VoyageMIA | Inspiring Conversations with Elizabeth Simonton of ICU Baby

Inspiring Conversations with Elizabeth Simonton of ICU Baby

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Simonton.

Elizabeth, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?

I moved to Miami when I was 25 to finish the 3rd semester of law school at the University of Miami. I did not know one person in Miami and it was exhilarating for me to be in this energized city with so many opportunities. My goal was to pass the Florida bar exam and move to Ponte Vedra Beach in North Florida, but I never got there. I was pulled into the culture, lifestyle, and beauty of Miami… and here I remain!

I had a 5-year career as an attorney and during that time married, Louis Freeman, a radiologist for Baptist Health System. We welcomed a baby girl in 2010 and another, shortly after, in 2011. The genesis of ICU baby began in the second trimester of my third pregnancy when I was diagnosed with polyhydramnios, a medical condition diagnosed when a pregnant mother has an excess of amniotic fluid.

Fifty percent of the time the causes of polyhydramnios are known: gestational diabetes, fetal abnormalities, Down Syndrome, etc. The other fifty percent of the time, the causes of polyhydramnios are unknown and the baby has no long-term complications. This diagnosis changed the tone of my pregnancy. What should have been an exciting time, was filled with stress and uncertainty. While doctors were able to rule out some of the causes of the condition, they could not rule out others until the baby’s delivery.

Fast forward to delivery day… Benedict was born at 9.2 lbs. – chubby and perfect. We thought we were in the clear until the second day of Benedict’s life when he became sick and was taken quickly from me. The next time I saw him, he was in the NICU with IVs and chords all over him. Benedict’s time in the NICU was the longest seconds of our lives but in hindsight a very short time. We were in the “best-case scenario.”

My passion to start an ICU baby came from witnessing other families’ and babies’ struggles in the NICU while I sat at Benedict’s bedside. For months I feared for my son, yet I left the hospital with a healthy baby. Many other families have much more challenging NICU stays and long-term outcomes. We got lucky. There is a sense of responsibility that comes with receiving the blessing of a healthy child… continue reading.