Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sophia Elizabeth
"Such a BIG Miracle, in Such A Little Girl"
After three and half year of trying to conceive we were blessed with a strong healthy pregnancy. Due to my hypertension and kidney issues prior to pregnancy I was scheduled to see the OB every other week from the time of conception. Each appointment brought more and more excitement. The first time I heard her little heart beat brought tears to my eyes. Overall the pregnancy was pretty easy for me. I did not have much morning sickness or pain.
At 27 weeks I had some very minor spotting. I called the OB office and was sent to Labor and Delivery for observation. Upon arrival they explained that they would check my cervix and hold me overnight for observation. When she checked me I was 2cm dilated. The physician ordered an ultrasound of my cervix. The ultrasound technician inserted the probe and then looked over at the nurse and said “We are just going to sit her for a minute.” The nurse looked at him like he was crazy. He then explained that he was afraid if he removed the probe he would rupture my membranes or cause additional contractions. 
At 27 weeks my cervix had thinned so much that it was no longer measurable. All the sudden the Labor and Delivery nurses swooped in to start IV fluids, antibiotics, and Magnesium Sulfate. I quickly went from just being observed overnight to being concerned we might be delivering that night. I remained on the Magnesium Sulfate for 24 hours and then was given two shots of steroids to mature our little girl’s lungs. 
I remained on the Preterm Labor floor for nearly two weeks on strict hospital bed rest. We would celebrate each passing day since we knew each day our little one stayed inside was helping her grow and get stronger. 
At 28.5 weeks I began having contractions again. They gave me terbutaline and the contractions stopped briefly. When they started back again they gave me another dose of terbutaline and started me on Indomethacin. Once they started the Indomethacin they started daily Biophysicals to check the amnionic fluid level, movement, and practice breathing. Our little girl never did her practice breathing during our checks.
At 28 weeks, 6 days I woke up at 4:00am with steady contractions. I called the nurse into the room who immediately called the doctor and started me on IV fluids and antibiotics again. When the physician arrived and checked me I was too far dilated to stop the contractions, I was going to have my baby that day. All the panic and fear that had been slowly building during my two weeks of preterm labor were flooding my mind. Would my little girl be able to breathe? Would she be on the ventilator? Simply, would she make it?
They moved me to the Labor and Delivery room and started preparing for her birth. I received my epidural and things started happening pretty quickly. My contractions were getting stronger and stronger. I was crying (a lot), I think out of fear for my baby than actually pain. Due to the premature labor, I had not attended any birthing classes. I had not even read that far into my pregnancy books. I felt so unprepared. My OB nurse just kept telling me that I would know when it was time and I would know what to do. She reassured me that she would help walk me through it. I still felt so frightened and unprepared. My OB broke my water and the urge to push came quickly. They called the NICU team who began setting up in the room. I never pictured having that many people in the room with me when I gave birth, but it was a packed house. I had my husband, both of my parents, nurse anesthetist, my OB, two OB nurses, the nursing supervisor, and a NICU team of five. 
To my amazement when my little girl was born she cried, she actually cried. It was only a little cry, but she still cried. Sophia Elizabeth was born on April 18, 2011 at 3:06pm. She weighed 3 pounds, 3 ounces and was 15 1/8 inches long. She was immediately handed off to the NICU team where they proceeded to warm her and intubate her. My husband was able to go see her while they were getting her prepared to head to the NICU. They had her in a plastic bag for warmth and she squeezed my husband’s hand through the bag. My husband was just so amazed by her strength.
Before they wheeled her down to the NICU they let me quickly hold her. It was amazing, she was so tiny and so sick. I only got to hold her briefly. It broke my heart when they wheeled her away. I did not know it then, but later found out they only reason they let me hold her in the delivery room was because they did not think she was going to make it. It still makes me so sad to think that she was that sick. I had a terrible bacterial infection in my placenta. Thankfully it was localized. After they wheeled her away I began to shiver uncontrollably. The nurse explained that it was likely due to the hormonal shift. They gave me a medication to help with the uncontrollable shaking, which proceeded to make me nauseous and vomit. There was some concern that I may have been getting septic from the infection. I had to continue antibiotics for an additional three days. They gave me yet another medication for the nausea, which made me sleep for hours. I was not able to see my sweet little girl until late that night. My husband wheeled me down to the NICU, where we scrubbed in and gowned. Those little yellow gowns would become our good friends over the next few weeks. I teared up as we made our way to her isolette. It was covered, but her sweet nurse immediately introduced herself and uncovered it for us. My precious baby was covered in tubes and wires, but she was still the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. Such a BIG Miracle, in such a little girl!
Sophia was born with a deadly bacterial infection. They had to do several spinal taps. Luckily the antibiotics she was given quickly cleared the infection. She also had a Grade 1 brain bleed. They did ultrasounds of her brain to watch the bleed. They also found that she had a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), a heart defect in which the duct in the heart does not close after birth. It allows the blood to flow from the heart to the rest of the body, instead of going to the lungs to be oxygenated. They gave her in Indomethacin to help close the duct. After several days of medication the duct closed. Unfortunately while on the medication she was unable to be fed. She dropped to three pounds. 
She was able to be extubated after 24 hours. She remained on a nasal canula for about a week. Six days after her birth, Easter Sunday, we were able to hold her, really hold her, for the first time. It was the best Easter present we could have been given. She was so tiny and so beautiful. We were also able to start Kangarooing (skin to skin contact) with her. We Kangarooed with our little girl for at least three hours everyday. This was such a special bonding time for us. She spent many weeks in her little incubator (isolette). We knew we were getting close to going home when they moved her to a “big girl” bed (basinet). She was finally holding her own body temperature and tolerating the “outside” world. 
Sophia spent six weeks in the NICU and was able to be discharged at six weeks old (35 weeks gestational age). She came home on an Apnea/heart monitor. Sophia has been doing amazingly well. She is surpassing all expectations!! She is a fighter and has been since the beginning! We love our little miracle!
11/16/11 Sophia is nearly 7 months old (4 1/2 months adjusted age). She weighs 15.5 pounds.
Sophia's short NICU video:


Precious and priceless so lovable too, the world’s sweetest littlest miracle is, a baby like you.

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