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Blessing's story: Premature infant to NICU graduate to golf tournament honoree

Eva Johnson and her husband, Philip Quartey, were excited to be expecting their first daughter after having two sons.

In honor of Eva’s late mother, Geraldine Deloris, they decided to name their little girl Blessing Deloris. Geraldine was sure Eva would have a girl of her own one day.

“We named her Blessing because she was our little blessing from my mom,” Eva says.

Both of Eva’s sons were born premature — 35 weeks and 32 weeks respectively — she suspected her daughter would come a bit early as well. Even still, Blessing came even sooner than expected. Eva’s amniotic sac broke on July 23, 2018, when she was only 23 weeks pregnant.

Eva originally planned to have her baby at another hospital, but because of her high-risk condition, she was transported by the Kangaroo Crew to Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women.

“They gave me some medication to delay labor and she was born at 24 weeks and 6 days,” Eva recalls.

On Aug. 5, 2018, Blessing was born weighing only 1 pound, 8 ounces. She was taken directly to Texas Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

[learn more:] Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women NICU

“Blessing was a super hero,” Eva says. “She was only on the ventilator for four or five hours. That gave me more hope that she would be OK.”

Blessing remained in the NICU for a total of 136 days and Eva stayed by her little girl’s side each and every day.

“When they brought her to me, I was afraid because she was so small and fragile,” Eva recalls. “But the staff taught me how to hold her and take care of her and explained what she was going through. The more I learned, the more I was naturally able to care for her on my own. This learning process helped calm me down. It took me a week to feel comfortable holding her.”

The NICU nurses not only took care of Blessing, but also Eva, which meant so much to her.

“The nurses groomed me, treated me and told me to take time for myself. They were genuinely concerned for me and assured me they’d take care of Blessing as if she was their daughter. I’ve never seen anyone take such good care of someone like they did. It brings me so much joy to have them in our lives.”

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Eva was also impressed with the rest of the staff at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women who were extremely helpful too.

“Volunteers took photos of Blessing every week she was in the NICU. Each and every person on the eighth floor, from the volunteers to the receptionist, talked to me and they were always laughing with me and became like family. The services provided were just amazing.”

Blessing was supposed to be released on Dec. 15. However, Eva, an army reservist, was called back on duty for a week. This caused a setback for Blessing.

“She went through separation anxiety while I was on duty,” Eva says. “She wouldn’t take a bottle from anyone. I had to put in extra hours with her when I returned to get her back on track.”

Two days before Christmas, Blessing was finally able to go home, weighing a healthy 7 pounds. Because she was born prematurely, Blessing continues to receive follow-up care at Texas Children’s and is doing remarkably well. Having Blessing home continues to bring so much joy to her family.

“Even with all she’s been through, she’s very happy,” Eva explains. “She's doing a lot of things earlier than expected and she lets us know everything’s going to be OK. She gives me a sense of peace and the strength to know I can do anything.”

Blessing will be honored this October during the 22nd annual RBC Wealth Management Bad Pants Open. This event brings Houston’s worst dressed and most generous golfers together to help save the lives of Texas Children’s tiniest patients. This event funds nurse training and education, hands-on bereavement care programs and ensuring each family’s most urgent needs are met -- from covering parking costs to providing meals, transportation, car seats and more.

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Texas Children's Pavilion for Women