The Birth Story of Kiley Rose
(my miracle baby)
I cannot express in words how grateful I am to be sitting here writing this birth story. It was a long road here but it has a happy ending and for that I feel blessed. I am the mother to a beautiful preemie baby girl who stole my heart the moment I became pregnant with her. In the words of my grandmother Kiley is “small but mighty”. Once you read her birth story you will understand why we say that.
We were told to wait 3 months before trying to have another baby after the ectopic. I also learned at that time that it could take months or even perhaps years before we would get pregnant again due to me only having one tube and some already pre existing fertility issues. You can only imagine my sadness. Here I was mourning the loss of my baby and at the same time hearing that my dreams of having children were slowly becoming complicated by circumstance. I was determined to remain hopeful despite the news we were given, I just wasn’t ready to give up.
I remember standing in line at the dollar store, yet again I was buying a pregnancy test, my husband once made the comment that we should buy stock in them for as much as we purchased them. I didn’t even tell anyone that I had suspected that I was pregnant at this point I had been through enough disappointment to get my hopes up too quickly. I remember I came home and all I could think about was taking the test, so I went into the bathroom shut the door, peed on the stick and waited. When I saw the positive sign I think I stood there in disbelief. I had this huge wave of excitement and relief and then fear and concern. That’s the emotions most everyone has after you suffer the loss of a pregnancy, every pregnancy after that you are so guarded and consistently worried that something might go wrong. I had always wanted to come up with some clever way to tell my husband that we were once again expecting but that whole plan went out the window, I rushed out of the bathroom with the test in hand and I told him we were pregnant. It was a wonderful moment and there began a very long journey.
I immediately called my doctor the next morning and they wanted to see me as soon as possible to make sure that it wasn’t a tubal pregnancy like before. So we went in for a sonogram and sure enough the baby was in the right place, a sigh of relief was shared between my husband and I. At the time I was only 3 weeks along so they wanted to see me again in a few weeks. When I went back for the next sonogram I was 6 weeks along. I thought everything seemed great because we were able to see the heartbeat it wasn’t until the nurse called later that I learned I would now have reason to worry. Apparently the baby had low heart rate which was a sign that I would miscarry, I was told to expect the worst. It’s hard for me to really express what I felt at that time. I think I was so depressed that it’s hard for me to even remember that time in my pregnancy. We had to wait another couple weeks before we had another sonogram that would tell us whether we were in the midst of another nightmare. I remember not wanting to look at the screen when we went in for the appointment; I was worried that I would see my baby on that screen with a heart that was no longer beating. I didn’t think I could possible handle that devastation. The technician seemed to take forever to utter those beautiful words “the heartbeat looks great”. I left with what seems like a thousand pounds off my shoulder. When I was 16 weeks along we went to Tyler for a gender check ultrasound. I wanted to not only find out the gender but also to check on my little miracle growing inside. I was sure the baby was a boy, in fact there was no doubt in my mind. The pregnancy was going completely opposite of the pregnancy with my first daughter. I wasn’t sick at all and I was carrying this baby differently. I remember when we were looking for the gender on the large television screen where we had the sono done and she said “it’s a girl”. I never knew how excited I would be to know I was going to get to be the mom of 2 wonderful daughters. I was overflowing with such excitement. I remember asking my husband if he was at all disappointed that it wasn’t a boy. He said the sweetest thing “I secretly was hoping for another girl”. At that time Josh (who had said he would name the girls) gave our sweet little girl the name Kiley Rose. The next weeks went by slow, just waiting for her to grow inside of me and for everything to be ok. Every doctor’s appointment went well, never was there any reason for worry or concern.
I remember everyone telling me I didn’t look 8 months pregnant, and although I kept hearing it I didn’t really worry much about the fact that I was still pretty small for 8 months because at each doctor’s appointment my weight gain was good and so was my uterus measurement. On August 17th 2011 I had an appointment with my doctor and before the appointment I was sent for a sonogram to check on how Kiley was growing. I was 35 weeks.
I had the sonogram and of course they couldn’t tell me anything at that time, I’d have to wait to hear from the doctor if there were any concerns. The morning of this appointment I had felt extremely tired, in fact I had almost called to cancel the appointment but I decided I had better go in anyway just to make sure everything was ok. As I was about to leave the house I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to pack my hospital bag and bring it with me just in case. I think the level of exhaustion that I was experiencing was causing me to worry that something might not be right.
I sat down in the doctor’s office and a nurse came to take my blood pressure, she immediately left the room and the doctor came right in. At that point I knew exactly what was wrong. The preeclampsia that I had experienced with my first pregnancy had now returned with my 3rd pregnancy. My doctor expressed that she was very concerned with how high my blood pressure was and that I should head to the hospital immediately to be monitored.Josh and I dropped Olivia off my grandmother who was thankfully nearby and I gave Olivia the most heartfelt hug, I had so many fears at that time and hugging her was my only relief. Once we arrived at the hospital they immediately got me into a room and hooked me up on monitors and started giving me magnesium sulfate to help lower my blood pressure. The nurse came in to draw my blood and this is when the panic started to sink in. It took them 6 sticks before they were able to find a vain and I was miserable. I remember hearing a nurse outside my door ask the nurse inside what my blood pressure was because she was on the phone with my doctor and they wanted to know. I remember the nurse stepping out and within 5 minutes my doctor was in my room saying my blood pressure was so high they were worried I might suffer a stroke.
