The complete resource for NICU families from admission to discharge and beyond

You’ve made it anxiously through your pregnancy, waiting for the “big day” and dreaming about how the delivery would go. Perhaps you and your partner even made a birthplan, communicating your very personal wishes to the medical team about how you wanted to welcome your baby into the world and help him/her adjust to this new life.

But something went terribly wrong! Now you and your baby are separated, lots of people are doing and saying things that don’t make a lot of sense to you, and you just want to know one thing: Is my baby going to live?

Not every baby born survives into infancy and beyond but, in the United States, it is unusual for a baby to die. The most common cause of neonatal death is prematurity, followed by congenital abnormalities. If your baby is born prematurely, national statistics can provide percentage survival rates based on gestational age, sex and weight at birth (, but these percentages don’t answer your question. Your baby is not 50% or 75% of something --- for your son or daughter, the chance of survival is either 100% or 0%. And for each individual baby, no one can predict which. Your doctors will try to give you guidance, but some things are best left to a higher power.

Your doctors will be hopeful, and will avoid giving you specific answers – partly because no one can know for sure and partly because human beings don’t like bad news – giving it or receiving it! Find out what is the diagnosis given to your baby. This can help guide you, both in seeking information, and in predicting probable outcomes. Different hospitals and different regions of the country have different results and some places are particularly good at certain things. Don’t hesitate to ask for second opinions or outside consultations. You are the advocate for your baby and for your family; ultimately, any decision must feel right to you. Use the resources and information included in other parts of this website. Look at websites for the other major children’s hospitals in the country for information about your baby’s condition. Don’t discount the power of positive thinking, also known as prayer, distant healing, or healing by intention.

Babies are gifts from Heaven, and no one knows how long our loved ones will be with us. Your baby is real, your baby exists, and will forever be your son or daughter, no matter how short is your time with him/her on Earth. Embrace the moments and the memories, until you meet again. Visit “Resources for Parents Who Have Little Angels” for additional information.

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