After years of trying to have a baby, my husband and I found out we were pregnant in June of 2015. We were beyond excited! I had to go to the doctor a lot because of my age and blood pressure – I was over 35 with high blood pressure.
In September, we found out 2 things: one, that we were having a baby girl, and, two, that I needed a stitch in my cervix because it was shortened and would not hold our baby much longer in the state that it was in.
I was put on bed rest in the beginning of October and was told that I would probably not last full term; I was due Feb. 16, 2016. In mid-October after a doctor’s visit I was admitted to the hospital with pre-eclampsia. I was terrified. Doctors and specialists were coming in explaining everything that could go wrong, and be wrong with a baby born before 30 weeks. I was just under 23 weeks when I was admitted and had to sign a paper stating that I wanted my baby to be revived if she wasn’t breathing when she was born, which at this point they didn’t think she would be.
I knew I had to stay in there until she was born so I was prepared to spend the holidays in the hospital while Taylor “cooked” some more.
I was getting ready for my morning routine a month later and felt a sharp pain and got sick and dizzy. I was rushed to Labor and Delivery where I stayed for the next 24 hours while they monitored the baby.
The next day they were getting me ready to go back to my regular room when they noticed the baby’s heart rate drop. Hooked back up to the monitor I figured that they would watch me another night and then send me back. Wrong.
At 2 a.m. on Nov. 13, the nurses rushed in and started getting me ready for a C-section. I was losing fluid and Taylor’s heart rate kept falling. I had no time to think, but I had plenty of time to panic and be scared. I was taken to the operating room and received an epidural.
My husband was on his way, but was not going to be there in time so my sister was going to come in and watch my daughter being born with me. That all changed when the epidural didn’t take. There was no time to try again, so they put me under and I missed my daughter’s birth.
I found out that no one was allowed back with me because they had to put me under. I woke up not knowing if she was alive, if she was ok or who was there. I can honestly say I would not wish that feeling on my worst enemy.
Taylor was taken to Akron Children’s Hospital, was alive and doing as good as could be expected for being born at 26 weeks. I got to see her for the first time, that I remember (apparently I saw her before they took her to Children’s but I don’t remember) the next day.
Akron Children’s NICU was not what I was expecting. Taylor had her own room, had a chair and a sofa, a Tv and a bathroom for visitors – all in the room with her.
I don’t know what I was expecting to see when I looked at Taylor but I was not prepared at all. She was the smallest thing I had ever seen! She was born 14 weeks early, weighing 1 lb 6 oz and was 12 inches long. She was in an isolette with blue lights on her, tubes all over her and little shades on her to protect her eyes. It didn’t feel real. I felt like I was living in someone else’s shoes. The smallest diaper they had was huge on her. She was a fighter from the beginning though.
The nurse that was in her room at the time, helped me understand everything that was going on. She explained things in terms that my husband and I understood and always made sure we were up to date on everything going on. Actually, all the doctors and nurses there did that. Nothing we ever asked was silly to them. They made sure we knew everything that was going on. They were patient in explaining things to us. I don’t think I could have asked for a better place for my miracle to be in!
Two days after she was born she was breathing on her own! They continued to give her medicines and vitamins to help her grow and little by little she gained weight.
I went back to work 2 weeks after I had her in order to save some time for when she got to come home. Nobody there made me feel like a bad mom for leaving her. All the doctors and nurses made sure I knew that I could call any time – day or night – and I did just that. No matter how often or what time it was that I called, everyone was very welcoming and seemed like that were happy to talk to me and tell me all about how good she was doing.
She got somewhat of a reputation among the staff as the RockStar! She was doing so well. We still had a long way to go, she was so little, but she was good.
They explained testing to check for bleeding on the brain and what to expect. Her brain bleed grade was zero!
After hearing from the doctors at the other hospital of what to expect and what the quality of life would be for a baby born before 28-30 weeks of gestation, we were worried. But the staff at Children’s reassured me that every baby is different and we will just have to wait and see how Taylor does.
If my husband and I could not be there for something they made sure to call us and tell us what was going on. They explained things, sometimes, over and over again so all of her visitors could understand too.
Christmas was a little rough on my family not having Taylor there, but I can’t explain how happy we were to see what a big deal everyone makes about Christmas at the hospital! Santa even came to see Taylor and brought her a gift!
The first of the year was time for Taylor to get in gear; her feeds got increased almost every day. She even started to take a bottle! Again, the nurses were there every step of the way, showing us how to make sure she is eating, how to make sure she is safe while eating, and what to look for when she is done (in our case, she would just fall asleep).
After 70 days in the NICU we got the best news – the nurse called me at work and said it was time to bring a car seat in! We all know what that means! I started crying before I even got off the phone with the nurse.
We got to take our happy, healthy baby girl home on Jan. 21 — just about 3 weeks before her due date. She weighed in at a whopping 4 lbs 8oz when we took her home.
I just can’t say enough good things about everyone that we have encountered at Akron Children’s. Not only in the NICU, but the specialists, the pediatricians, all the way to the cafeteria workers who always put a smile on our faces. I don’t know where our little miracle baby would be without the guidance and support that Akron Children’s Hospital has to offer. They really do make a difference.
My husband and I were terrified first-time parents of a 26 weeker and they basically held our hands and helped us through everything. Every night as we were leaving we would tell each other how lucky we are to live this close to a place like Children’s.
Now, Taylor Grace is 9 months old, weighs a little over 13 lbs, crawls all over the place and tries to talk. She is our Rockstar! It’s so nice to be able to have all of her doctors on the same page. From the developmental doctors to the pediatricians, they are all Akron Children’s. They continue to hold our hand and help our miracle continue to shine.