I asked some of my fellow preemie moms to share their stories here on the blog. I figured you all know our story, but there are so many more faces to prematurity. I think everyone’s story deserves to be told. What better way to raise awareness than to hear what it was like for other families…Read more stories here.
In June 2011 we found out we were pregnant after many months of trying. My partner Jodi and I were elated. Two weeks later we had a follow up with the fertility clinic and had an ultrasound. We could not wait to see our little “nuggets” first picture. The ultrasound showed a sub chorionic bleed and I was put on bed rest for a week. Well the next week the ultrasound had not changed so they thought all was well and released me to the OBGYN.
Our first OB visit was around 10 weeks and everything looked great with nugget! Again our 12 week visit went well and we were able to hear the heartbeat– needless to say we cried with joy.
At 16 weeks everything was going well and we decided to do the remainder of the prenatal screening – not that it would change anything for us but solely for knowledge. The visit went well and nugget was growing well. On September 9th we took a family trip to Duluth to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday. We sat down for lunch and I received a phone call from the OB informing me my AFP level was rather elevated and she wanted me to see a perinatologist and have a level II ultrasound – this was set up for the following Monday. I was so scared that sometime was wrong with our little nugget.
At our level II visit our fears were confirmed. Nugget had stopped growing and was about the size of a 14 weeker at best. My placenta was very large and did not look healthy. The flow through the cord was still good but I was very low on fluid. Dr. Fairbanks met with us to deliver this heart wrenching news. She said the outcome did not look good but she would not lose hope at the point. I was put on strict bed rest and advised to follow up in the OB clinic 2-3 times weekly for heart tone checks. She said that Nugget’s heart would stop and that would likely be the only symptom we would notice.
Those two weeks were horrible. My partner drove me to the OB clinic and every time we were fearful we would not hear the heartbeat. Well it was always strong and in the 160’s. We would cry and pray this would continue.
I drank tons of water and protein shakes. I rotated in bed and on the couch every few hours. I felt like a rotisserie chicken but I knew this is what Nugget needed to survive.
The next level II showed that he had grown some which was great. The flow in the placenta had improved. Dr Fairbanks said this was truly amazing and to keep it up. We did our 20 week ultrasound which showed some growth. The OB that I was seeing was not all that supportive and never really gave any encouragement. My first goal was to get to 23 weeks, which we did with tons of close monitoring. My next goal was to reach Thanksgiving which was 28 weeks. Well at 27/4 I had another biophysical which showed some decelerations and I was admitted to ANW for steroids and magnesium. As I was leaving the clinic my water broke – figures right. Needless to say I would be in the hospital until Nugget was born.
My OB stopped by as they were co-managing my care. When she was about to leave she informed my partner and I that we should have an autopsy performed after birth to confirm what was wrong with Nugget. Needless to say we fired her. There was no way she was going to deliver Nugget.
At 28/2 I started having abdominal pain which the nurse said was only gas. They became more frequent and did not register as contractions because my uterus was too small. She stood me up and I hemorrhaged – now she believed I was in labor and called the perinatologist. I had an emergent c-section as she could feel parts and they did not want me to deliver vaginally.
At 4:34am on 11/26/11 our little miracle was born. He weighed 14oz and was 10 inches long. He let out a yell, which was amazing, prior to being whisked away to be resuscitated. I got to see him quickly in recovery. I could not believe how small and beautiful he was. Jodi ran in the tunnel with him to Children’s. I saw him about 2 hours later which seemed like forever. I was in shock when I first saw him in the NICU. He looked so fragile. When I first touched his teeny hand I lost it. I was so scared we would lose him.
Day by day was our motto. He had a few scares with sepsis but otherwise a pretty uneventful NICU course. He was on the ventilator for 6 weeks, CPAP for about 3, then high flow and regular flow. He had a PDA ligation at 2 weeks of age and a bilateral hernia repair around age 4 months. He had adrenal insufficiency and hypothyroidism along with his chronic lung disease.
Needless to say we were able to bring out little man home on 4/21/2012 after 5 months at Children’s. He discharged on 1/4L oxygen. It was amazing and scary to finally have him home. He is our first and was sick at that. Both my partner and I are healthcare providers but all that training could never have prepared us for what we went through with Oliver.
As of today Oliver is 23 months and absolutely amazing. He has chronic lung disease which does not seem to stop him. He remains on meds for his thyroid and his lungs but otherwise is doing great. He currently weighs 22lbs and is on the corrected growth curves for everything besides his height.
He is happy, full of energy, funny, intelligent, amazingly strong and resilient. He is our miracle!!!!