Welcome, Lela!

Sundae Horn
Noel and sweet, little Lela
Noel and sweet, little Lela

Lela Naomi Palacios was born on November 24th to proud parents Noel Goodwin and Daniel Ibarra Palacios.

She's named after two of her great-grandmothers.

Lela was born two months early, and weighed 3lbs. 5 oz. (That's small, but Noel says "she's a big one" in the NICU.)

For the past six weeks, Lela has been in the NICU at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greeneville, NC. She now weighs a whopping 5 lbs. 12 oz. and gets bigger every day. Although the doctors can't say for sure when she can go, Noel and Daniel hope to bring Lela home to Ocracoke soon after her original January 18 due date. 

Noel has stayed at the hospital every day to be with Lela, and Daniel is there most days, too, except when he goes back to Ocracoke to visit Lela's big brother, Danny Badillo Palacios, who is a kindergartener at Ocracoke School. 

Daniel was happy to report that Lela can take all her meals by bottle now (no more feeding tubes!), and says that the work of eating leaves her totally exhausted. She was enjoying a post-lunch nap when the Ocracoke Current's reporting team visited. Lela's lungs are still developing, so she is on oxygen and monitored closely. 

In the hushed quiet and dim light of the NICU, Lela slept in her "pod," the small curtained area that holds her bassinet, and a comfy chair for her mama. Noel just couldn't be more proud or in love, and she was all smiles while we talked and agreed on Lela's beauty. We also talked about the reality of being at the hospital every day for six weeks.

Time for a nap!
Time for a nap!

Noel said this was the first Christmas she hadn't spent at her mom's house in Cedar Island. But leaving Lela wasn't an option, so Noel's family came to Greenville and they all went to IHOP for lunch. 

The first few weeks in the NICU were difficult, Noel and Daniel said. They couldn't hold Lela until she was a week and a half old. Noel says she cried a lot, which is not a bit surprising. "The doctors and nurses don't try to hide anything," Noel said. "They're easy to talk to – we can ask them anything and there's never a dumb question."

Daniel shared a story from the early days when they were really worried about a medical procedure. "The nurse told us, that with these babies, sometimes it's two steps forward, one step back," he said. "But now she's doing great."

Noel and Daniel stay at the local Ronald McDonald House, which they say is really nice. They've gotten to know some of the other families staying there and feel lucky to have that home away from home. 

Congrats to Noel and Daniel, big brother Danny, and grandparents Donald and Cindy Austin, Robert and Debbie Emory, and Braulia Ibarra Lopez. Lela also has aunts, uncles and cousins all around eastern North Carolina. And many, many friends on Ocracoke who can't wait to see her on the island! 

Daniel and Noel, with Ocracoke Current staff visitors Mariah and Emmet
Daniel and Noel, with Ocracoke Current staff visitors Mariah and Emmet



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