‘Millions of dollars later, we’re finally home. I get to spend each day with the most amazing 14-pound child imaginable. Dammit, Baby B.’: Family’s amazing journey to overcome infertility

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“我们花了一段时间才怀孕。幸运的是,我们是第一个开始尝试的朋友。我并没有经常在怀孕公告中拍打脸,为此我深表感谢。我的家人有PCOS的历史,我没有幸免。花了几种药物组合才能在一年多的时间内将我们带到那里,而不乏泪水和挫败感。2018年3月8日,我对妊娠试验的阳性最为微弱。几天后,我的Beta水平几乎是他们通常应该是的两倍。一周后,我们进行了超声波检查,我们的护士给了我们生活的震惊:双胞胎。We were elated, but she told us to hold off on our joy as Baby B’s sac was measuring very small, which often leads to reabsorption or a ‘vanishing twin.’ We immediately called our parents one-by-one and told them our incredible news, but held off until 12 weeks to tell all of our friends and social media. I was due on November 28th, we had plenty of time to tell the world.

由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供

My pregnancy was not an easy one. I vomited multiple times a day for pretty much the entire time. At 11 and 13 weeks I bled abundantly, both times assuming I was miscarrying. They could never find the origin of the blood and both babies continued to grow, though Baby B lagging slightly behind in size and heartbeat strength. Pat and I would often leave appointments joking ‘dammit Baby B!,’ partially to prepare her for a lifetime of playful comparison, and partially to protect ourselves if something ever happened. Despite my morning sickness and bleeding, we went into our 20-week anatomy scan assuming that things were perfectly fine. They weren’t.

由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供

We could tell during the scan that there were two heartbeats, four arms, four legs, two adorable little noses. After the scan, we were told they were both measuring on the small side, and that we’d need a follow-up scan the next week with Maternal Fetal Medicine. I asked my doctor if we should be panicking and he assured me that he’s referring us ‘just to be safe.’ The following week, after our scan, we were taken into a patient room to speak with the MFM. She explained to us that both of our girls, our tiny little-nosed girls, had inconsistent blood flow to their placentas. They were growing much slower than expected and not receiving what they needed from me. They were diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) from intermittent absent-end diastolic flow, a condition that the MFM said she rarely saw this early. The course of this diagnosis typically results in early delivery, but I was just barely 21 weeks along. The MFM said our new goal was to get to viability, 25 weeks, and the likelihood of one or both girls reaching viability was approximately 50%. I was instructed to drink a ton of water, eat protein, and return for weekly Doppler scans to monitor blood flow. When the blood flow was determined to have stopped or reversed, I would be admitted and the girls would be delivered as long as we reached 25 weeks or the girls measured around 500g (1lb). We were devastated and, in hindsight, had absolutely no idea what delivering a 25-weeker meant, nor did we think about the complications that come with a baby born that small. I made a paper chain to count our time and together we waited, making hopeful plans for our family of four, as the days slowly crawled by.

由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供

At 23+4 my blood pressure spiked and I was briefly admitted. We had our weekly Doppler and the MFM came again to share the details with us. This time, our strong baby A was showing signs of oligiohydraminos (low amniotic fluid) and further growth restriction, measuring in the 3rd percentile, only 340 grams. Baby B was measuring in the 14th percentile and their roles had switched – her blood flow was a bit stronger and she continued to grow ever so slightly, measuring 420 grams. Neither baby was viable. I was discharged from the hospital and we met with a neonatologist who matter-of-factly told us if I could get them to 24 weeks, he would do everything he can to try to save them.

接下来的一周,8月8日,我们返回了另一个多普勒。超声技术在扫描过程中通常很健谈和愉悦,但是这项技术是沉默的。帕特握住我的手,当她扫描每条腿,手臂,小鼻子时,我们耐心地等待着。大约半小时后,我们确切听到了我们的听到的声音。“我很抱歉,没有心跳。”宝贝A,我们坚强,美丽的双胞胎,在我的入场和扫描之间已经过去了一段时间。Baby B的血液流动逆转了,我们被告知非常危险,我立即被接纳进行监测。我得到了类固醇和镁来赋予她力量,计划是给她几天来获得效果,但是我们必须勤奋地注意遇险迹象并尽快送交,如果她陷入困境。

Because of the cord flow issues, she was not yet considered viable. The neonatologist came to visit again and told us she had to be around 500 grams to be intubated…so we were prepared that given her measurements at the last scan, that her shot at life was about 5%. A five percent chance that my one surviving, beautiful little nose would see this life.

My parents rushed down and together we spent Wednesday through Saturday crying and staring nonstop at her heart rate monitor, hoping she’d be big enough to intubate and live. The nurses who cared for us were so incredibly sweet, but clearly walking on eggshells around us. One in particular wept as she took my vitals.

On the morning of Saturday, August 11, I went into a c-section and first delivered our beautiful Baby A, and then the loudest, feistiest 504-gram baby girl the NICU team had ever seen. We named her Lily Margaret after my aunt and Pat’s grandma. My aunt is the glue that keeps my dad’s family together, and Lily will do just that for us, no matter the outcome. Surprisingly, Lily didn’t need to be intubated immediately. She breathed on her own for about an hour and a half and was literally screaming at the nurses for some time before heading down to the NICU. When the neonatologist explained to us that there was a 5% chance she would survive, we didn’t know the road we’d travel down to get past ‘surviving’ and make it to ‘thriving.’

