March 11, 2005, started out very to be a very typical day. My children went about their normal routines, my husband went to work and I did my daily tasks. Suddenly, my water broke and I felt pain in my stomach. I knew this was not normal, because I was only 24 weeks pregnant. After arriving at the hospital, the pain grew more intense. I had a placental abruption, and I was rushed into the emergency room. I was anesthetized and given an emergency c-section.
When I awoke, my family and close friends stood around my hospital bed. I was not aware of the status of the baby but was quite sure she did not make it. I was told the baby was in the NICU.
Someone from the NICU came into the room and told me of my baby’s condition. She was 1 pound 5 ounces, and the next 72 hours were critical to her survival. I could not comprehend what was happening, because I was still on so many medications.
My first visit with my daughter, Iviee, was on her second day of life. I had never seen anything so sad. I felt helpless. I wanted to hold, touch or kiss her but none of this was possible.
She remained in the hospital for almost 4 ½ months. During this period she experienced what many typical extreme preemies endure during their lengthy hospital stay (Chronic Lung Disease (CLD), grade 2-3 Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH), Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), 19 blood transfusions, and an inguinal hernia). She was also on the oscillator and ventilator for over 2 months. This was a difficult time for our family but we were able to hold together and take care of each other.
Then the big day came...Iviee came home!
Of course she was followed by a tank of oxygen and an apnea monitor. She remained on both throughout her first year. She started First Steps therapies within a month of her discharge. She had weekly occupational, physical, developmental, and speech therapies until she turned three. She also had many medical appointments with specialists during the first year.
Iviee is is currently in the 2nd grade. She loves reading, gymnastics, singing, and playing the guitar. Iviee has mild cerebral palsy and Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL). She is doing
well. She has blossomed so much from that fragile baby I once knew.
I am so thankful to have Iviee in my life.
|Iviee (fourth from left) and her sisters hang out with Notre Dame softball team volunteers at the September 2014 Riley NICU reunion|