A New Addition to the Feministing Family


I just wanted to write an update to our readers and give a huge congratulations to Jessica and Andrew on the early arrival of Layla Sorella Valenti-Golis, born on Sunday, August 15th at 9:13 pm.

The news is bittersweet as little Layla was born early, at Jessica’s 29th week of pregnancy; she was diagnosed with a case of severe preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome this weekend and had to undergo an emergency c-section. In short, it’s been a scary and difficult week for the Valenti/Golis fam, but Jessica is recuperating and Layla is doing great — a strong but wee little darling at 2 lbs. Her nurses says she’s feisty and courageous — just like her mama!

Add your well wishes and positive thoughts in comments, as well as any experiences you or friends’ may have had with preeclampsia and/or NICU babies. The Feministing community is like family too, so any support would mean the world to Jessica.

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  • http://cabaretic.blogspot.com nazza

    All will be held in the Light.

  • http://feministing.com/members/molliemonster/ Mollie

    Positive thoughts heading your way!!

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  • http://feministing.com/members/reni/ Reni

    From St. Louis…..sending boundless good energy and love your way Jessica, Layla, Andrew and family!!

  • http://feministing.com/members/leeinnj/ Lee

    Congratulations! I hope things continue to improve for Jessica and little Layla. Pre-e is super scary — had it with both of my daughters. Something nice you could do for Jessica would be to get her some nice handcream — with all the handwashing required in the NICU, her hands will get really dried out.

  • tabloidscully

    Oh, that’s incredibly difficult, and sad to read. I’m 36 weeks along, and the idea of having her come out at this point is terrifying enough. I can’t imagine what Jessica must be facing. I’ll keep both her and little Layla in my prayers. Whether 29 weeks or 40, I have no doubt we’re already seeing the makings of the next generation of amazing women being born.

  • http://feministing.com/members/athenia/ athenia


    I’m sending positive thoughts your way Layla!

  • http://feministing.com/members/abbywankenobi/ abby_wan_kenobi

    Congrats to Jess and family!

    I’ll be thinking the same happy hopeful thoughts for your family as I did at the 30-wk arrival of my brother’s triplets. At three months old, they are all home and healthy. The littlest one was only 2 lbs when he was born – that is a teeny, tiny, amazing baby.


  • http://feministing.com/members/scarlett/ scarlett

    This is sad and great news at the same time. I hope the next weeks will be filled with joy for Jessica and Andrew and their new daughter and not with much sadness. Strengh and LOVE to You! You are in my toughts!

    Welcome to the world little Layla and congratulations to Jessica and Andrew to your new little family!!

    ps. Thanks for posting the news to new auntie Vanessa! :)

  • braveasanoun

    Congrats on the baby, Jessica and Andrew! My best wishes to Layla and her health!

  • just_speak_up

    Wow. Just…..wow. I can’t even imagine how scared Jessica and her family must have been.

    That being said, it’s so great to hear that Mom and her (very) little one are doing well. Could there even be a more beautiful name than Layla Sorella? God, I love the ring to that. That just sounds like a badass feminist figure in the making. :)

  • http://feministing.com/members/gretel/ Liza

    Sending healing thoughts your way! Congratulations and all the best to you and your family.

  • http://feministing.com/members/leahleahfishingboat/ Leah Olm

    CONGRATULATIONS! Sending good health and best wishes!

  • http://feministing.com/members/mirandom/ Miranda

    Congratulations! Glad to hear Jessica and baby Layla are doing well, and hope things continue to improve. Sending positive energy their way!

  • http://feministing.com/members/srrose104/ Shannon Rose

    Sending you happy, healing thoughts from Portland, OR. Congratulations, Jessica and Andrew!

  • http://feministing.com/members/saraht/ Sarah

    Congratulations, Jessica and Andrew. I am holding your family in the light as you grow in strength, courage and love.

    Also, congratulations to all the new Feministing aunts!

  • unequivocal

    Welcome to Layla, and congratulations to Jessica and Andrew. Many good thoughts to you and yours!

  • http://feministing.com/members/arikagrace/ Arika

    When I was born, I was 2 lbs, 12 and 1/2 oz. 25 years later, here I am :) I hope your little lovie will be healthy too!!

  • http://feministing.com/members/mightbelying/ mightbelying

    Congratulations to Jessica and Andrew, and Happy Birthday to Layla!

    In terms of preeclampsia/HELLP/NICU stories, I’d suggest they look at the archives from Julie’s blog (alittlepregnant.com) – her oldest son was also born around 29 weeks, preeclampsia and HELLP, NICU, the works – in 2004, and is now a darling charming boy who entertains her blog readers regularly. The archive entries for the time around his birth/hospital stay begin around December 2004.

