Mom to Alfonso (Alfy) Anthony

Born into Heaven April 6, 2012

Omaha, Nebraska

From Shannon’s blog post, Alfonso (Alfy):

It took me almost a full month to type Alfy’s story. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012, I had an appointment with my OB.  I was 28 weeks pregnant.  I remember going to work that day and being so excited for my afternoon appointment, for two reasons.  1) I couldn’t wait to hear Alfy’s (note that at this time we still referred to him as “the baby” because we did not know the sex) heartbeat again and to see how we were progressing.  2) We were doing staff interviews for our summer employees and the appointment meant we had to end interviews early that day.  I love my job and even doing the interviews, but interviewing approximately 70 college students in the matter of 5 days can be a bit overwhelming and tiresome at times, especially when you are 28 weeks pregnant.  I even missed an interview that afternoon due to a post office/lunch run with one of my hallway friends.  Either way, I was excited for my appointment, to learn a little bit more about my kiddo. [Read more…]

Mom to Sofia Rose
October 12th, 2010
Omaha, Nebraska

We found out on February 3, 2010 that we were expecting with a due date of 10-10-10.  It was such an exciting day.  We waited for the “safe” months to pass before telling family & friends our great news.  At approximately 12 weeks we spilled the beans and everyone was surprised & excited.   

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Mom to Caleb Anthony
Born too early on April 12th, 2010
Omaha, NE

I’ve always wanted to be a mother. When I was little, I used to get in trouble for “mothering” my little sisters and brother too much. Other kids wanted to be astronauts, or police officers, or firemen…I wanted to be a mom.

When I met my husband, he didn’t want kids. After several years of dating, he came around to the side that he might…someday…be okay with kids. We got married in October 2008. He became more and more comfortable with the idea of a baby, and I managed to convince him to start trying in the spring of 2010. A little after that, we discovered that we were getting the chance to go to Italy in October 2009, and somehow we decided to start trying while on our trip. I still remember the time when I turned to him in bed, and said, “Hey…you wouldn’t want to work on it in Italy, would you?” His response of “Sure” made my jaw drop. I said, “Um, you know what I mean by working on it, right? You know what I’m talking about?” He laughed and said “Yes, I know.” SQUEAL! We were off!

We didn’t get pregnant in Italy, but I found out I was pregnant on December 29, 2009. I told Chris by putting a picture of the positive test inside a video game case. We were both beyond excited.

My excitement soon took a downward turn when at 6 weeks, I experienced a stabbing pain in my side. Since I hadn’t had my first doctor appointment yet, the midwife we were seeing advised us to go to the ER just to be sure. The doctor there examined me and saw some blood around the cervix, and told me I was probably miscarrying. I was devastated. They did an ultrasound, and after a few minutes I saw the flickering of our little jelly bean’s heartbeat.

It was fairly uneventful after that. I continued to have bleeding off and on, but the baby’s heartbeat continued to be strong and our NT scan was perfect. Everything was looking great. We told our families on Valentine’s Day, and they were ecstatic and so excited.

We scheduled the BIG ultrasound for April 20.

On April 5, I went to the bathroom and felt something like a balloon pop, and a gush of red water came out. I was terrified. Chris convinced me to look for the heartbeat with our home doppler, and I was able to find it. That reassured me a bit, so I waited until the morning to call the midwive’s office. They got me in right away, did the ferning test, and told me that it wasn’t my water breaking and to just take it easy. But the continued bleeding was worrying the doctor. She moved my ultrasound up from the 20th to the 9th.

I wouldn’t make it that far. In the early hours of April 7th, when I was 18w5d pregnant, I woke up in the middle of the night to water gushing. I found the heartbeat with the doppler again, but I couldn’t contain my fears this time, so we went to the ER. Once there, I passed a huge blood clot (larger than a golf ball) and kept bleeding. They did an ultrasound. I was able to see the screen during it, and I knew my baby was in trouble. There was no black surrounding him (though we didn’t know it was a him yet). The doctor told us that I had zero fluid left and that I should be induced. I texted my family and best friends that we were losing the baby. I couldn’t stop crying. Eventually a second doctor – an MFM – came and talked to us. She was more optimistic but still presented the grim facts: only 1-2% of babies in this situation make it. She ran over our options with us, and we decided to wait it out. If I could make it to 24 weeks without delivering, the baby would have a chance. I would be admitted to the hospital with the goal of making it 48 hours, and then I would be discharged and on strict bedrest at home until I reached 24 weeks or delivered. At 24 weeks, I’d be readmitted to the hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy.

