Roxy & National Prematurity Awareness Day

17 November 2010
Sam is one of my readers.  She sent me an email asking me if I would mind helping her this week and when she told me why, I was MORE than happy to lend her my {and your} ears.  Please take just a minute to read Roxy's story as told by her Mama, Sam. 

And Sam?  Thank you for letting me be a small part in helping you tell your story.

A little background: During a routine checkup, the doctors found out I had developed preeclampsia. I was given steroid shots to strengthen Roxy’s lungs and we were told that we would try to hold out 48 hours before delivery. I was already having contractions and Roxy was in position to deliver. About twelve hours later, I was wheeled away for an emergency C-section because Roxy was in distress and my kidneys were starting to decrease in urine output.

Our miracle baby Roxy was born 11 weeks premature. She weighed in at a whopping 1 pound, 9 ounces and was a mere 14 inches long (She was estimated to weigh approximately 2 pounds, 10 ounces). She was born with a head full of black hair and immediately whisked away from us to be taken care of. For us, the delivery room was silent - no newborn screams filling the air - and my husband got to cut Roxy's umbilical cord and then watch as the doctors began performing resuscitation on her.

We weren't in a normal situation where the waiting grandparents could see the newborn in the nursery. Everyone was in the room with me after delivery awaiting the anxious arrival of Roxy. We were told that she was too small to stay in the nursery at the hospital we were at. She would have had to weigh in as expected to be big enough. She was being transferred to a bigger university hospital with a better equipped Level 3 NICU. Although the idea of transferring me to the other hospital was tossed around, it was decided that it would be best for me to stay where I was. This was on Saturday.

What seemed like hours and hours later, they finally wheeled Roxy into my room so that I could see her for the first time and the only time before they transported her.

My little micropreemie came into my room in an incubator and was strapped in for transport with straps that looked to be as big as she was. She was on a ventilator. She was screaming to let us know she wasn't happy and her screams could barely be heard - her voice was as small as she was. We spent about ten minutes with her adoring her and I was able to touch her teeny hand. Her entire hand wasn't as big as the last joint of my index finger. Then they wheeled her away and it was almost two more days before I saw her again.

The following Monday, Labor Day, was the first time I was allowed to leave my hospital to go to hers and visit. Learning the NICU was an event all in itself. Roxy was only allowed to have two visitors at a time, one of which had to be a parent. Eventually, this was limited even further to only parents and biological grandparents. We had to stop at a reception desk and be buzzed back into the nurseries. We were only allowed to visit during certain hours - every three with an hour break in between. We learned how to scrub up as we went in. The first time you walk up to your baby's incubator, you see tubes and wires and hear machines beeping and groaning.

Its scary. Every little bleep had me looking at Roxy's monitor to see if it was her.

That was our life for almost the entire time Roxy was in the NICU. Roxy spent a total of 67 days in the NICU. We did have several scares. Roxy developed a staph infection soon after being admitted into the hospital. Then they thought she had developed another one.  After that they thought she developed NEC (which is potentially fatal to premature infants), she was routinely checked for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) which is common in premature infants and would affect her eyesight. She had several ultrasounds of her brain to make sure she didn't have a hemorrhage (intraventricular hemorrhages can cause several problems in premature infants from minor to severe) and generally made sure that anything that could possibly be wrong with her, wasn't.

The NICU is a rollercoaster ride. It has ups and it has several downs.

She was transferred to a Level 2 Nursery before she was discharged. We were in that nursery for just about two weeks before Roxy came home. That was the nursery where she was discharged from her incubator into a heated bed (her "big girl bed"). Roxy was discharged on November 11, 2009. It was the best day ever for me. It was frightening, but joyful!

Since Roxy's been home, we've only had a few scares. We stayed quarantined for most of the winter. But we've been so very fortunate. We've had an ultrasound of her head and her back to make sure there were no neurological complications and that her Grade I IVF (brain hemorrhage) left no lasting damage. Both came back perfect. Each trip to the NICU Grad Clinic and pediatrician are good. At the last NICU checkup they indicated that she appears advanced for her adjusted age.

She took off crawling and jabbering just before her first birthday. She's a happy and healthy baby and for that we are thankful. Now, at 14 months, she's walking and talking. She has about eight teeth in various stages of coming in. She's got attitude, she's got spunk, and most importantly, she always has a smile for everyone.

Not all babies are as lucky as Roxy. For that reason, we have joined with the March of Dimes to help all babies have a chance...for survival, for health, for a good beginning.

March of Dimes has a mission that all babies will be born healthy. Their focus is not only on premature babies like Roxy, but rather all babies. We’re fighting for those who are too small to fight for themselves. Please check out the March of Dimes website or join the cause by creating a team for your local March.

Our fight will not be over until all babies are born healthy!


Samantha said...

Thanks, Michelle! I appreciate you lending me your and your readers' ears.


Elise said...

Your daughter is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing your story and your cause.

Missy said...

WoW! What an amazing story and beautiful baby!

Just A Normal Mom said...

Sweet, beautiful baby. And a story that brought tears to my eyes. Healthy babies is a great cause!

Michelle said...

Finn was born at 10 lb 12 oz... he looked like a 3 month old and look at tiny little Roxy in her car seat. It is just incredible to me how tiny she was.

MoDLin said...

Michelle, thanks so much for sharing Sam's story. Roxy was so small and had so many challenges to overcome, but look at her now! (Love the purple!)
Thanks for this post and for helping to support the March of Dimes.

Morgan @ said...

What a wonderful story, thank you for sharing. Being 8 months pregnant this hits close to home.

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