LIFE IS PRECIOUS. WE HAVE ALL HEARD THIS SAYING A THOUSAND TIMES. BUT IN 2012, I LEARNED WHAT IT REALLY MEANS. I FELT IT WITH EVERY OUNCE OF WHO I AM.
In March of 2012, I was pregnant with my second daughter. Everything appeared to be going along just fine with the pregnancy. We were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our baby girl…Getting her room ready, buying coordinating “Big Sister” and “Little Sister” outfits. Our family was so excited to meet our second little blessing.
At a routine checkup, everything changed, and we entered a whirlwind of panic. We discovered that the flow of the umbilical cord was reversing, meaning that instead of sending blood and nutrients to the baby, it was taking them away from the baby. I was sent straight to the hospital…the baby had to be born that day. No time to see our older daughter and tell her what was happening, no time to go home and get my stuff. Our baby was in serious danger, and we had to get her out now.
So, a month early and unprepared, we welcomed our baby girl into the world. After spending the first few hours with her, we knew something was not right. She was having difficulty breathing. She was rushed into the NICU and given oxygen. Doctors and nurses were going back and forth, trying to figure out what was going on. After several tests, an X-Ray revealed that she had Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Her lungs had been damaged in utero, and her air sacs were collapsing upon themselves. She needed surfactant, which is essentially a lubricant that allows the air sacs to open and close. Terrified, my husband and I were led out of the room while the neonatologist and the nurse began the procedure. About 30 minutes later, we saw the neonatologist approaching our room. We were instantly flooded with relief when he told us that everything went well and she had received the surfactant beautifully.
She spent the rest of the week in the NICU to ensure that she was recovering well and until she could comfortably breath on her own. When it came time to take her home, the neonatologist went over everything with us. He told us that she was doing great, but her lungs needed time to heal. They were damaged, and even the mildest cold could send us right back to the hospital. We were advised to keep her quarantined for 2 months. She was not allowed to go anywhere other than doctor appointments, and nobody could come to our house. Our older daughter had to stay home, too, so that she would not pick anything up and bring it home.
As we approached the end of the 2 month quarantine, we were excited to start doing things with her. Grandparents could meet her for the first time, we could take her on walks, and our older daughter could go out and do things again. But as soon as we got clearance from the pediatrician, our world turned upside down. For a few days, I knew she was not right. Everyone around me tried to ensure me that she was fine, but this momma’s instinct knew better.
While out on a walk in our neighborhood with my father and my older daughter, she began having difficulty breathing. I picked her up, and she instantly went unconscious and then completely stopped breathing. I held my baby girl in my arms and watched the life nearly go out of her. In a state of complete shock and horror, I thought I had lost my daughter. In a span of about 45 seconds that seemed like hours, my father was able to stimulate her to breathe again while I called 911. The paramedics showed up just as she came to.
We went back to the hospital, where doctors spent several days trying to figure out what had happened. They ran every test under the sun, all of which came back negative. With each test, there was relief, but also confusion. Why did this happen, and what if it happens again? After a few days, the pediatric pulmonologist reviewed the data from her monitors. It revealed that she had Periodic Breathing. This is a type of apnea, where the baby stops breathing because the central nervous system is not mature. It is common in very early premature babies, but not in babies born a month early. Because of her gestational age, it was overlooked. We learned that the dangerous conditions in utero had caused more neurological delays than we originally thought.
Our daughter was sent home hooked up to a monitor. Her breathing and heart rate were monitored 24/7, and the data was regularly checked by her pulmonologist. It was a situation where she just needed time to mature. She would have episodes of periodic breathing every day, and the monitor was there to tell us when she needed help. She was on the monitor until just before her first birthday. Throughout the year, that monitor alarmed several times. Each time, we would run to her and stimulate her to begin breathing normally again. As she grew, the data improved little by little. With each checkup and sleep study, we saw small improvements. Right after her first birthday, she had another sleep study. The data was perfect! She was breathing exactly the way she should. After a very long and difficult year, our baby girl was finally breathing properly, on her own.
Looking back, we clearly see the hand of God throughout the entire situation. He walked us through every single step, and He held us together when we felt like we were about to crumble. Every page was covered in His amazing grace.
We are so thankful for all of the wonderful doctors, nurses, and staff members who took care of our daughter and helped us along the way. Since going through all of this, my husband and I have developed a passion for helping babies and families going through medical problems. We know how hard it is, and although we cannot take away what the families are going through, we know that there are small things that we can do to help.
When I started Pages Of Grace, I knew that I wanted it to be a business that could bless others. I wanted it to be something that would not only help teachers and students, but something that would also help babies and families going through difficult medical situations. Through prayer and thanksgiving, we decided to partner with the NICU at St. Luke’s Hospital. With each purchase, 10% will be donated to the NICU. Babies will receive things like clothing, hats, and blankets to make their stay a little more comfortable. When you purchase a resource from Pages Of Grace, you are doing more than purchasing something to use in your classroom. You are also supporting babies and their families in the NICU. I am so thankful for the opportunity to partner with you as a teacher and bring you quality resources while also helping our precious babies. Thank you for partnering with me.