Preemie Awareness: Emma's Story
Guest post by Katie Lewis
The night I found out I was pregnant was one of the happiest, yet scariest nights of my life.
As time passed, I became more excited about having a baby like any other soon-to-be mother. I painted a picture perfect pregnancy and delivery in my head, the one where the parents take maternity pictures, the nursery is complete, a safe and smooth delivery followed by a room of visitors, etc. I later found out that God's plan was nowhere near what I had envisioned in my mind.
Entering my third trimester, I noticed some body changes (swelling, chest pain, headaches). Because all of these could be associated with the timing of my pregnancy, I didn't think much of it.
Over time, my pregnancy worsened and it was taking a major toll on my mental, physical, and emotional health. My husband and I decided to discuss everything with our doctor at our next appointment, which was only about three days away.
I always looked forward to our doctors appointments. It was a chance to hear our baby's health and learn about how she was growing and progressing. This appointment was so much different.
In one month, I had gained over ten pounds, which was double what I gained in the other five months combined, my blood pressure was through the roof, and the protein in my urine was over seven times the diagnosis limit for preeclampsia.
I was admitted right away and quickly referred to the high risk doctor. I was monitored closely, dosed up on blood pressure medication, and hooked up to a magnesium drip but nothing seemed to help.
The third day of my hospital stay, my husband and I were informed that we would be transferred over to a larger hospital with a bigger NICU (that could sustain a baby under 28 weeks gestation, I was only 26) so that we could be in the same hospital as our child if and when we needed to deliver.
After being transferred and days of medicine, I found out that I had developed HELLP syndrome, which in short means that my brain started to swell and my liver started to shut down. My pregnancy was killing me and I started taking vital nutrients from my daughter, so it was decided that being pregnant and trying to allow her to grow was no longer a safe option.
On July 13th 2015, at 26 weeks and 5 days gestation, I delivered, by emergency c-section, our fragile 1 pound 15 ounce Emma Layne. My life was filled with joy and shattered with fear all at the same time.
We spent 76 very long days and sleepless nights at UKCH NICU. There were nights that I wouldn't leave her bedside until 4 a.m. There were days I would do kangaroo care for 5 hours straight.
I watched our sweet little girl fight for her life day in and day out, and although I KNEW my daughter was a strong fighter, I laid down each night with tear filled eyes, praying that we would meet the day where we could take her home.
I remember praying (constantly praying) to God. I prayed that he would heal her little body and allow her to grow and develop each day. And I also prayed that if he had different plans than my husband and I, that He would allow us to have smooth and painless days before he decided to call Emma home.
God listened to our prayers and we owe all of Emma triumphs and success to Him. He allowed her doctors and nurses the knowledge to help and heal our daughter. On September 23rd, after two and half months, intubation (3x), two spinal taps, eye exams, a number of EKG's and EEG's - we were able to bring our then 5lb 5oz chunk HOME!
Seven months later and Emma still continues to thrive. She is now a happy 15 pounder and has a personality that could make anyone smile.
Although our situation was not ideal, we have made the best out of Gods plan and we are lucky to have our daughter to share this crazy, beautiful life with. Being a mom has taught me about the important things in life and I wouldn't change my daughter for the world.