I, too, experienced a "catastrophic" birth,with no prior warning, and my son spent 1 month in the NICU. He wasn’t premature, but suffered brain damage at birth and was given a very low likelihood of survival, and high odds of being basically a vegetable. Today he is a thriving, vivacious 3-year-old, and his only remaining issue is moderate hearing loss- which, given the outlook, is no big deal.
Our final hospital bills came to around $600k and my company-sponsored health insurance paid for it. I remember being very embarrassed when our health care premiums went up the next year and high usage was cited as a reason.
May 2015 Update: Caden is now a thriving, vivacious 4 1/2 year old.
-Annika, New York