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Bloggers, Babies and Bonds

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Yesterday, while searching through the blogs on blogger, I came across one of the most compelling blogs that I’ve read. It’s the story of a family that is now going through some of the same things we’ve experienced in these past few years. They have a beautiful toddler and the mom gave birth, by emergency cesarean section, to very premature twins about five months ago. They lost their son. Their daughter survived and has been in the NICU since birth. The precious baby is scheduled to have open heart surgery in five days.

I couldn’t help but be pulled back into our own situation that began five and a half years ago with the birth of our precious grandson Isaiah. Isaiah was born with herpes. My daughter had shown no symptoms and was not thought to be infected even though the birth father, now ex-husband, was.

Isaiah was beautiful. He had a head full of black curly hair and perfectly formed features. When he was about two weeks old we were told that he would not live with us here on Earth. The insidious virus had traveled through his spinal fluid into his brain and had destroyed all but the most basic of functions. The child was not put down; he was never without the comfort of human touch. He was passed to one pair of waiting arms to another until the evening the angels came for him when he was exactly 12 weeks old.

Our Angel, Isaiah

When the men in the black van came for him on that darkest of October nights my daughter carefully placed our angel into his car seat. She swaddled him with his blanket and carried him to the van where she secured his car seat into the seat that would carry him away. The following days are a blur of people, emotion, and despair.

Somehow my daughter was able to pull herself up enough to re-marry. In 2006 she found out she was pregnant again. It was a boy. We were overjoyed! That joy soon turned to fear as complications threatened the life of both our daughter and the baby she carried. In an emergency C-section Josiah was born at 28 weeks and whisked into the NICU.

The NICU became our home. We grew to love the nurses, they cared for our tiny 3 pound miracle and they cared for us. The day they listed Josiah as a “feeder and grower” was a triumphant and joyous day. We watched as the tubes were pulled and the baby began to eat on his own. The tiny one was released when he was 38 weeks old. He had none of the usual problems of a baby born at such an early age.

Josiah at three days

Josiah now

Soon after Josiah turned one Karli came to me crying. She was pregnant again. This time she was sent to a high risk specialist. Once more complications set in that threatened her life and the life of the still forming Anna-Grace. The contractions had started when she was three months pregnant. They were putting stress on the unhealed incision of her C-Section.

She was put on bed rest and her father and I learned how to give her weekly progesterone injections to ward off premature labor. At 26 weeks she began to bleed. The baby was in distress. An emergency C-Section had to be done once more to try to save both lives. We were told to prepare for the worst. The odds of having one severely premature baby not only surviving but excelling were against us. The odds of two were unheard of. We were bluntly told that the baby would die.

When the fragile princess was cut from my daughter’s belly she was purple and limp. I stayed with Karli while her husband went into the room where the team was working feverishly to save the life of our granddaughter. When I was allowed into the room minutes later I was overcome by fear. I didn’t think she would survive. She was so much smaller than Josiah had been. Her skin was translucent and the ventilator engulfed her. During the next twenty-four hours we made all of the phone calls. We prepared to lose this precious life.

Then there was a sign, a sign of hope and not of fear. The baby began to breathe on her own. The ventilator was removed. She was given additional oxygen to help her still forming lungs. Suddenly the corner turned and as if she was communicating with us the two pound Princess propped her foot up on the side of the isolette, the very isolette that Josiah had grown in. No matter how tightly the nurses wrapped her she would free her foot and promptly rest it where she wanted. This child was a fighter.

Soon after she was released we were told that she was in heart failure. The only way to try to save her life was with open heart surgery. The surgery was quickly scheduled and the dying baby’s heart was stopped and drained of blood to repair the large hole that was slowly killing her.

That was over a year ago. On the 12th day of April, 2010 Anna-Grace Elizabeth will turn 2 years old. She is the picture of health. She is what the March of Dimes works for, she is what the hospital hoped for and she is what we prayed for.

A fighter

Anna-Grace and Auntie Nikki

Anna-Grace now

On the same day that our Anna-Grace turns 2 there will be another Princess undergoing open heart surgery. There will be another family filled with uncertainty. They will pace the floors as we did. They will cry as we did. They will hope as we did. This time in spirit we will be with them. We will re-live our journey and pray for them as they continue on theirs. We will not rest easy until this woman, known only to us by her blogs, writes again.

I feel a bond to this special family, family that I’ve never seen except in posted pictures. They will forever be in my thoughts and they have forever touched my life.

Parenting Your Premature Baby and Child: The Emotional Journey The Premature Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Premature Baby from Birth to Age One (Sears, William, Sears Parenting Library.) Preemies: The Essential Guide for Parents of Premature Babies


Tiffany April 7, 2010 at 10:24 PM  

this gives me hope, thank you!

The Bipolar Diva April 13, 2010 at 11:53 PM  

Tiffany, there's always hope. Ayden is a fighter!

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