Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Feature Family

At the beginning of each month Ella's Halo will have a NICU family tell their story about life in the NICU with their baby. Our hope is that by featuring different families others will have a better understanding of the difficult, roller-coaster ride many face when their baby is in the NICU. Ella's Halo created the Feature Family series, if you are interested in sharing your story, please email us at to share your NICU story and to be a future Feature Family.

We know Tina from back when we were in high school.  Coming from a small town, it broke our hearts hearing about a family we knew so many years ago was just starting their NICU journey.  It breaks my heart any time I hear about a baby entering the NICU, but even more so when we know the moms and dads and the journey they are about to embark on.  Here is their story.

Kaislyn Toni Drewes
Written by Tina Drewes
Former NICU Mommy

Things started to change at 25 weeks. I noticed swelling in my legs and just thought it was from being pregnant, and that I was retaining water until someone said I should go in. I went in to the doctor at 26 weeks and they noticed elevated blood pressure and protein, so I was asked to check in to the ob floor for monitoring two days later for just a few hours. However, a few hours turned into 3 days. After checking in, my blood pressure was 140/100. They thought it was from getting settled in, but it kept rising. They started pumping in blood pressure meds to lower it, but it got as high as 170/110. I was given a steroid shot in case of early delivery.

After three days I was able to go home on very strict bed rest! I made it two more weeks, to 28 weeks, and then had another doctor’s appointment. After looking at an ultrasound and checking my protein levels, I was told I needed to head to Fargo in case we had to deliver!

We checked in on a weekend and were told the baby would be delivered on Thursday. After they did some research, they determined we were able to hang out for a while and see how things would go. I was given a second dose of steroids and was put on magnesium sulfate (worst drug in the world). I was told that I was at a serious risk of having seizures or even stroking out due to how high my blood pressure was (which I felt fine the whole time).

They were monitoring me very closely, and I could not get out of bed for anything! I could sit up for only a little while, but needed to lie as low key as possible! The magnesium made me very sick, retain tons of water, and very weak – it’s a muscle relaxer that also helps with preterm labor. Each day we were told we may be having the baby or we may hang out but whatever is best for baby is the path we would take!! So 3 days after checking into Fargo, I knew at 3am we were going to be having a baby sometime within the day! They noticed on the ultrasound that the baby wasn't growing much since my blood pressure had spiked. I was told a C-section was our only option, but I wouldn’t need to be put completely out, and Darin could be there with me. Only to find out I was going to be completely put under, and Darin could not be with me! From the minute I left Darin, they had our baby girl to him in 12 minutes for a quick picture and off to the NICU. I had to go down a floor for recovery. I was finally able to be pushed back into our room later that afternoon and finally got to see our baby (besides pictures) at 10:30 p.m., when I actually had the strength to get out of bed to go to the NICU – and she was born at 1:42pm!

Kaislyn Toni Drewes was born on January 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm. She was 1 lbs 15 oz and 13.5 inches long.  I was finally able to get out of the hospital the following Thursday, because my blood pressure finally came down. Kaislyn was on a vent for almost 1 month and was in the NICU for 128 days – 4.5 months!

She struggled with sucking, swallowing and breathing, so she ended up getting a feeding tube put in due to her not finishing all her feeds. A week after surgery we were home free, with no monitors or anything other than a button in her belly for feeding (what she didn't take from the bottle), and a list of doctor appointments.

She also had a few issues with her heart. PDA open, ASD, and VSD, so we get to see a cardiologist for many years, and pray she will never need surgery! This month she will be 1 (9 months corrected age). Hard to believe, and wonder where the year went!

She is doing great, but is still very small (born at 1 lbs 15oz). In December she was 11 lbs 6 oz! Her feeding tube was removed in August and she is doing great! Right on track and continuing to go to follow up appointments, and to her cardiologist. 

Thanks for reading our little miracle’s story. 


Anonymous said...

We had a 1# 9 oz baby girl at 26 weeks. She will be 3 at the end of the month and hopefully weighing 23#, but otherwise perfect. She was about 12# at age 1. I have a lot of time worrying about her size, but she is healthy and will likely always be petite. Enjoy all the milestones ahead....the seem extra special after such a rough start!

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