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Release of Likeness

“Life is so unpredictable. You just never know when someone you love will need blood—like our little fighter Rosalind and all the other precious newborns whose lives are saved every day because generous blood donors make a commitment to give.” —Kari Schwen

It all happened so fast. A perfectly normal, healthy pregnancy. Then sudden bleeding at 24 weeks, an early morning rush to the hospital, and a delivery just 25 minutes later that brought Rosalind Elizabeth into the world.

Within seconds of Rosalind’s unexpected and dangerously pre-mature birth, first-time parents Kari and Jesse knew they had a fighter on their hands. Weighing only 1 pound 14 oz., baby Rosalind proved stronger, more courageous, and more joyful than her fragile little body would have ever suggested.

According to Kari, “When Rosalind was born 15 ½ weeks early, we had no idea what to expect. I’d never heard the term micro-preemie but that’s what she was—born between 22 and 29 weeks, weighing less than 1500 grams. These really early newborns account for less than 6% of all premature births and some can have serious problems, like underdeveloped lungs and damage to the brain and eyes. So in that sense, we got very lucky because from her very first kick after she was born, she impressed everyone at Children’s Hospital with how well she did. Throughout all of the ups and downs, Ros was determined.”

Rosalind was incubated immediately, put on oxygen and IV fluids, and monitored 24/7. Her stylish Ray Ban-type glasses protected her eyes from the UV treatments for jaundice. And because micro-preemies often cannot produce their own red blood cells, blood transfusions sustained Rosalind through the daily blood draws needed to perform various tests during the first few days.

Although Kari admits that she and Jesse were warned that Rosalind’s time at Children’s would be a rollercoaster, it was still very hard to take two steps forward one day, only to take one step back the next. “We had a number of scares,” Kari recalls. “Like the day Rosalind’s doctor heard a murmur and an echocardiogram confirmed that she had an open heart valve—a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) that was causing more blood to be pushed to her lungs than to other important organs like her intestines or kidneys. Luckily the medication she was given eventually caused the valve to close properly and we were able to skate by having heart surgery.”

After nearly three long months at Children’s, the day arrived for Rosalind to finally join her mom and dad—and a family of furry animals—at home. “It’s really amazing to think about how far Rosalind has come and how strong she’s been,” Kari said. “And we are all so grateful to everyone at Children’s for the incredible love and care we received, and to the generous blood donors whose gifts helped sustain the life of our precious daughter and micro-miracle, Rosalind.”

Find out more about how you can help save the lives of infants, children, and adults through blood donation. Learn more at About Blood.