Hannah's Story

Post On Monday, October 29, 2012 By Suzanne

Hannah's Story

I lived in Mississippi at the time of my first pregnancy. I had an OB right out of med school, and by the time I went to my regular appointment at 26 weeks, he didn't play around. He said I had severe preeclampsia, and said he witnessed two women who died of PE during his residency and it wasn't going to happen to me. He put me in an ambulance to Mobile, Alabama, and said that the hospital I was headed to was amazing and they would take great care of my unborn daughter and me. He was right. I owe the staff at the hospital everything for saving my life and the life of my daughter.

I was so very sick that my parents and husband were told that the baby and I may not make it. What a scary ordeal. I was so swollen, had pulmonary edema, they couldn't get my BP down, I was having chest pains and the baby was going down-hill fast, so off to an emergency c-section we went. I was so drugged up, all I remember was a nurse practitioner who had freckles on her nose from the NICU standing over me telling me that the baby weighed less than a pound but she was breathing on her own and they were taking her to the NICU. After I finally got to see my baby (after almost two days of waiting since I wasn't stable), I was in awe at her beauty and tiny size and at the way that the nurses loving cared for her. Her official birth weight was 1 pound, 1 ounce.

The next day one of the nurse practitioners came to my room and told me that Hannah had caught a fatal infection and her chances weren't good. She was on a ventilator and was really, really sick. I called the hospital operator and asked her to find me a priest (not an easy feat on a Sunday morning), and I told if she couldn't do that, then please send any type of pastor, rabbi, holy person, anyone that could do a baptism. She called every Catholic church in the area and found us a brand-new priest who had only done one other baptism. What an experience this was for him! We had Hannah baptized that day and the NICU nurses prayed with us and cried with us. And a few days later the infection went away. A true miracle in my eyes.

I was there with Hannah everyday for 102 days - staying many of those days at the Ronald McDonald House. We celebrated in the NICU with a 2-pound party, and 3-pound party, and a 4-pound party, and my parents brought cakes. Those nurses and doctors became my family. I cried on Thanksgiving because it was supposed to be Hannah's due date, and I wanted her home with me to celebrate Thanksgiving. The nurse told me not to worry - they would give her some turkey and dressing through her feeding tube. I loved those nurses. Hannah finally got to go home before Christmas. What an amazing celebration we had. I could never say enough about the amazing things that USA Children's and Women's Hospital does. Not only are they amazing in the medical field, but the compassion that I experienced was like nothing else. I think the NICU nurses are angels on earth.

Hannah turned 11 years old in August, and not only is she super-healthy, she is the tallest kid in the class!! How is that for a surprise? AND she made the highest reading score on the Florida FCAT exam in the entire state. When people tell me she's big for her age I have to laugh. She now has a 2-year-old brother who was born in Pensacola since we live in Florida now. My high-risk OB was able to review my records from my previous pregnancy and help me get to 35 weeks and deliver a 4-pound baby. I also developed severe preeclampsia in this pregnancy, but with hospital bedrest, baby aspirin, and twice daily lovenox shots, I was able to go 9 weeks longer than I did with Hannah. I was a nervous wreck when I found out I was pregnant, but the ladies on the Preeclampsia Foundation forums got me through this scary pregnancy. I could never have made it without them and my amazing doctor.

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