  • http://feministing.com/members/ttwn/ Boone

    Congratulations. Sending positive thoughts and hope things go as smoothly as they can from here on out.

  • akwhit

    All my best wishes to Jessica and baby Layla. I’m so glad they’re both okay — pre-eclampsia is really scary. My mom was a social worker for a NICU for many years, and she was always amazed by how resilient and determined to live so many of her little patients were. And she was always telling me that though preemies sometimes face more challenges than full-term babies (sometimes there are vision and lung issues) and their development is a bit slower because they have to catch up, once they reach toddlerhood things work out just fine.

  • spiffy-mcbang

    Channeling good vibes through the Pizza Guys shirt…

  • http://feministing.com/members/dgkraten/ Danielle Kraten

    When I was born, 9 weeks premature, I weighed less than 3 pounds and wasn’t breathing. After an extended stay at the hospital I was able to come home. My family had a naming ceremony to give me my Hebrew name while I was still at the hospital. My grandmother added “Chaya” to my name, a variation on “chai” the Hebrew word for life, to give me a little boost. It must have worked because I have grown to the ripe old age of 27 with no breathing/lung problems (common in preemies). Sending a little “chai” your way.

  • http://feministing.com/members/sunbeam/ Clare

    Congratulations Jessica and Andrew! My friend’s gorgeous little one was born at 28 weeks, and was tiiiiny, but these days he is a wonderful, happy, boisterous toddler!

    Sending good vibes your way for the swift recoveries of Jessica and little Layla.

  • youngfeministmother

    My twins were born at 31 weeks and it was frightening and challenging every day they were in the NICU. They are now happy and healthy toddlers and you would never know they began life so small.
    Take care of yourselves – remember to eat, try to sleep, rely on the help of friends and family; you will need their support. My one regret from that time is that I didn’t ask for enough help. It was offered, but I thought I could do it all on my own. I didn’t need to.
    Sending you warm and happy thoughts today!

  • http://feministing.com/members/ellid/ lisa evans

    I’m glad mother and child are doing well. Pre-eclampsia and HELLP are terrifying.

    One thing that Feministing readers can do for local women and their babies: give blood, especially platelets. I’m a registered blood donor at my local hospital, and I specifically give platelets because I’m negative for cytomegalovirus, which can be fatal to very young preemies. My platelets go straight to the NICU at Baystate Medical Center, where one unit can save four or five babies.

    Blood banks are always looking for donors, especially during the summer. Please donate! It takes so little and helps so many!

  • khw

    Best wishes to both mother and baby (and of course to the rest of the family!).

  • http://feministing.com/members/jillian/ jillian

    lots of skin to skin contact (kangaroo care). you can still nurse (or pump if she’s on a feeding tube).

    good luck.

  • http://feministing.com/members/alisonbridget/ Alison

    Good luck Jessica! Im sure she will be a beautiful person like you!

  • http://feministing.com/members/andylc/ andylc

    May you all be well, tonight and for many nights to come.

  • http://feministing.com/members/kece80/ Kelly

    Congratulations Jessica and fam!!! Sending you positive thoughts and lots of love for the new heiress of feministing!

  • http://feministing.com/members/selktsa/ Selkt Sa

    oh my god, i wish all the best for all of you. i hope for the best. my prayers are with you. good health and happy life for jessica and layla. hellp and pre-eclampsia are not the best starter for a new mother and a new baby…

  • http://feministing.com/members/yekaterina/ Yekaterina

    Congratulations! All the best to Jessica and Layla, I hope they both recover and come home soon.

  • http://feministing.com/members/jcm1981/ Julie

    Congratulations on the birth of your baby Jessica! I’m sorry to hear that it was under such difficult circumstances, but I’m glad that both of you are doing well and recovering as best as you can.
    I don’t have any personal experience with pre-eclampsia, but I have a dear friend who delivered her son at 31 weeks due to pre-eclampsia and today he is a healthy, active seven year old. She went on to have two more babies and delivered them both at full term. I also have a cousin who was born at 25 weeks weighing just over a pound, and she is 12 (maybe even 13?) now and just as healthy can be. I can’t imagine how hard this must be for you, but I am sending all positive thoughts that I can to you, Andrew and your baby.

  • http://feministing.com/members/historygrrl/ E. M.

    This is a late, but I just wanted to send good wishes to Jessica, Andrew, and Layla. I’m sure this must be a scary time. I hope you’re getting lots of good support from friends, family, and hospital staff through all this.

  • http://feministing.com/members/brainpick/ Brain Pick

    Congratulations! What a pretty name :)

  • http://feministing.com/members/marysp/ Maria

    congratulations to the new parents and all the best to for the baby!!