Posted On Wednesday, December 14, 2011 by kimaiya
Where do I start, it's been almost 7 years and still seems like yesterday that this "song" was forever engraved in my mind and heart! I told myself that I would keep this to myself, it's much easier that way, or so I thought, but i've been inspired, oh yes inspired, and I'm gonna share my story, as sad as it may seem to some, it has a happy ending, a blessing that came my way on October 25th, 2004 and a miracle that appeared itself, or should I say herself on December 30th, 2009! You see, the saying "time heals all wounds" holds true, and sometimes it takes witnessing the struggle of another person and the way they overcome to inspire you, and yes i've been inspired!! So here it goes, "Liyah's Song" ...
"Ms. Taylor, you have a disease known as preeclampsia, and we have to put you on strict bedrest until your delivery. "Pre what? You mean I'm gonna be in this hospital until February 14? It's only October 20th!! What about my baby? Is she gonna be ok? My head hurts, and I think I need to get my eyes checked because my vision has been a bit blurry these past few weeks, so you see doc, I can't possibly stay in this hospital for four months, can't you just monitor me from home?" Foolish little girl, I didn't realize the danger "we" were in, I'm only 21, this seems like something a middle age woman should be going through! Five days later I would soon find out the meaning of preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome, I would witness them first hand and live to sing this song.
October 24, 2004 was not a normal day for me, I'm pregnant, and on bedrest, my head is hurting, well, pounding; I've spoken with my doctor who informs me that she is gonna do everything she can to keep the pregnancy as long as possible, but my blood pressure and the protein that's spilling in my urine may prevent that from happening, I'm only 26 weeks pregnant so of course the next step is to introduce me to the neonatologist, who "in the event of an early delivery" will care for my baby. I'm not really sure how I felt about the things he's telling me about the process of the NICU and the dangers of having a baby this early, I'm more concerned with the pain in my upper abdomen that I mistook for indigestion and the needle that my nurse is holding, preparing to give me steroid shots to help mature my baby's lungs, oh yes, there's definitely going to be an early delivery, Lord help me!
It's 12 am, October 25, and I can't sleep, my nurse is coming in every 15 minutes to check my blood pressure and reporting the findings to my doctor, my head feels like someone is cracking my skull with a hammer, and I can't seem to focus on anything,"should have had that eye exam before leaving Tampa" is what I'm thinking! My nurse comes in and informs me that I'm going to be moved to labor and delivery because my blood pressure is very high and delivery is basically inevitable. "ma'am can you wait a second, I need to call my mom, she's gonna be worried when she comes in the morning and i'm not here" I'm whisked away to labor and delivery, I'm not sure if I blacked out for a second or minutes, but my parents are suddenly in front of me, smiling, obviously trying to hide the worry they must be feeling right now. I don't remember much of what happened from about 1:00 am to 7:00 am, but I do remember my dad rubbing my head and holding the basin as I vomited violently, the result of the nurse putting what I later learned was Magnesium Sulfate in my I.V. to try and bring my blood pressure down. I remember my mom saying, "calm down and try to rest Maiya,"" easy for you to say, you don't have a hammer at your skull right now mommy!!" My mom tells me this went on through out the night, with my blood pressure getting up to 210/over something, she tells me that she and my dad took turns sleeping on the little couch, while the other stood guard over my bed. I finally was able to rest a bit, after getting a dose of phenergan to control the nausea and vomiting. The breaking point she tells me was when the doctor came in and told them that the blood work done through the night revealed my liver enzymes where elevated, my liver, kidneys and every other organ in my body were about to shut down, and I along with my unborn baby would unfortunately die!! They had to make the decision; deliver MY baby to save mine!! Sounds harsh, but this disease is only cured by delivery of the baby, so Aliyah Le'Shun Sheffield was about to make her grand entrance into the world.
