This week’s Featured Mom is Kayce, whose story will appear in two parts. First, we’ll meet Kayce and her family, including husband Ian, her kitties, and Kaiya, who made her entrance into the world unexpectedly at 28 weeks gestation, in a guest post. And tomorrow, we’ll share more of Kayce’s story in an interview about what it’s like to be not just a preemie parent, but a preemie parent who really knows the challenges that come with prematurity.
In the time before Kaiya joined us, I was what you would call a bit of a workaholic. I typically held at least two jobs as a Physical Therapist, on top of all my side ventures such as photography and assorted home improvement projects. My husband, Ian, and I have dated since college and in the past four years, we have experienced some of life’s biggest milestones, buying a house, getting married, and now having our first child. We have the love and support of two feline friends, Demie Cat, age 18, and Millie Cat, age 3. Ian’s family is local, living in Ipswich MA, and my family lives just outside of Washington D.C. in Fairfax, VA.
Ian and I were in discussions about potentially adding to our family with a new puppy when we found out we were pregnant. We thought it best to hold off on the new four-legged friend, deciding that we could wait and be those cool parents that get their kids a puppy later in life. My pregnancy was typical and uncomplicated, except for one trip to the ER while on vacation due to some bleeding at 14 weeks. Once given the okay, I resumed my normal day-to-day activities and work schedule.
The week of October 22, 2012 – I began to notice that Kaiya was not kicking as hard or often as she typically did during the night. My husband and I poked at my belly to illicit her response. She kicked back, as she typically did, but still I was worried. I called my OB/GYN on Wednesday to pop in for a check-up and have them use the Doppler to hear her heartbeat – just to make sure everything was huncky dory. I rescheduled my Thursday patients so that I could work a half-day, and so that I could make my OB/GYN appointment at noon. No one suspected anything was wrong as I came into the office. The staff was lighthearted and relaxed – they didn’t even collect my urine. The cold blue ultrasound gel was smeared onto my belly and within seconds a good strong heartbeat was heard. The nurse looked at me and said, “Everything sounds great with the baby. She is good and strong.” They proceeded to take my vital signs, temperature, hear rate, and blood pressure. This is when the story shifts from all sunshine and flowers to grave concern. My blood pressure was 160/85 mmHG, which is very high for me – my typical reading was 108/60 mmHG. The covering OB/GYN, yes… covering OB, lest I forget to mention my OB was away for vacation, came in and told me to walk across the street and go up to the Labor and Delivery floor at Beverly Hospital to be admitted for observation.
Shortly after being admitted and strapped into the fetal monitoring system, the attending physician came in to tell me the following…
“So you’re done. You can call work and tell them you will not be coming back.”
Now I, feeling fine still and having literally just come from work, said, “ No problem, I am done for the day anyhow.”
To which he replied, “No, you are done for the rest of your pregnancy. If we are lucky you will just remain on bed rest for the next 10-12 weeks.”
My husbands response to this prognosis was, “That’s fine but we are going to need a prescription for a Posey vest and some Haldol.” For those of you who don’t know, a Posey vest is a physical restraint and well Haldol is a medication often considered a chemical restraint.
I was placed on strict bed rest and only allowed to get up to go to the bathroom. By Thursday night, I was sick. Pre-ecclampsia had reared its ugly head and had begun to take its toll on my body. Friday morning I was transferred via ambulance into Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston. As soon as we got into our hospital room we were bombarded by multiple clinical teams. The high risk OB team, the neonatology team, the anesthesiologists, and the nurses all came in requesting that I sign the consent forms for any and every possible situation that could come next. All while, my nurse was trying to do her initial assessment and get me settled. By 5pm on Friday, my test results came back showing that my organ systems were on the verge of decline, and potentially heading towards a systematic failure. I was given magnesium, a horrible drug that burns as it is pushed thru the IV line, to protect Kaiya’s brain and to keep me from having seizures.
At 7pm, they did another ultrasound (my third of the day) to check my baby’s movements. As I watched the monitor, which typically was a joyous opportunity for me to peek at my little one, a large knot began to develop in my gut. My spirited little womb ninja was not practicing her sick-kick and round houses as per usual. She was now just floating with only one or two notable movements.
I began to cry knowing that we were about to become separated. The next few hours seemed to transpire at light speed and in slow motion both at the same time… I grabbed my belly and told Kaiya, “Now listen little girl, I need you to scream when you come out so I know that you are ok.” We were wheeled into the operating room and the emergency c-section began. Shortly after the first incision, as Adele’s “Someone like you” played in the background, I heard three high-pitched cries. My daughter was delivered. She was quickly intubated and stabilized by the neonatology team. She was briefly brought behind the curtain for me to catch a glimpse and then she was whisked away up to the NICU.
Stay tuned for Pt. II of our interview with Kayce… and some pictures!
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