After several weeks of bed rest, the arrival of our first child was expected at any moment. Bored and restless I sat eating candy waiting for time to pass. The baby did not seem as active today, which was unusual. Gently rubbing my very swollen belly I could not feel any movement. After calling the obstetrician, we drove to the emergency room.
Initially, the doctor could not find anything wrong and wanted to send me home. However, my husband insisted that we stay. A monitor was attached to the baby’s head to check its heartbeat. Shortly after the insertion of this device, the baby’s heart rate plummeted to 48 beats a minute. The doctor feared that without an immediate caesarean the baby would not live.
With concern coursing through my veins, I was transferred onto an operating table. The delivery room was equipped with an observation window used by medical students to observe crisis situations. They looked down upon me - watching. The baby's blood pressure continued to drop.
Once the incision was made and the baby removed, I knew there were serious issues. She was milky white with absolutely no color. Worry was seen in everyone's eyes. The baby hemorrhaged through the umbilical cord back into my system and only had about three percent of her blood remaining. A transfusion was started immediately although the chance of survival was slim.
The doctor explained that if she did live, and that was a big if, she would have organ damage, brain damage and other complications due to the lack of oxygen that was supplied through bloodlines.
After my surgery, I was transferred to a room for recovery while my daughter was placed in a pediatric intensive care facility across the street. I was numb with the hopelessness of the situation.
Due to the medications I was given, I was unable to make decisions. The doctors told my husband that he needed to name our daughter because it would help with closure in the event she passed away. Anne Marie was to be her first name. Wanting her to have part of my name, Diane became her middle name.
Not knowing what was going on and not being with Anne Marie made the first twenty four hours agonizing. Amazingly, she continued to fight surprising the doctors that she was still alive a day later.
Anne Marie was hooked up to all kinds of machines and monitored non-stop. Another twenty four hours passed. Still perplexed by her survival, the doctors told us that if she continued to show improvement towards survival, she would most certainly have major medical issues as the result of the time she had with limited oxygen.
By the third day, Anne Marie had managed to pull the IV lines from her arm. Her head was shaved so the IV lines could be inserted into her scalp and her tiny arms were strapped to the bed so she could not disturb any of the wires. She had (and continues to have) such a fighting spirit.
The day prior to my release, I was taken to see Anne Marie. My memory is still a little fuzzy, but I remember looking into her incubator and seeing this small baby with tubes and lines running everywhere. I placed my hand inside the incubator to touch her hand and her delicate little fingers curled around mine. I felt an intense love squeezing around my heart.
The nurses assured me that Anne Marie was in good hands with the best doctors and they would continually monitor her to look for signs of stress, organ failure, or anything else that could potentially arise.
Leaving the hospital, it felt like my heart was literally being torn from my chest as I didn't know when or if ever I would see her again. The quietness in our apartment was unbearable.
I prayed, pleaded, and begged God for an intervention.
Anne Marie continued to show signs of improvement. There was hope in knowing she may eventually come home, but fear in what that meant long term. Could I be the mother of something so fragile and needy? I felt so inadequate.
Twelve days after her birth we were bringing our baby home. The nurses helped me dress Anne Marie and put her in the car seat. There was a palpable relief that she was coming home. However, I still feared the future.
Doctor evaluations became the norm for Anne Marie. She had testing for her motor skills, hearing, vision, and much more. Months went by and she continued to pass every test she was given, often receiving the highest scores possible. Doctors were astounded at her progress. They could not explain why she did not have any of the issues they expected. But we knew in our hearts…we knew that every day we held her - we were holding a miracle.
We are so thankful that God allowed her live and live abundantly. As she grew older and we shared her birth story with her, we reminded her that God saved her for a reason – that her life had a purpose. We are so proud of her and all she has accomplished in her personal, professional and spiritual life. Her birth was over thirty years ago, but she continues to excel in everything she does and is living out her purpose. – Diane Rossi, Florida
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