I became pregnant very young at 18 years old. At around 5 months I was
I became pregnant very young at 18 years old. At around 5 months I was informed at a checkup that my baby was showing up a little smaller than she should've been on the utlrasound. The nurse told me that since I was small, it may just be genetic. But I was sent to a specialist anyway. The specialist informed me that I was going to develop preeclampsia and that my baby would most likely be delivered early, "But we're gonna try to keep her in there as long as we can" he said.
The very next day I woke up to severe back pain and fell to tears. I told my grandmother, whom I was living with at the time, and she was worried and asked me to call my mother. I did. My mother took me to the ER in our town because she believed that I may have been having early labor pains.
Upon arrival at the ER, I was told not only that I wasn't "going to develop" preeclampsia, I had it. Then I was told that my baby would have to be delivered immediately. I cried my eyes out screaming, "But she's not ready!" I felt completely powerless, overwhelmed, and hurt....along with a string of many other emotions.
I was driven in ambulance to a better hospital, which would be able to provide better for my needs, and also because it had Children's Hospital right next to it. I had no idea of what was happening to me...or why.
In the hospital I was very sick, not just physically, but emotionally too. My blood pressure was through the roof but I waited it out as long as I could, hoping that each day my baby would grow just a little more and have a better chance at life. I held on for 3 days, praying with my mother and father and my child's father for God to make it ok. We prayed, "God we are putting our faith in you." And we did. After that prayer, much of my emotional stress and worry eased.
I was told that I needed to make the choice whether or not to deliver my baby vaginally or by C-section. The doctors offered me their opinions, which I listened to, but did not act by. They told me that the baby had a risk of head trauma if I delivered vaginally, but that I may not want to undergo the "major surgery" of a C-section [which by the way offered a higher survival chance for my baby] because the baby may not survive or if it did survive it could have severe complications such, mentally and physically that I, at such a young age, may not have wanted to deal with.
I made the choice to have a C-section. And thus Alexia Grace Butler came into the world on May 12, 2007 weighing in at a mere 14. oz. A fighter when she came out, she attempted to cry but her lungs were very immature. The sight of my angel brought me to tears.
I recovered from the preeclampsia for which my doctors told me delivery was the only cure. And I had delivered and was on my way to being physically healthy. But my emotions were still in the ICU.
Lexi stayed in the hospital for five months. The experience was very overwhelming for me at only 19 years old. It definitely made me grow up at an expedited pace. There were so many medical terms that I did not understand, though I tried my best. There were nights when I would receive phone calls saying that Lexi wasn't doing well and though they didn't say it explicitly the message was "she may die tonight."
She was on a ventilator for months, then she went to CPAP. She was fed for the first time with abt 1cc. She had to be taught to drink from a bottle when she was finally able. We saw a few babies come and go in the NICU and for others, the coming and going was more in terms of coming into life and going into death. My heart ached for those mothers. My baby may have been sick, but at least she was still alive. At least she was still fighting.
The first time I got to hold her she was the size of a subway sandwich, but I was thrilled. She was transferred to the stage 2 nursery and after a couple months there she was allowed to come home at a little over 4 lbs.
In NICU, she underwent a PDA ligation surgery and an eye surgery for ROP. In Nursery 2, she underwent another eye surgery. Her eyes appeared very weak and she struggled to keep them straight.
At home, she underwent two surgeries for strabismus. Her eye problems set back her fine motor development. For months no one contacted us about any kind of early intervention and I had no idea that I needed to contact anyone. I was inexperienced and uninformed. I thought that everything would be okay.
However, my baby came home at five months old and was at an infantile stage, only 4.5 pounds, and in need of as much help as early as possible. This, I did not know. I only knew (or thought I knew) that all preemies "catch up."
My daughter entered into the early intervention program at around 16 MONTHS. I emphasize this because she should have been getting help much earlier. At the hospital, we were told that someone would be contacting us about early intervention as soon as she got home. No one did. It was I who contacted THEM...realizing that things weren't going quite right. Nurses and doctor at the neurodevelopmental clinic, with whom she saw bi-annual prompted me to make the call.
The early intervention was okay at first. It started out with a therapist coming to my home on Wednesday mornings to work with [or play with] Lexi for about 30 minutes. Then, I asked if she could go to the daycare with which the Early Intervention program worked to be around other children while receiving therapy. She went.
The daycare turned out to be just that, a Daycare. I did not feel that my daughter was getting the help that she needed. Therapists met with her 4x a month while there, supposedly. And even that was not nearly enough. So I heard about a special education preschool program that had been successful in helping other preemies catch up and did what I had to to enroll her as quickly as possible.
She was 2 1/2 when she started. She has been there now for about 3month. She still displays some delays, especially with language [she is not saying much] and fine motor [due to her previous eye problems]. She is still catching up. But I am very proud of her and I know she will be fine. She is a fiesty little girl and very loving and VERY silly! She understands a lot more than she can verbally communicate. But she points and says some words. We are still on the developmental journey and praying and believing that she will develop to her fullest potential.
When we prayed to God in the hospital, we believed in Him. We abandoned our worries and strengthened our faith. My family and I KNOW that everything is going to be okay... we believe that it already is.
One thing that I learned is that you CAN NOT always listen to the experts and the professionals. Many of them have a desensitized view of the patients' situations because they deal with the situations regularly. I have left out of many doctor's offices in tears. But I have learned to trust in God, and not let the words of a doctor shake my faith in Him, His promise, and His word.
I love the Lord. He has brought us a mighty long way, and I am SURE that He has not brought us this far to leave us. He's ABLE!
Ethan will be turning 3 at the end of this month (October). The month of October always brings up some scary memories and emotions for me... I never thought I would have a difficult pregnancy or labor. After all...