Within minutes I was being rushed into the OR and the anesthesiologist was giving me a spinal and reminding me to keep as calm as possible because my blood pressure was so high and they didn’t want my fear of the OR to cause it to go any higher. At this point Josh was not allowed in the OR yet and I felt so alone and so scared, I knew it was too soon for Kiley to come and I could tell my elevated blood pressure was making me feel weak. My doctor requested the help of another doctor in the OR because of all the complications that could come up. They sent Josh in and he stayed near me providing so much comfort to me at that time, I cannot imagine what it would have been like without him there. My C-Section with Kiley was much different from my first one with Olivia. With Olivia I didn’t feel a thing because I had been given the epidural much earlier and it worked differently than the spinal they gave me with Kiley. When they started to cut and pull on me I was not feeling pain but I was feeling an overwhelming amount of pressure and not having felt that with my first C-Section that caused me to panic a little. I was assured it was perfectly normal to feel all of the pressure and so I laid there just praying to hear Kiley cry and to know that she was ok. Moments later I hear the doctor who was assisting say “Look at this little peanut” and out came Kiley Rose Leonard. On August 17th 2011 at 5:16pm she was born. Weighing 3 pounds 15 ounces. They rushed her over to check her out and to check her breathing. So many of the NICU nurses had warned me that she would probably be immediately taking away and that she would need assistance with her breathing. When I heard them announce her birth weight I literally froze. I can’t explain the emotions that rolled over me at that moment. I had given birth to a preemie baby and in my mind every doubt and fear that you can have just hit me. I wanted to see her and hold her but more importantly I wanted her to be healthy and safe. I heard a nurse say “she is breathing fine on her own” and another one said “are you sure” and I watched as they all crowed around my little sweet baby and examined her over and over again. They said she was fine and healthy and just a little miracle. I cried and cried and there is no possible way for me to describe the feeling of relief that I felt. Josh left and headed to the nursery with Kiley and I knew all of the family was about to meet my miracle baby, I wished with all my heart I could have seen their reaction when they laid eyes on such a tiny bundle of joy.
Once they finished with me in the OR they wheeled me to my room. I was greeted by so many loving familiar faces and that was such a comfort to me. It wasn’t long before they brought Kiley in the room to me and I will cherish that moment in my mind forever when I held her for the first time. I looked at my strong little baby and I just knew my life was forever changed. My next favorite moment was when Olivia got to meet her sister. It was something I had played out in my mind over and over again. Olivia was the most amazing big sister from the very first moment she saw the new addition to our family. She crawled in bed next to me and helped hold her little sister and she kept saying “Awww” over and over again. It was beautiful and it makes me cry each time I think about it. The week long hospital stay following Kileys birth was nothing short of a nightmare. My blood pressure would not return to normal and that caused a lot of concern and it kept us in the hospital much longer then we had wanted to be there. My second C-Section was much harder to recover from than the first one. I was not prepared for how hard and painful it would be. All that was hard but nothing was as hard to deal with as Kiley’s chocking. First of all babies learn to swallow in the womb at 35 weeks, Kiley missed out on that so she had a very difficult time swallowing after she would spit up. The worst it ever got was one time in the hospital she was laying on the bed and I looked down and she was blue, she couldn’t breathe. The nurses rushed in and cleared her throat and she immediately started breathing again but it was one of the scariest moments in my life!! For the next 2 ½ months of Kiley’s life we had issues with her chocking. I honestly don’t think I slept during those months. Each time she would chock we would have to clear her throat with a suction. If we went anywhere I had to sit in the back seat with her because she would choke in her car seat. I never put Kiley down she was always in my arms because I knew at any moment we would have to help her breathe again. I don’t wish that turmoil on any parent.
I was also told in the hospital that preemie babies have a very hard time nursing and most end up having to use formula for the first few weeks. I was so determined not to have that happen because I wanted to nurse Kiley and I knew that her body needed the best possible food source that she could get so I worked really hard and Kiley was patient and such an easy baby to feed. Within a couple of days after she was born she was excellent at nursing. Doctors and nurses from all over the hospital came to visit Kiley, they were all in disbelief that at her size she wasn’t in the NICU.
It appears that the preeclampsia set in before we were able to tell. My placenta stopped providing nutrients to Kiley probably around 32 weeks of pregnancy and so she was slowly starving to death, which is why she was so small at birth. It wasn’t until my blood pressure started rising that we were able to tell that something was wrong. My doctor said several times how glad she was that I came in that day because Kiley no doubt wasn’t far away from being a stillborn.
Kiley was 4 pounds when we left the hospital. Her lowest weight after birth was 3 pounds 11 ounces. My sweet Kiley Rose was a blessing in our life and I am grateful that she is healthy. No doubt she is accurately described as “small but mighty”.