital. When Laura came to the NICU, she saw her baby in a Giraffe Isolette, used for premature babies. It was keeping Grace safe, warm and alive.
For the next 45 days, Laura spent every day with Grace in the NICU. Laura remembers the first time she got to hold her; the staff put little Grace on her chest. This skin-on-skin time, called kangaroo care, helps moms and their babies bond.
Finally, on the Monday after Thanksgiving, Grace was strong enough to go home, even though she weighed only 4.5 pounds!
Now 3 years old, Grace is a happy and healthy little girl. Laura and Rob attribute her well-being not only to the excellent medical care and advanced technology at Rady Children’s, but to the nurses who loved her as if she were their own.