This is Raegan, she was born in early February, about eight weeks early. We will be sharing weekly updates from her mother here each week!
Baby Raegan goes home!
After a miraculous recovery, Raegan was discharged from the hospital late last week. At that time she was 36 weeks, 5 days gestational - 3 weeks 2 days old. She weighed 4 lbs 5 oz.
Raegan's mom reports:
We had a rough patch last weekend. Though Raegan had a feeding tube we were still trying to feed her with a bottle working toward hopefully being able to giving her all feedings by bottle, a task she had to be able to do in order to go home. Every time we went to feed her it seemed as though she was choking and her heart rate would drop sounding the alarms in the N-ICU. Raegan hadn't had a problem eating in the past, she just was tube fed to save energy, but now she seemed to be in pain when she was eating. I sat next to her bed in tears because I felt like I was hurting her when I was trying to feed her.
After speaking it over with the doctors and nurses we determined that Raegan had reflux, she really was in pain when she ate. Premies have a hard time learning how to eat, being able to suck, swallow, and breathe all at the same time can be difficult, and when you add in reflux eating becomes far more trying. The acid in her belly comes up through her esophagus into the back of her throat and while she is trying to decide if she can swallow whats in her throat or if she needs to spit it out she forgets to breathe causing her heart rate to drop.
Within 48 short hours Raegan was a different baby, she was taking all her feedings by bottle with no problem, and we were offered to stay in a transition room at the hospital. A transition room is a room where Raegan's father and I can spend the night with her and take care of her. She still was under the care of the nurses but we had the freedom to change her and feed her whenever she needed. I was excited to finally get the chance to get up with her at night. As strange as it may sound, I finally felt like her parent and not just a visitor.
Once Raegan showed that she was going to wake up and eat on her own taking in enough volume to grow were told we could finally bring her home. After three long weeks in the hospital we were going home. I was going to be a full time mommy!
Raegan's mother was diagnosed with gestational hypertension in January. A few weeks later her high blood pressure led to preeclampsia. According to WebMD, preeclampsia is a condition that can occur during the second half of a pregnancy, often in the latter part of the second or in the third trimesters. If undiagnosed, preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, a serious condition that can put the mother and baby at risk, and in rare cases, cause death. It affects your central nervous system and how your body processes toxins. Preeclampsia can cause the placenta to not be as effective and transporting nutrients from you to your baby and therefore can cause your baby to grow like they are supposed to. There's no way to cure preeclampsia, and no known cause, so it makes for a very scary situation for pregnant women.
Raegan's mother had to be hospitalized and was given a steroid injection to help the baby's lungs mature in case they had to deliver her early or even immediately. That was 30 weeks into the pregnancy. Three weeks later ultrasounds showed the doctors the little girl was not growing like she should, so they decided to deliver.
From Raegan's mother:
Baby Raegan was born 7 weeks and 5 days early. She was 3 lbs 1 oz and 17 inches long. She was so small my husband's wedding band could slide on her arms easily looking more like a bracelet instead of a ring. Thankfully Raegan came out breathing on her own. I will never forget hearing her cry for the first time and thanking God, because if she was crying, that meant she was breathing, a skill that I was unsure if she would be able to do or not.
Raegan is still in intensive care. She hasn't had to have any assistance breathing which is a blessing and after spending two weeks in an isolette she is now big enough to hold her own body temperature so she can be in a open air crib. She has a feeding tube right now because though she is able to eat on her own, the simple task of sucking a bottle can burn more calories than she is taking in, and can wear her out. In order for her to grow, she takes some feeding through her feeding tube so she can rest and grow instead of worrying about eating. Raegan is now almost 3 weeks old and weighs 4 lbs. 1 oz. We don't know exactly how much longer she will have to be at the hospital but I know it will be at least another week or more. She is small but mighty and grows more and more every day.