Welcome to the Little Heroes series! We feature babies and children here who have had a rough time at some point in their lives whether it be physical or emotional. Parents submit a story of what happened and how the child is doing now. Then we take some new photos for the family compliments of Patricia June Photography. This series is a great way to show support for these families- leave a comment on the blog to show you care! Share the link to the blog so that more eyes can see these children who are truly miracles, and more prayers can be said for them and their families.
This week we feature Lana. Doesn’t she just look like a fighter in the above photo!!!? We ventured to Soergel’s in Wexford for this session. Here is Lana’s story as told by Mom…
I found out I was pregnant in March 2013 with my third child. We were planning on a third but wanted to wait another year or so since our youngest was only 10 months old and our oldest was 3 1/2. After the initial shock wore off, we were extremely happy and decided to tell friends and family. Around my 12th week of pregnancy I started to bleed quite heavily. The doctors sent me emergently for an ultrasound. Surprisingly the baby was fine, but I had a large bleed called a sub-chorionic hemorrhage under my uterus. They said sub-chorionic hemmorhages were somewhat common in pregnancy but they usually see about a tablespoon amount of blood on an ultrasound, and I had over 1000mL (over a liter). At 21 weeks after my first hospital admission to Magee for severe bleeding, my regular OB doctors referred me to a high risk group of OB specialists. The doctors reviewed my ultrasounds and blood work and suggested for my safety that I chose to terminate the pregnancy. Without even a second thought I told them no! They then had me meet with neonatal doctors to prepare me for the chance of early labor and then started me on several medications to help mature the baby faster, just in case. On August 9th 2013, 25 weeks along in my pregnancy and after just being discharged from Magee for a second time for loss of blood, I was at home with my two other children when I began having strong and painful contractions. I phoned my husband at work, along with my mother and sister and told them all to come to the house immediately…something was wrong. My mother was the first one to reach the house, soon followed by my sister. My contractions were so close and severe that they had no choice but to call 911. Shortly after the paramedics showed up, so did my husband. In the ambulance on the way to Magee hospital, I delivered our 1lb 14oz baby girl, Lana Dawn. Looking down at her, I thought for sure she was gone. They rushed me into the ER triage where at that time my husband saw i had delivered the baby. They worked on Lana right beside me for what seemed like hours. Thinking the worst, I couldn’t even bear to look at her. One of the nurses holding my hand told me that she had a pulse and was now intubated. They let me hold her for several seconds before rushing her off to the NICU. Within 24 hrs Lana was extubated and placed on a different mode of assistance called nasal CPAP, to assist her with breathing. After a couple of days I was able to hold her against my chest for the first time. I’ve seen pictures and have heard other families’ stories about their preemie babies; but looking down at Lana , it was just so amazing and incredible how such a small life could live and survive outside the womb.
As most NICU babies do, Lana would have her good and bad days. She was being fed with my breast milk through a feeding tube in her mouth; increasing the amount every 3 days or so. Having two other children at home and a husband working full-time, it became physically and mentally exhausting going to Magee everyday (sometimes twice), not only for me but my other children. I had to make the decision to visit Lana every other day, sometimes every 3 days. But between myself, my husband, mother and sister, we made sure Lana was being visited and held everyday by one of us.
At around 31 weeks Lana was taken off the C-PAP machine and placed on oxygen (nasal cannula). Several days later, Lana’s oxygen levels began dropping. They did a chest X-ray and an Echocardiogram and found out that Lana had moderate/severe pulmonary hypertension, which means that her heart was working extra hard to help the lungs oxygenate her body. They had to put her back on C-PAP to help rest her heart for several more weeks. A repeat echo was done about 5 weeks later and showed only mild pulmonary hypertension. This was great news! The next day they took her off the C-PAP and placed her back on the nasal cannula. They also moved her feeding tube from her mouth to her nose and began teaching her to bottle feed. On the first attempt Lana drank over 1/2 the bottle. The nurses and doctors were all amazed considering this is the biggest obstacle for preemies to overcome before being discharged. Within a week, Lana was taking all her feedings via the bottle and her feeding tube was removed! Finally plans for discharge were in the works. On November 18th, after 102 days in the NICU, we were finally able to bring Lana home! She came home on a heart monitor and oxygen. After only 2 months at home, the doctors said she was able to come off all equipment.
Lana is now 11 months old, 16lbs and doing absolutely amazing. She is the most laid back, cool, calm and content baby there is. We have therapy come to the house weekly to work on developmental skills with her. She will continue to have follow up appointments for her heart and eyes. But right now she is doing better than anyone could have ever imagined or expected.
Even though the pregnancy, the delivery, and the 102 days in the NICU were overwhelming and stressful… To think Lana wouldn’t even be here if I had listened to the doctors suggestion of terminating the pregnancy… Lana is truly a miracle. Our little angel.
If you know anyone who would be a candidate for this series please have parents email story submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for commenting and sharing!!