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Mom to Olivia Margaret
November 20th, 2009-November 23rd, 2009
Omaha, Nebraska

I could probably write pages and pages about Olivia’s story (I guess that’s why I blog about it, ha!). She was born on Friday, November 20th, when I was about 34.5 weeks pregnant. At my 34 week appointment a few days earlier, my OB said that my fundal measurement was a little smaller than it should be. She recommended that we go to the perinatologist’s office to have them do a growth ultrasound “sometime within the next two weeks”, just to make sure everything was okay. My fiancé and I were extremely excited that we were going to get an extra ultrasound, because that meant extra pictures of Livie’s sweet face, so we made the appointment for two days later.
The moment the ultrasound technician turned on the monitor, I could tell something was wrong. She was the same technician who did our “big” ultrasound where we found out that Olivia was an Olivia, and not a Noah. She had been funny, and laughed and joked with us about pregnancy. This time, she was completely silent. After a moment or two, she said that she needed to go get the doctor, and she left the room. I looked at Kurt, completely terrified, and he tried to assure me that the doctor would just say that whatever the technician saw would be no big deal. I think he believed that, but I had a bad, bad feeling. The perinatologists came rushing into the room, and said “I’ve been watching this scan from my office on my own computer, and there are some very concerning findings” – my heart dropped to the pit of my stomach. The next thing she said went something like “There is water surrounding Baby’s heart, and she has no amniotic fluid around her”. I think she said a few more sentences, but I was in such shock that I can’t remember. Then, she very quickly told us that we were going to deliver this baby by cesarean, and a team of people would need to examine the baby very quickly. All I said was “Wait… we’re doing this…. TODAY?!”. She said yes, and that she didn’t even want to wait for the Labor and Delivery team to come get me with the wheelchair, she wanted to walk me up to the 9th floor herself. Within 5 minutes I was changed into a hospital gown, and laying in a hospital bed in a recovery room getting my blood drawn and IVs put in.
Kurt stayed out in the hallway for a moment to call our parents and tell them what was going on. After that, he was with me for every second, even though technically he wasn’t supposed to be in the room while the anesthesiologist started my spinal block. Everything went so fast, and within 5 minutes of the block kicking in, Olivia was born. She let out two little cries, and I was able to quickly kiss her head before they whisked her away down to the NICU. Kurt was able to go with her, and got to watch while they connected her to a breathing tube and heart monitor, and a thousand other things.
The next 24 hours were full of ups and downs. No one had any idea if things were going to be okay, but we were all holding out hope. It turned out, that at 2lbs 11oz, Olivia was about half the size she should have been for her gestational age. She had fluid around her heart, which corrected itself, and her blood wasn’t clotting. There was also fluid/blood in and around her brain. After she was given plasma and several blood transfusions, her blood began to clot, and the NICU team was hopeful that it would stop the bleeding in and around her brain as well. Unfortunately, it didn’t.
Saturday morning, Kurt and I had a long talk with Olivia’s neonatologist, who explained all of these things to us. There was another scan set up for the next morning, and since all of the blood products they were giving her had been working successfully and her blood was clotting, they were hoping that it would work in her brain too, and the bleeding would at least stop getting worse. We were asked to start thinking about what we would like to have happen if in fact the results of the scan showed that the bleeding was getting worse. Draining the blood that had already accumulated was not an option, the neurosurgeons looked at Olivia and said that since she was so tiny and young, draining the blood would just make her even more sick than she already was. Basically we were told that if the blood kept coming, there wouldn’t be anything that they could do. Kurt and I talked about how we have to be optimistic for our little girl, but we both agreed pretty quickly that if it came down to it, we would not want to keep Livie on life support. I think both of us felt that day like we knew what was going to happen when those test results came back, but we kind of pushed it out of our heads as much as possible.

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