A mother whose baby was born four months early and fought to stay alive should give hope to parents of babies who are very sick.

Nicole Dib watched for five months in the newborn intensive care unit as doctors tried to save her 1.8-pound baby Jibreel.

Five times, the 32-year-old mother and her husband Youssef were given the option to turn off his life support as his small body failed.

Nicole told FEMAIL, “I remember sitting in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with an 838-gram baby and hearing all the sounds and the machine that was keeping him alive.”

I look all around me for hope and another story of success.

Even though “Jibby” has cerebral palsy, he is now a happy, healthy 4-year-old who continues to “shock” his parents with how well he is doing.

Nicole is telling Jibby’s and her own story to give hope to parents whose kids are in similar situations.

Part of my healing is telling others about what we went through and giving them hope. She said, “We want to help other families who are going through the same thing.”

Nicole knew she was having a high-risk pregnancy with Jibby because her five-year-old daughter Aaliyah was born early at 33 weeks and spent two weeks in the ICU.

In 2018, when her water broke at 25 weeks, that was a longer pregnancy.

“I just thought it was a small leak because it was just dripping,” she said. “But then it all came out a few minutes later, and I was like, ‘Okay, this is bad, this is too soon.'”

After two weeks in the NICU, we thought the Royal Hospital for Women was the best place for us. I called my husband and we talked about what to do.

Doctors did everything they could to stop Nicole from giving birth, since the baby had a low chance of living.

Nicole was given magnesium and drugs to slow Jibby down and give his lungs more time to grow so that he could breathe outside of the womb. However, after three days, an emergency caesarean had to be done.

He didn’t give up for three days. Nicole said that one day can change a lot.

The hospital staff said, “We need to take you down for an emergency C-section,” and as they were getting ready, they said, “Look, Nicole, you need to push,” and out came Jibby, weighing 838 grams.

Jibby was taken to the ICU, where doctors tried to save him in every way they could. He was never held by Nicole.

She was shocked when she first saw him because he looked more like a fetus than a baby.

“I’m not going to lie, the first time I saw him, my head was spinning and I felt like I was going to pass out because what I was seeing was just like what I saw every day on my app,” she said.

I would open my app and say, “Oh, what does my baby look like today?” That was it. His eyelashes were still stuck together, but he was gone.

In the NICU, Jibby was hooked up to a monitor and a life support machine, but Nicole and Youssef did not try to bring her back to life.

Nicole held her child for the first time after two weeks.

Nicole said, “When they put him on my chest, it was very special and I was so happy, but I could feel the life support and I could tell he was really struggling to breathe, so I asked them to put him back.”

After that, things went from bad to worse, and his organs and bowels died.

Nicole said that after the doctors took out part of Jibby’s gut, the organ was kept alive by his stoma bag.

As Jibby’s body shut down, the parents were asked if they wanted to keep going, even though they knew the damage would be done.

It was scary to be asked such questions. I understand that the doctors were doing their jobs and that everyone has choices, she said.

As Jibby got sicker, they gave us several chances to fight or turn off the machine that kept him alive. We pleaded with them to help Jibby.

Nicole doesn’t mind that the ‘amazing’ doctors ask hard questions because they did everything they could to keep Jibby living.

One night, Jibby’s doctor called to say that Jibby had stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated, but he’s fine now. His mother said he was almost dead.

“I didn’t know what planet I was on—things just kept going wrong.” I knew Jibby was in good hands with the doctors and am grateful for their help.

Nicole was able to deal with the death of her newborn baby because she was a Muslim.

She was also comforted by a brochure that another mother left for other parents after her baby made it out of the NICU.

Nicole said, “She was only 24 weeks old, and I think she only weighed 640 grams. Her mother left a brochure to give hope to other parents.”

We always heard that Jibby was sick and wouldn’t make it. I kept looking at the paper my mother had given me, which gave me hope.

Nicole said she is “proud” of how she dealt with Jibby’s first five months of stress and trouble, but she wishes she had been more open to help.

She said she ran away from the counselors because she wasn’t ready to talk to them. She thought, “No, he’s not going to die, don’t come talk to me.”

I’m still getting better after four years. I’m just filling my cup now that Jibby can walk, talk, and grow.

A few months after Jibby left the NICU after a brain bleed, he was told he had cerebral palsy.

Nicole and Youssef worked hard to help Jibby get better, but they didn’t know how the cancer would show up.

“I asked at each treatment session, ‘Do you think he’ll walk? Will he move?” They told her, “Look, you have to put in a lot of work both here in therapy and at home.”

From there, we kept pushing and pushing, took him to the pool, and made him hold onto the railings—anything to help him get stronger. Everything helped a lot.

Nicole also said Jibby’s progress “shocks” everyone, and he started walking the day before his first Botox treatment, which helps people with cerebral palsy with muscle twitches and stiffness.

Nicole laughed and said, “When we went to the meeting, they were in awe.

They said, “Let’s just leave him alone for now and see what he can do. If we need to, we’ll go back that way.”

The four-year-old is full of life, even though she has to wear two leg braces.

Nicole said, “Jibby is so enthusiastic about life. He loves basketball, his sister, and hanging out with people. He’s great.”

“Thank goodness he doesn’t need his cane anymore. He works on his own.

Nicole thinks that telling NICU parents her story will give them hope, just like it did for her and Jibby.

Even though it’s scary, these tiny people are stronger than we think. She said to give them a chance and not give up.

She called the hospital staff who helped her and Jibby “superheroes” and said, “There are a lot of great networks and services to help us.”

After Jibby was born, Nicole would tell herself that she was doing a “great job” and that she should “keep being patient.”

She said, “I knew back then that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, but I’m just so glad I didn’t give up and kept going.”

Even with early help, I didn’t believe in myself. Even though we didn’t make much progress some days, I’m glad we kept going.

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