On July 1, 2013 the unthinkable happened. I woke up in a pool of blood with severe labour pains. I immediately went to labour and delivery at my local hospital.
After examination I was advised that I had bulging membranes and that I would be delivering this baby early and the chances of my baby surviving at 23+4 days in gestation was very slim.
The doctor made several calls and I was transferred Sunnybrook Hospital where they stopped the labour and gave me corticosteroid injections to help mature the baby’s lungs for delivery. I was admitted to the high risk unit and placed on strict bedrest where they monitored the baby very closely.
The waiting game was so traumatic and frightening; all I did was pray.
On July 5, 2013 at around 12:00 AM I began having unbearable pains, my nurse called in the doctor who examined me and advised that I was 10 cm dilated and that she could feel the babies feet, she was coming out feet first (footling breach). I had an emergency C-section and at 1:37 AM I gave birth to my 3rd born child…my little miracle, Vienna-Grace. She was born at 24+1 weighed 643 grams and was 19 cm long. There were no respiratory efforts at birth and positive pressure ventilation was started with chest rise, but her heart rate remained in the 80s. She was intubated and given surfactant and then placed on high flow ventilation. She had an umbilical IV placed in her with antibiotics running through to prevent infection.
Words cannot possibly describe how terrified I was the first time I laid eyes on my baby girl. She was almost transparent, her eyes were fused shut and you could see her veins and almost every little bone in her body. In her third day of a life a head ultrasound was preformed showing a grade III brain bleed in between her ventricles.
On her fifth day of life Vienna was had phototherapy as she became a bit jaundice. On her eighth day of life an echo was performed and showed a small-moderate restrictive PDA, which eventually got bigger and Vienna was treated with indomethacin which made the PDA smaller but did not close it. I was so scared and prayed and cried so much… enough to last me a life time. She is truly a little fighter and amazed all the doctors and nurses in the unit.
On July 20th I was finally able to hold my princess for the first time. She was so tiny, my hand could fit over her whole body. It was such an amazing experience, my first kangaroo care. While being ventilated Vienna got ureaplasma pneumonia and it was treated. In order to give her a fighting chance off ventilation, dexamethasone was started.
On August 2nd my girl was extubated to CPAP and budesonide inhalations began to help strengthen her lungs. Unfortunately Vienna could not handle CPAP and was switched to non-invasive high flow ventilation. Finely on day 70 of life Vienna was switched to low flow. Low flow was discontinued a few weeks later, but then placed back on as she could not keep up her saturations. Vienna-Grace has been diagnosed with Chronic Lung Disease due to being intubated for so long and contacting pneumonia has left her with scarring on her little lungs and is still currently on oxygen. Vienna also has ROP (retinopathy of prematurity) which peaked to stage 3 but has since regressed and is now zone 3 stage 0. She also has reflux which is managed with medication and her heart murmur is still heard faintly as the PDA is still not closed.
After spending a heart wrenching 111 days in NICU at Sunnybrook Hospital… many tears, anxiety and sleepless nights…Vienna-Grace was discharged home 1 day before her due date on October 23rd 2013.
My baby was a 1 in 10 and she has proved to me that small things are strong too, she fought for her life and I am so proud to be her mother, my little miracle, my angel…and most of all, my real life hero.
This is our story…
Lindsay & Vienna-Grace