On Tuesday, March 22, Annika Sorenstam – one of the greatest women golfers of all time – went into premature labor – 13 weeks premature! Due to a condition called placenta abruption, there wasn't much they could do to delay the birth. Fortunately, Annika lives in the Orlando, Florida area, home to the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Children, reknowned for the high-quality it provides to women in Annika's situation. Ron Sirak, who is close to Sorenstam and her family, writes eloquently about the experience. Here's an excerpt:
But the next chapter in parenthood is off to a much more challenging start, one that will be filled with uncertainty for months to come. In the early morning hours of March 21, Annika awoke Mike [McGee, her husband] and told him she was bleeding. After consulting by telephone with a friend, Dr. Matthew Siebel, they knew they needed to leave their Lake Nona home in Orlando and get to the hospital immediately.The good news is that Sorenstam and her new little boy, Will, are both doing well, though Will still has many challenging months ahead of him. In fact, his parents named him "Will" because "he's going to need to will himself through this process," Sorenstam said.
"I drove fast and it was like a blur," Mike told GolfDigest.com. "We weren't sure what had happened and were scared that we may have lost our son. They were ready for us at Winnie Palmer Hospital and immediately did an ultrasound. When we heard his heartbeat we were immediately brought to tears of joy."
And here's the twist ... March 21 happened to be the Monday prior to the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament ... in the Orlando, Florida area ... which supports, as its primary charity, the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Children ... which just happens to be named for Arnold's late wife. On Sunday, during the last round of the tournament, Annika was able to join the telecast on NBC and talk about the wonderful care she and Will received (and that Will is still receiving) at the Winnie Palmer Hospital.
Congratulations to Annika and her growing family. Our prayers and best wishes will be with them all as young Will grows bigger and stronger by the day.
You can read updates about Will's progress at Annika's blog, www.annikablog.com.