In December of 2014, I decided to stop taking birth control pills, as my husband and I were ready to start a family. That's when the madness started. My doctors started sending me to preconception doctors to see if it was okay for me to have a baby due to my diagnosis of Sickle Cell. A doctor in particular told me that he couldn't tell me whether to try or not, but told me a lot of possible risks that I would have while being pregnant, and a lot of terrifying risks that could happen to the baby. After hearing the news, needless to say, we were terrified to even try. However, my husband and I decided to continue to depend on Jesus, and made the decision to discontinue birth control. In March of 2015, I found out we were pregnant. Everything was going great!! I didn't have any morning sickness and my Sickle Cell was doing great. Fast forward to June of 2015, I had my first bad pain crisis while pregnant. I wasn't getting enough oxygen, and consequently was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension. I was told to come off of my job, and made to wear oxygen 24/7. Thereafter, everything with my pregnancy started going downhill. Every time I would go to the doctor my son would show us how strong he was by constantly moving. He always had a strong heartbeat, but the doctors were determined to diagnosis him with a chromosomal disorder.
In August of 2015, I went to the doctor for my second bad pain crisis, and didn't leave until a week after I had my son, as I ended up in ICU (intensive care unit) because my body wasn't getting enough oxygen. My oxygen saturations were down to 84 percent while on 10 Liters of oxygen. I continued receiving the 10 Liters of oxygen in addition to a blood transfusion for 48 hours, finally bringing my oxygen levels up. I was finally able to get out of ICU. I'll never forget, on August 7, 2015 I was scheduled to go home, but I had to do a sonogram first to make sure our son was okay. During the sonogram, the sonographer said she’d seen a period where the baby wasn't getting enough oxygen, because I only had one artery and one vein in the umbilical cord. Although two different doctors took a look previously and never saw a period where our baby wasn't receiving the oxygen he needed, the doctors still decided to move forward with delivery within the next few days. Their explanation was that I was already super high risk, and if our son ended up in distress they were not going to risk my life to save my baby. They refused to do an Emergency Caesarean on me because they knew for sure I wouldn't make it!! Therefore, they decided to deliver our baby on Monday, August 10, 2015, and gave me NO hope of our baby surviving. They felt the chances were so low of him surviving that they didn't even want me to name him!! I spent the weekend in deep prayer with my God, and I told Him I know it was ONLY Him that got us this far, and that I know without a doubt that He’d given us this baby. I prayed that it was in His will for us to keep this baby here so we could watch him grow up! By Monday, God gave me complete peace and I knew my baby and I were going to be fine.
On Monday August 10, I was prepped for the surgery at 7:00 AM that morning, but EliJah wasn’t born until 10:10 AM at 26 weeks gestation. Doctors had told us that they’d take their time, and move along with things slowly. When they said SLOW they meant really slow. A 30 minute delivery and process took three hours, as they were trying to ensure that baby and I would both be fine. We both made it through the Cesarean just fine, but that was only the beginning of our story. We ended up staying in the NICU with EliJah for 15 weeks, 105 days. At the beginning, NICU doctors told us he’d be on the ventilator for a very long time. But, let me tell you what my God did—our baby was only on the ventilator for about 20 hours—not even a whole day!!!
He was teeny, tiny because he wasn't getting all the nutrients he needed due to the umbilical cord only having one vein and one artery. But, he was a strong, feisty, 1 pound and 4 ounce little boy!!!
He did great while in the NICU. He fought with all his might, and had gotten all the way down to the lowest level of the Nasal INV oxygen he could be on when they decided to try High Flow oxygen in the next couple of days. Well one October day, EliJah decided he was tired of getting all that water in his nose and decided to stop breathing on us. Medical staff had to do CPR and use the defibrillator to get him back. They finally got him back and he ended up having to be on the ventilator a whole week because he kept getting mad, and extubating himself! Well, not long after that he was moved to high flow oxygen and they started giving him the bottle. He was having a hard time trying to suck, swallow, and breathe after being feed through a feeding tube for two whole months. It was a struggle for him to get the process down, but after a while he finally got it. He was moved to regular oxygen, and it was getting close to his discharge date.
Once he made progress with the sucking, swallowing, and breathing during eating they wanted him off the oxygen completely. They were ready for him to go home. Then we encountered a setback. Every time he would eat his oxygen saturations would drop and he just couldn't keep them up while eating. Thus, they were going to send him home on oxygen for feeding time only. But, all of a sudden he stopped eating like he should. Finally, I started going in the NICU to feed him at every feeding. I was able to get him to drink the necessary amount of milk he needed to drink to go home and keep his saturations up all at the same time. We ended up going home without oxygen after about three whole days of having to be in there 24/7 to feed him. But, of course I didn't mind. It was just very exhausting for me because I was still recovering from the pregnancy and delivery, and I was still really sick.
Nonetheless, praise the Lord I got to bring my son home with no medical equipment. He just turned 2 years old on August 10th, and he’s doing great! He doesn't have any chromosomal disorders or any genetic disorders Praise God. He's perfect and definitely perfect for us.