“Are you sure?” “We are sure, the blood work shows that you are pregnant. You need to call an OB and make an appointment to go in.” When I hung up the phone I was dumbfounded… I was standing in the bank waiting for the pouring rain to stop. That is when I first heard about our miracle to be… Little did I know that less than 6 months later I would be in the hospital with a disease that my mom had fought 3 times before…
Rick and I were so excited when we finally got to see our baby at the ultrasound. We decided that we didn’t want to know the sex of the baby, whatever the baby was the baby was! We spent weeks deciding how to tell our friends and family… Finally at 12 weeks we told everyone and they were all ecstatic! Weeks and weeks went by with absolutely no complications… Not even an ounce of morning sickness! It was a dream pregnancy… I adored being pregnant! Then October came.
In October we went on a camping trip with our youth group I work with at church. I was really tired when we got back but just attributed that and all the swelling in my legs and feet to sleeping on the hard ground at 6.5 months pregnant! Everyone started commenting on my swollen feet very soon after that… My mom even had me sit on a pumpkin and took pictures of my swollen feet on another pumpkin! :o/
During my routine November OB appointment my DR said I was spilling protein and my BP’s were high. So at 27 weeks I made my way to my first hospital stay. They kept me for 3 days and I did a 24 hour urine test to see what my protein count was. It was 666 when I left the hospital that Wednesday. I left the hospital with a follow up appointment at my OB's office and an appointment with a high risk neonatologist after being diagnosed with mild toxemia.
The next Monday (after being on BP meds for a week) I went to the OB's office and I was still having high BP's and protein. On Tuesday we went to the neonatologist office and he sent me back to the hospital for observation. I was admitted that day again. They started another 24 hour protein test and when it came back it was about 1500 and they said I had to stay. I knew then I would not be leaving the hospital till I had the baby. I was getting ultrasounds everyday to monitor the baby's growth and the amniotic fluid. I was being put on a baby monitor at least once a shift to watch the baby's heartbeat and movement. I got a round of steroids to help the baby's lungs and waited. They had decided to do another 24 hour protein on the following Monday. On Saturday night my BP skyrocketed and they took me down to labor and delivery for continuous observation. My BP went down and the baby's stats looked fine so they sent me back upstairs.
They started another 24 hour urine test on Saturday night. When I got the results on Monday morning it showed that my protein level had increased to over 8000. Protein levels at 5000 are considered sever! So my OB came in on Monday and said we are going to have this baby sooner rather than later. I was scared and called Rick and my family to come. They all came right away and they took me down to L&D again, this time to prep for a c-section. They hooked me up to an IV with magnesium sulfate (gross!) and they told Rick, "If her BP goes over 200/100 we are going in right away so please watch it." They planned the c-section for 8:00 pm. By 7:30ish they said we are going, my BP was up to about 210/100. They pushed me back to the OR and did the prep for the c-section. By 7:53 they had the baby out. Eli weighed 2 lbs. 11 ozs and was 15 1/2 inches long. I had to ask what the sex was! lol. They said it's a boy! I got to see Eli for about 20 seconds before they rushed him to the NICU. But I did get to hear him cry... That made me feel like things would be ok.
Things went smoothly for the next few days. He was on CPAP for his breathing and an IV for nutrients. On day 3 things went south. Eli had something called "stiff lungs" which was basically an air bubble popping outside of his lungs and moving things. He had to be put on a vent and have a chest tube inserted. It was the hardest day ever to see my baby hooked up to all sorts of machines to help him live. I will never forget it. After 48 hours he came off the vent, and after 4 days he got the chest tube out. After that we had to deal with the tummy issues. He was not pooping spontaneously. After many enemas, they gave him a upper and lower GI to check and make sure things were ok. They were and soon after that he began to poop on his own. Eli also had a heart and brain ultrasound and things looked fine on both of those.
11 days after he was born I finally got to hold Eli. It was a wonderful day. Eli was on the CPAP for about 3 weeks and the IV for about 4 weeks. Eli had 2 PICC lines, 2 blood transfusions, countless “mini” bottles, and countless antibiotics and medications. He was on a NG tube (for feeding) till about Dec. 31st. He had some temperature issues and went from the iscolete to the open crib back to the iscolete back to the open crib. He failed the car seat test 2X and finally passed on the 3rd try. We were supposed to bring Eli home on Jan 2, but we did not get to bring him home till Wednesday Jan. 13, 2010. He came home at 7 weeks 2 days old after spending 51 days in the NICU. When Eli came home he weighed 4 lbs 15 ozs and was 17 inches long. On Eli’s “should-have-been-birthday” on February 2, 2010 he weighed 8 lbs. He has been thriving and growing since then.
We marched for the first time in March for Babies in the beginning of May 2010. Eli was 5 months old and we met with some of our friends from the NICU to march. March of Dimes has played a big role in our lives because they developed the surfacten that they gave to Eli to help his lungs open. Hopefully we will march again and again. My motto for marching is “I march so that someday other mom’s won’t have to!”
It has been a long hall (Eli had to have hypospadia surgery in August, has had 2 bouts of bronchiolitis, 1 case of RSV and countless colds!) but on Eli’s 1st birthday he weighed 19 lbs 11 oz and was 28 inches long! Now at 15 months he weighs almost 22 lbs! We have been so blessed and thank God everyday for giving us this beautiful miracle baby to enrich our lives.
Thank you Kim and Kyndall for allowing us to share our story! We appreciate the opportunity! :o)
xoxo- Mary Kate, Rick and Eli
"To realize the value of one month: Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby."
Thank you Mary Kate for sharing your story!! Here is yet another reason why the March of Dimes needs your donations. You can click on the widget on the right side of my blog or go directly to the Team Kyndall page to make you donations. No amount is too small.