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Ben and Cam’s Story

Ben PettyWhen Sarah and Ken Petty’s two oldest sons ask about when they were born, the family can’t help but feel amazed about each of the boys’ journeys. Now preteens who can usually be found on the lacrosse field or basketball court, the active brothers were both born prematurely.

“They’re always pretty fascinated to hear about how small they were,” Sarah says.

Ben, now 12, was born eight weeks early and weighed 3 pounds, 4 ounces. Brother Cameron, 10, was born seven weeks early and weighed 4 pounds, 4 ounces. The boys’ combined birth weights totaled about the same as little brother Cooper, who was born eight years ago.

“Ben came at 32 weeks — we weren’t prepared, needless to say,” says Ken. “He decided it was time to see the world, and thankfully the doctors in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Beacon Children’s Hospital were able to take care of the situation.”

Ben stayed in the NICU for four weeks after he was born; Cam stayed for two and a half weeks.

“Having a baby in the NICU can be a very scary way to welcome a child into the world because it’s not what you learned,” Sarah explains. “We hadn’t even started Lamaze class yet.”

Cameron Petty

Both parents were thankful they could rely on the expertise and care of the NICU doctors and nurses at Beacon Children’s Hospital to help give Ben and Cam the best beginnings possible.

“They never let on that they were concerned at all, which really eased our minds,” says Sarah. “The support was wonderful — there were people coming in constantly asking if we needed anything.”

In the NICU, Sarah and Ken became quick studies in learning to care for their preemie sons. Swaddling, holding the babies skin-to-skin (known as kangaroo care), and measuring and delivering formula through feeding tubes became second nature. Perhaps more than anything, though, the NICU team instilled the couple with confidence in their ability to care for their sons once they went home.

“They were everything to us,” Sarah says of the NICU staff. “And they were how we got to go home and sleep at night. They were fantastic. And I wouldn’t have ever wanted to go anywhere else.

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