Sterson and Jamel

Jamel Bravely Welcomes Sterson to the World

Sterson and Jamel

Jamel traveled from her home in Guyana to experience her first Thanksgiving with her aunt in Maryland. It was her last big trip before she would become a mom. However, it was not the relaxing reunion they imagined.


After Jamel arrived, her body and face started swelling. Her aunt convinced her to go to urgent care. She was diagnosed with preeclampsia, a serious condition during pregnancy that causes high blood pressure. She went to a nearby hospital, and her doctor said she needed to stay until she gave birth, despite her original due date being more than three months away. 


Despite feeling terrified, Jamel gave birth to her baby boy, Sterson, at 27 weeks. He stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and was progressing well, until, one night, the doctor said Sterson had a hernia. “I was thinking the absolute worst,” Jamel says. “But the doctor helped neutralize my fears when she told me we’d transfer to Children’s National, one of the top hospitals in the country.”


Sterson’s care team shared information with compassion, alleviating some of her stress. “I knew my baby was in good hands,” Jamel adds. “The nurses were sweethearts, and I felt we had the best possible care.”


Sterson had a successful surgery and stayed in the NICU to recover. “Being a new mom in the hospital is like having your heart put together and pulled apart at the same time,” Jamel says. “I look at his little face and am so happy, but my stomach drops when he needs extra tests.”


Once he could feed without getting tired, they finally returned home to Guyana.


“My mom kept asking me, ‘When can I hold my grandson?’” Jamel says. “He had a lot of love waiting for him at home.”

A young patient at Children's National Hospital.

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A young patient at Children's National Hospital.