Hi! Our story is about our youngest daughter, Rylee Grace! She was born 3 months (26 4/7 weeks gestational) early on November 14, 2007. Her original due date was February 16, 2008. She weighed 1 pound, 1 ounce (486 grams) and was 11.5 inches long. My husband describes her as the size of his Razor cell phone, however, I think the cell phone weighed more! Rylee spent the first 3 months (88 days) of her life in the UNC NICU. We were so lucky to end up at UNC - we were welcomed in as part of the family. Her primary nurses, Tiffany, Rene and Linda, were absolute angels. Without them and everyone involved with the NICU at UNC we would not have gotten through this ordeal as well as we did. Dr. South, Dr. Bose, Dr. Grebe and Jonathan were Rylee's doctor's throughout. Again, absolute angels. There were times we felt intimidated by them, and some times they down right scared us to death. In looking back, I wouldn't have asked for anything else.
It took me two days before I could come up with the strength to go and see Rylee. The pod was dark with just night lights on - I was taken back to the corner by a window where Rylee was. OMG. I could not believe my eyes - I kept looking for something to give me a sign that she was going to be OK, that she didn't look all that bad, that she was close to looking like a regular full-term newborn and you know nothing struck me except for how small she was. And how in the world is this baby going to make it. I was basically in shock - I was afraid to touch her, I didn't cry - I was just numb. It wasn't until this child who was placed on her side with all kinds of wires and monitors and stuff stuck to her lifted her tiny little body up on her own by her itty bitty legs - that I thought to myself WOW she is strong. I was truly amazed and at that point I thought man this kid has some fight in her - she is strong and determined. And that in the end is exactly our little Rylee!
Rylee beat the odds and for that we consider her our little miracle! She was delivered via emergency c-section due to mommy battling high blood pressure and going into organ failure. She was delivered successfully and was crying or meowing as I like to describe it when she came out - most importantly she was breathing! Dr. South came over and told me that he was going to put the tube in her and hook her up to the ventilator. This was at 11:57A, November 14th - by that evening - I'd say around 7P or so she was removed from the ventilator and never looked back! She was placed on CPAP and then removed from CPAP on November 24, 2007 and then placed on high flow oxygen until February 1, 2008. Her kidney's were an issue in the begining - so she was born on a Wednesday and that Sunday they informed us that her urine output was very low and that renal failure could be occuring they gave Furosemide (Lasix) and her urine input improved and eventually was normal - thank god. We were so scared. Rylee was anemic and received 4 blood transfusions but like everything else she overcame this as well. She had bouts of desating during her feedings which was very unnerving but we became immune to the alarms on the monitors and just came to realize as the nurses put it "this is just Rylee!" She was moved to her Isolette on December 17. When she was crying I'm told she could be heard across the Pod! One nurse referred to her as having the will of an ox - I was so happy to hear this!!! She was moved to the open crib the 1st of February and was dischared on February 10th. She required hernia surgery prior to leaving which she got through successfully as well.
We have been truly, truly blessed with this teeny little miracle and for having all of these wonderful people in our lives. I feel overwhelmed when I think about what these talented people did for our baby. I have to be honest - my expectations were low - i wasn't sure if we'd get through this or what the outcome would be. But some how it worked out. Day after day visiting the hospital never wore us down but Rylee had everything to do wth that. She is so strong and such a little fighter - I admire her!
Ryee's big sister, Emily who is 5 wasn't able to visit her in the NICU due to RSV season so she had a hard time grasping the fact that she actually had a baby sister - as Rylee's health improved and she started putting on weight (I guess she was referred to as a feeder and a grower) we started bringing pictures home to Emily and she just loved it now she can't stay away from her little baby sister - she just love, love, loves her and I can say that Rylee feels the same! Nowadays, Rylee is AWESOME! She weighs around 12 pounds (she is gonna be petite) and is 10 months old (7 months adjusted) she is smiling, cooing, babbling, scooting, rolling, eating baby food, sharing belly laughs and you know she is just wonderful! We are close to sitting and crawling and her 1st birthday is quickly approaching - I can hardly believe it!
I will spend the rest of my life thanking all the people that prayed for us throughout this experience. All of the people that supported us and were there for us. Thanks for letting me share our story! I know when we were in the NICU I was online trying to find info and similar stories - this was good and bad. I found this website to be very inspiring - I hope our story does the same for others.
Kim, Patrick, Emily and Rylee