由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供
由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供
由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供

我们花了256天在NICU中。256天充满了智慧h uncertainty, sadness, fear, and anger, but also moments of sheer beauty and joy; her first bath, first clothes, first bottle, holidays, and development of friendships that will last forever. We learned to lean on one another in way we never thought possible, and looked to the strength of our friends and family to help us just survive from day to day. When Lily was one month old, she had an exploratory bowel surgery because she had not pooped since she was born. It took weeks of enemas, contrast studies, and medications to arrive at the decision to operate. At the time, we had absolutely no idea how risky it was to operate on a 1lb baby. Her heart stopped (‘coded’) on the operating table and she was brought back to life, but we were so blinded by everything going on, that the magnitude of this surgery took months to process. The week after surgery we almost lost her again. Her lungs had become increasingly damaged by the ventilator that was keeping her alive, so much so that she maxed out the support that the vent could provide. The team put her on a high frequency oscillating ventilator for a week, to help deliver pressure support that she needed, but with the hopes she’d ultimately require less support. This week was extremely difficult as we were, yet again, briefed that she may not make it. I did lots of research on other treatments, and the team agreed to trial low-dose steroids to help her lungs grow in a short amount of time. She responded well to the steroids and was able to return to the traditional ventilator.

由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供
由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供
由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供

As a result of her first surgery, her small intestine was disconnected and she had an ostomy for three months; a section of her intestine was pulled through her stomach and the rest of her intestines were left to rest and grow. In December she had her bowels reconnected and she lost minimal bowel – it is truly amazing that we’ll have no long-term gut issues. This is our biggest victory in that all she will have is a gorgeous abdominal scar to show for months of pooping out of her belly.

我们几个月拔管从th CPAPe endotracheal tube and we were ultimately unable to extubate her without serious repercussions, such as dangerously high CO2 and apneic episodes. Some of these episodes resulted in resuscitation- seeing my child turn blue and require chest compressions is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. She had been ventilated for so long and her little lungs were so scarred and damaged. In January, after nearly 5 months of being unable to extubate, Lily had a tracheotomy to create a semi-permanent hole in her trachea to help her breathe. She has a trach tube down her trachea, secured around her neck, and connected to the vent. Before the trach, she had to be sedated so that she wouldn’t rip her tube out, so now that she has this more stable airway, we can begin working on all of the milestones she missed while she was very sick. During this surgery, she also had a gtube placed for us to use while we work on introducing oral feeds.

由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供
由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供

对于我们来说,对气管切开术的决定并不容易,因为它需要全天候对莉莉的钟声,因为trach可以阻塞或弹出,使她无法呼吸。我们已经接受了令人难以置信的广泛培训,以照顾她,我们每周3-4天在家中有护理(我们有权每天12个小时,但有一个全国性的家庭健康护理短缺)。我们很幸运,我们的几位NICU护士(现在是亲爱的朋友)正在提供我们的家庭护理。尽管医疗方面一直非常恐怖,但trach允许她做我们一直都知道的事情 - 她现在可以抬起头,她可以追踪运动,抓住,笑(默默地),微笑,滚动,滚动,滚动,滚动,we’re working on tummy time, and just started bottle feeding. She’s been evaluated by neurologists and developmental pediatricians who feel that with time she will catch up and shouldn’t have many long-term developmental needs. We were very concerned about cerebral palsy and long term effects of sedation (she was on fentanyl/morphine/methadone for 5 months), but there seems to be minimal research to suggest that she will have these needs if she is not already showing signs.

由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供
由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供

We have weekly speech therapy, physical therapy, developmental therapy, and occupational therapy. She has monthly pulmonology appointments to evaluate her lung maturation. The pulmonologist suspects she’ll be vented for another year or two, then ‘capped’ for a year (not connected to the vent but the trach stays in to provide a stable airway to prove that she can breathe on her own). The goal is total decannulation by kindergarten, if not sooner. She’ll have intensive speech and feeding therapies because the trach makes it very difficult to speak and eat, but we’ll learn. I can’t wait to hear her really cry one day.

由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供
由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供
由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供

This has been the most difficult nine months we could have ever imagined, but we walked out of the NICU with our living miracle. This chapter tested our marriage, love for one another, and taught us that we can rely on our amazing family, friends, and hospital staff who became family. Severe chronic lung disease, a bowel perforation, 3 surgeries, 5 life-threatening infections, 4 code/total resuscitations, sedatives, paralytics, 1 MRI, 7 echocardiograms, 150+ x-rays, and millions of dollars later, we’re finally home. And I get to spend each day with the most amazing 14-pound child imaginable. Dammit, Baby B.”

由杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)提供

This story was submitted tobeplay网络一直不畅伊利诺伊州的杰西卡·沃尔夫(Jessica Wolff)。您可以跟随莉莉的旅程Instagram.Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own storyhere,请确保subscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories.

阅读更多令人信服的故事,讲述儿童与罕见条件作斗争:

”我让你在你的mom’s arms so you could be snuggled while you drifted off to sleep. I hid behind the curtain and shed silent tears. I still hear the echo of, ‘I’m so sorry, but he is gone.’

‘I noticed Ellie had a cough. Then everything got scary really fast. All the blood in my head rushed to my feet. I caused my child’s illness.’

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