Archive for the ‘preemie’ Tag

Kendra’s Journey   3 comments

Okay, so today is officially the March of Dimes “Preemie Awareness Day”, and as such, I’m reposting on the same subject  I have before. I know, bad blogger etiquette, especially considering the first was at the beginning of the month! But Multiples and More  did it, so why not me, right??

For those of you who didn’t read my previous post on Kendra, our lovely cousins Sylvia and Jeff were pregnant with their first baby at the same time as we were pregnant with the twins. The twins were due at Xmas, and Kendra around Easter, but on December 20th, the night before we were to have our twins (at 37.5 weeks), we received a call from Sylvia’s mom that Kendra had been born: 26 weeks, 2lb. Kendra’s aunt, Suzanne Day, a fantastic photographer in Barrie, Ontario, created this beautiful video of Kendra’s journey from being a micro-preemie to today, and I felt that it was important to share it with anyone who will watch so they can see the fight these little peanuts face when they come out WAY too early, first hand.

Tonight, when I am on my way to sleep, I will send up a prayer to every mom of a premature baby that I know, every mom that I don’t know, and every mom who doesn’t even know yet herself … I will pray for strength and courage, I will pray for HOPE, and mostly I will pray for God’s love to carry them through a journey where few would have the strength to carry themselves. And more than anything, I will pray for science to continue forging forward to find better and more complete solutions for these little peanuts fighting for their lives.

I am just one of hundreds of bloggers that is taking time today to help raise awareness about this important cause. Bloggers Unite!

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November is Preemie-Awareness Month   7 comments

 

No, you didn’t miss something – the babies were not preemies, and I am not pregnant again. However, since we do have a miracle “micro-preemie” in our extended family, I thought it might be a good idea to blog about the March of Dimes’ Fight For Preemies campaign (www.marchofdimes.com).

When we found out we were having twins at just 11 weeks along, having the babies come too soon was one of my first thoughts. Okay, my truly first thought was “Holy crap, what are we going to do with TWO babies?” No, actually, when I really ponder it, my first thought was “Told ya so!”, directed mainly at my unbelieving husband. But my second (and first really legitimate) thought was panic. And then, joy, a warm yummy joy at seeing two beautiful little heartbeats, two little squirmy bodies, four hands, feet, and eyes (ok, those were actually creepy on ultrasound. But whatever).

 
Our first ultrasound at 11 weeks
Our first ultrasound at 11 weeks

And then… total and inalienable fear. I was afraid of EVERYTHING that could go wrong. Afraid of all the in utero complications that I knew of too well from 4 years of medical school. Afraid of the increased rate of loss with twin pregnancies. Afraid of major birth defects. Afraid of getting three little girls dressed, fed, and hair all done in time for daycare every morning. Afraid we’d never find 3 car seats that would fit across our backseat – or worse, what people would THINK when they saw 3 carseats across our backseat! But mostly, I was afraid of having the babies come too early – waaaay too early. I began to fixate on the really risky part of my pregnancy, between 26 and 32 weeks, where the babies would be considered “viable” even if they were born at less than the weight of a typical grapefruit. How can a little person survive born that small? And how could they possible survive and be healthy kids?

The thought of it swirled in my head, and every time a client would ask me if I should still be working, considering how intense and physically strenuous my job can be, I would smile and tell them everything was FINE, I was FINE, the babies were FINE, look at these child-birthing hips, I was born to have twins, ha ha ha! And then inside, I would shrivel up and die a micro death at the thought of doing anything that might increase the risk to my little peanuts. 

I remember the day that we hit 26 weeks. I watched the calendar crawl slowly through those 6 weeks. I was getting HUGE, and figured maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if the babies came now: this belly can’t possibly get any larger, right? And then I’d go for my bi-weekly ultrasounds, and their body weights would creep up: 1 lb, 1.5 lbs, 2lbs, 2.5 lbs, 3 lbs. When the babies hit 4 lbs a piece, I started to breathe a little more easily. I used to talk to them, say silly things like, “Come on, girls, let’s just cook a little longer… It’s not really so great out here that you need to rush anything…”

My Doctor was recommending medical leave from work, consdering how large I was getting and how stressed and tired I was at the end of a long day at the clinic. I was glad to slow down the frantic pace a little, and use the time to be on light bed rest for safety. And as most of you know, in the end, it was wonderful. The girls arrived on December 21st, full term at 37.5 weeks and HUGE at over 7lbs each. They were born in under 4 hours of labour and came home from hospital within 48 hours, nursing like stars and passing all their health checks.

Our girls at 7 days old

Our girls at 7 days old

But the day before we were induced at 37.5 weeks, we got the call that their cousin, little Kendra Molly had been born. Early. Reaaaaaly early. It was almost Christmas, and Kendra wasn’t due until April. She was only 26 weeks along, born at 1.01kg (2.2 lbs) at a smaller hospital in Barrie, north of Toronto.

Kendra at birth - 26 weeks, 2.2lbs
Kendra at birth – 26 weeks, 2.2lbs
After being stabilized and assessed, she was flown by air ambulance to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, where she spent almost 3 months in NICU.

Kendra at Sick Kids
We kept abreast of wee Kendra’s progress thanks to her mom’s frequent posts and pictures on Facebook, along with calls from Jeff’s mom to keep us updated. While in the NICU, no one but the parents were allowed in, so even the grandparents didn’t meet or get to hold Kendra until she was a few months old. But it was so exciting to hear when Kendra hit a new weight goal, or they were able to remove one more support item. And then she was just in a regular incubator, no tubes or anything. So cool.
When she was released at 3 months old (just before real “due date”), Kendra had just hit 5 lbs.  But the weight piled on, and Kendra is a scrappy little fighter (like a few other little Stewart girls I know) and so she’s certainly caught up to her 2009 peers. Other than the big scar on her head from the surgery, I don’t think anyone would know Kendra was a micro-preemie.
Kendra at 10 months

Kendra at 10 months

At 10 months now, Kendra is HUGE, almost as big as her full term cousins, and doing great. But their road was rocky and included lots of tubes, meds, pneumonias, and even surgery to reduce fluid pressure on her brain. She is a miracle. And with all our twin-sanity around here, we haven’t even been able to make the 2 hour journey north to meet her yet. But hopefully at this year’s big family Christmas brunch, we can get some real pictures of all 3 cousins, born just 1 day and over 5 lbs apart, together at 1 year old.

Looking forward to it!