My mom sat near my head during the surgery and tells me that I slept through out the entire thing. As I'm being taken to my room, I'm wheeled through the NICU, there she is, "focus Maiya" where are my glasses?! I need to see my baby!" I'm not in any pain, but I can't seem to move my body, I manage to move my arm up to her isolette and touch her foot,which is no bigger than my thumb, I later learn that she weighs 14 ounces! That's the size of a cordless phone! The next few days are filled with pain medication, blood pressure medication, more ultrasounds, my incision is full of fluid and someone mentions something about going back to surgery! No way!! I just wanna see my baby, I have to get better so I can take care of my baby, somebody please take me to see my baby, better yet, I'll just get out of this bed and walk over there myself!! I'mÂ a SURVIVOR!! I walked out of St. Mary's Hospital with my belongings and a prescription for Procardia (a blood pressure medication) a week and a half after delivering my 14oz baby and a near death experience.Â Aliyah, on the other hand had a long way to go.
Being born so early due to preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome caused Liyah to be very premature, her lungs and all her other organs were just not strong enough, but I wasn't blessed with a wimp, she fought, oh boy did she fight, most new moms take their babies home and spend the next few weeks recovering: sleepless nights, frequent feedings, etc. I on the other hand spent the next seven weeks making trips back and forth to the hospital, sitting at her bedside for hours at a time, singing her songs, reading her stories from her first Bible, praying and telling her she's never gonna believe how far God brought her, and laughing at the silly doctors and nursing that were telling me that she may not make it. What did they know: she's doing so well, tolerating breast milk that I faithfully pumped every two hours and brought up to hospital, I needed to feed my baby!! No one could make me believe that I would never bring her home. On December 13th, 2004, Liyah surrendered to an illness known as NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis) which is the death of intestinal tissue, primarily affecting premature infants and sick newborns. I often blamed myself, "If I hadn't been such a weirdo, having preeclampsia, she would have never been born early, never developing NEC!" During the weeks following Liyah's birth and death, I never really had a chance to think about and dwell on the actual disease, I just knew that I hated the name, I hated the doctor in Tampa that missed all the signs and symptoms that I was displaying at each visit, I hated the fact that I waited so long to come back home to see another doctor, I hated being in the NICU and hearing the doctors and nurses discuss Liyah's condition and then mention mine, as if to say,"It's her fault" (my thinking at the time). I hated the sight of those stupid blood pressure pills, which I threw in the trash the minute I came home from Liyah's funeral, Liyah is gone, what reason did I have to live?? BUT GOD...
Have you ever heard a song, maybe even a verse of a song, and no matter how long ago you heard it, or how hard you try to put it out of your memory, it's always there? You wake up humming the lyrics, you find yourself repeating the words, it's always on your mind; well that's my Liyah, like a song. I'm always mentioning her name, cautious, up until a few months ago, not to say too much though, out of fear of someone asking too many questions, I had a fear of being looked at as a freak, I mean, most people like myself have never heard of preeclampsia, let alone dealt with it, so it seems a bit strange for a young woman in perfect health to have experienced something so life changing. I have so much to more to say, there's so much more to my story, but that would take days, or maybe even weeks and months to get it all out, one day I'll get around to it, oh yes I would love to share with the world my struggle and walk that began on Decemember 13th, 2004. It has not been easy, I'm sure there's some one out there that needs to know the power of prayer, the meaning of family and unconditional love, someone needs to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and a rainbow after every storm, but in the meantime, i'll just continue to share Tayler, my miracle baby, the one that wasn't discovered for 10 1/2 weeks, the little girl that came seven weeks early, due to another round of preeclampsia, my RAINBOW after my STORM! I've also been inspired to join a wonderful cause, to be a voice for other mothers and infants affected by preeclampsia, eclampsia and HELLP syndrome,those alive and those that have passed on. I'm inspired and I plan on doing my part, I'm going to continue to "sing Liyah's song" and my prayer is that this small bit of my story will inspire you to join the cause and sing along with me.