Thank You

By Corey Nicolaides - April 11, 2013

Ayla is doing really well today. We just received news that her first TEF repair is healing nicely, with no leaks, and she will start getting breast milk through her tummy tube. While I sit here next to her bed I’ll write to everyone and try to say thank you. I’m probably incapable of expressing in words just how grateful we are to have such amazing family, friends, and community around us during this tough time in our life.

Ayla's NICU Suite

If you spend some time around the NICU, you’ll discover just how easy it is to identify the parents who are still experiencing their first visits here. We became NICU parents more than one week ago, but I can still see the lingering reflection of my own face in the parents who arrive for their first visit. It’s a sad, worried, confused look that you drag around as you come and go. I wish there was something I could say to the new parents that would lift that look from their faces and weight from their shoulders, but having just been where they are now, I can tell you that there is nothing —no single thing— that can be said to change the feeling of knowing that your baby needs the Intensive Care Unit. I want to think that the other parents, the first-timers, will have the same kind of support system that we have, but they might not, they might be going through this alone.

Dear You

We have been blessed with incredible support. We have been utterly shocked by the outpouring of love and prayer and kindness. We have heard from friends around the country, and even from some on the other side of the globe.

I’ve tried to say it often, because you deserve to hear it, but we would not be feeling as good as we do without the kind words and prayers you’re sending our way. We want so badly to reply to every blog comment, every facebook comment and message, every phone call and email, each letter and note, but we can’t. I promise to try and continually remind you of just how important you are to us. I’m talking to you, YOU. Point to yourself and say “Me?” and realize that yes, I mean you.

We read every comment, every message and every letter. We hear every word, and understand all of the kind things you’re doing to show support. We are so thankful that you continue to pray and make contact with us. It means the world to us, it really does. You —yes, YOU— are a big part of this. Thank you.

A very special thank you to Grandma and Grandpa on both sides. You’re all super! I’d rush out and buy you each shirts that read “Super Grandma!” and “Super Grandpa!”, but those are just cheesy. Besides, Ayla will want to buy those for you as Christmas gifts someday, and I wouldn’t want to ruin that for her. You’ve all been supportive and understanding and loving from day one. We love you and thank you.

What's Next?

Ayla still has a long road ahead of her before she gets to come home. I’ll address these things in another post this weekend, along with a list of prayer requests.


I’m reluctant to take any action on this, but many have urged me to provide options for you to show your support in tangible ways. I’ll do that. It won't be easy, but I’ll do it. That too will be available this weekend.

Pray For First Timers

Those initial visits to the NICU are really tough. Alaina and I still have our emotional moments, but we’ve started to level out. There are many parents —a constant influx, really— who are just getting started here. The NICU is beautiful, safe, and welcoming. The doctors and nurses here are amazing. Yet the people and facilities may as well be transparent, as when your eyes are fixed on meeting your baby in the ICU, he or she is all you seem to notice. Those first-timers need support, they need prayer. Please take a moment and pray for them, think about them, understand and appreciate all that they are going through.

Again, in the most sincere and loving way, THANK YOU!

Corey, Alaina, and Ayla

Comments: 12
Hayley Forrestal

Your family remains in my thoughts and prayers every day. Thank you for the updates! They really help focus those thoughts. And thank you for the look into the NICU. Your blog posts have been incredibly helpful, thoughtful, and concise. Looking forward to seeing so many more pictures of my new cousin! Sending lots of love and giant air hugs your way. Love you all!

Aunt Barb

All I can say is Ayla is a very lucky little girl to have such kind and thoughtful parents.

Claude D'Camp

We are praying the very best for your family. What a beautiful daughter you have!

Kim Higgs

Wow wow wow! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Of course I am counted among MANY who are your prayer-army, but I’m writing ‘specifically’ because YOUR voice is echoing the road our family is traveling. And it feels so good to READ our FEELINGS when we couldn’t put the into words. At least, I couldn’t. I’m the Mimi (aka: Grandma. Through marriage) but our grandchild is no less traveling such a similar journey, and we’re feeling similar emotions of that journey. So, yes, as we pray for YOU, thank you for letting US feel understood and loved - and prayed for, too. Alaina, hi baby, it’s been years since we’ve chatted or seen one another, but OHMYGOODNESS I hope you can feel my love around you! I am so grateful for technology - and social needs to stay connected. It’s been like living in a time of cyber-community, where you can pick-and-choose your neighbors ... instead of being stuck by random cyber-real estate. I love knowing where God has lead you, and your family, and your friends, and my original group of 12 year old girls in a Study Hall. *haha* - You’ll all always be my ‘little chickies’, and I love you. I’m praying for you all, especially Ayla. <—- *beautiful name, by he way! And if you think of him - please pray for our grandson, Maverick. He’s almost 7 mos old. There’s a lot going on with him, but the major thing is - he needs a heart transplant. So your words of your journey are very relatable, and comforting. NOT that I wish in any way for you to be going through this. But it’s a clear reminder of he strength God gives families facing hard circumstances with their new beautiful baby. YOU are being used! Ayla is being used! God is being trusted and honored - and it’s a beautiful and growing circle. And we’re connected by it. Thank you is hardly enough to express your keeping us posted. Because, for some of us, it is sooo much more than just that. In His grace, Mrs. K——(which you better call me ‘Kim’, by now! Haha) you!

Carol Barry

We have read your blogs from the beginning of your journey. I have prayed… Cried…Must admit… Prayed more than cried. I have known your lovely Mom since Calvary Christian School. I pray every day for you guys as a family… Ayla… Your parents love God so much… And I know He loves you…. He will watch over you and He will wrap His loving arms around you and protect you. I can’t wait to meet you and gaze into your eyes! Stay strong little one… Many are praying for you and your health!

Michelle Hicks

I am so moved by the strength you show. A true sign that God is truly watching over you and your family. I pray for all of you (including First Timers) that you will all bring your children home soon. Ayla is one lucky little girl to have parents who love her as much as you do. Stay strong and know that prayers are always coming.

Eric Noggle

Your family will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. We look forward to meeting Ayla very soon!

Rhonda Downs

Corey and Alaina - Please know that we are lifting you ALL to our Father for His continued blessing on this precious baby girl….may His peace and grace surround you..especially at this time. Barb keeps us updated on Ayla so prayers are being said from our entire family. We, too, await a baby girl. Lily and Dylan should have her here mid-May. They are such miracles!! Love to you all...

Saira Silas

Corey and Alaina - I am SO impressed with your courage and reliance on God as you care for your beautiful Ayla. The love she receives from you more than compensates for any of her current physical limitations. I am SO happy to hear that she is healing well and improving everyday. What a blessing for you and what a blessing for her that God chose you to be her parents! With much love and prayers

Shirley Bell

Corey, Bless you! I LOVE your Blogs! You are a gifted writer and I love your compassionate heart. Yes, I will be praying for those new families just starting down the road you and Alaina are traveling. Bless you again for thinking of them. I TOO, pray that they have a strong, Godly support system.

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