Our story began in April of 2012 when we learned that we were pregnant for the first time! As most first time parents, we were so ecstatic! We were reading all of the books, discussing baby names, deciding paint colors for the nursery and excitedly telling everyone about our exciting news! Also, as most first time parents we never imagined that there might be complications in our pregnancy. Things seemed to be going normally during the first half of our pregnancy. At our 20 week ultrasound we were anxiously awaiting to hear the big news….boy or girl. Time stood still in that dark ultrasound room as the technician left us alone in the room to go get the doctor. With my blood pressure elevated and very little fluid around the baby, I was sent home to drink lots of water and track my blood pressure and to check back in after the weekend. The following ultrasound did not show any increase in fluid and my blood pressure kept rising. It was at 21 weeks that I was sent to the hospital where my blood pressure was never able to stabilize during my 4 week stay. At 24 weeks the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors determined that the baby had not grown at all in the last 4 weeks. I was able to receive two rounds of steroid shots to help speed up the development the baby’s lungs, and a magnesium sulfate drip to help prevent cerebral palsy. Callie was born on September 4, 2012 weighing 13.6 ounces. She lived for 2 hours and we were able to hold her and tell her how much we loved her as she passed away.
After some testing I was diagnosed with Anti-phospholipid Antibody Syndrome. My doctor described it as having an over-active immune system where my body attacks foreign objects. In the case of pregnancy, my body sees the growing fetus as a foreign object and it attacks, causing blood clots to form on the placenta, which does not allow for proper circulation, flow and nutrition to the baby.
In April of 2013 we learned that we were expecting again! Excited, but very very scared, we were hesitant to share our news with anyone, or to allow ourselves to think too far ahead. I was monitored very closely. I had doctor visits and ultrasounds every 2 weeks and had to give myself two shots of heparin in the stomach every day. The doctor’s goal was to get me to at least 32 weeks. At 28 weeks my blood pressure started to spike and I was admitted to the hospital again. My stay in the Special Care Obstetrics was much shorter this time, but once again I was able to get the steroid injections and the magnesium sulfate drip that were needed to help the baby. They stopped my heparin injections on a Friday and by Sunday they were able to see blood clots forming, so Monday September 16, 2013 Aubree was born at 29 weeks weighing 2 pounds 9 ounces and was 13 inches long.
I remember my nurse, Carrie, telling me in the operating room exactly what would happen. She told me that if Aubree were doing well enough they would wrap her in plastic to keep her warm and they would bring her over for me to see, but if they needed to, they may rush her straight to the NICU and they would take me to see her after recovery. I remember everything about that minute, when that perfect, tiny baby appeared before my eyes wrapped up in plastic. It was a brief minute before they took her to the NICU, but nonetheless, it was a minute that restored my hope!
Aubree’s NICU stay was a short 5 ½ weeks and was pretty uneventful, which is the hope for any baby in the NICU. We kangarooed every single day, and I believe that is the reason she progressed so well. Aubree amazed us the day she was born, and now as an active, funny and completely healthy 3 year old she is still amazing us every single day with her intelligence, compassion, silliness, kindness, eagerness, and independence.
Both Callie and Aubree are constant reminders to us that the work that The March of Dimes does is so important. They are also reminders that medicine and technology have come so far, and we believe with even more research it can go even further to ensure that every baby is born healthy and full-term.
- Callie and Aubree's parents, Dan and Stephanie
We thank you in advance for your generous support to this year's Signature Chefs Auction. Our hope is that one day every baby will be born healthy!