I think this is one of those sessions that will stay with me for a very long time. The complex emotions of the newness of life, combined with the heartbreak of loss was like riding a rollercoaster of joy and sadness.
Our story beings when I first met Allison through a local Facebook page in November 2016. They had been tying for a baby for 3 years and on their second attempt of IVF, they received wonderful news, they were pregnant...with twins! Baby A- a boy and Baby B- a girl. Allison's pregnancy was perfect and healthy but suddenly, at just 21 weeks, Allison was rushed to the hospital due to pPROM (preterm premature rupture of the membrane) in which Baby A's (Lucas's) water broke. She was admitted to the hospital and was told she would have to remain there until the babies were born. After three long weeks of bedrest, Allison went into labor and delivered two beautiful babies, Lucas Mark and Hailey Lou on 18 December 2016, at 24 weeks and 5 days gestation.
Lucas lived for just over 40 hours before passing away from a stage 4 brain bleed, heart and lung failure. Hailey stayed in the NICU, fighting for her life for the next 5 months.
If you think that Hailey's battle was easy, what you are about to read will shock you. How such tiny human overcame such incredible odds, is simply a miracle. Allison writes:
"We almost lost her the same day we lost Lucas. She stopped responding to the ventilator so a resperatory technician manually hand pumped oxygen into Hailey for 4 hours until the doctor's could figure out what was wrong with her lungs. She ended up getting a chest tube and nitric oxide due to chronic lung disease. Hailey got sepsis on New Years day, had over 20 blood transfusions, had seizures the first few weeks of life, developed chronic kidney disease, had stage 3 ROP (retinopathy of prematurity) with plus disease which ended up getting treated by laser surgery, and a grade 3 intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) aka brain bleed which ultimately resulted in hydrocephalus. She had brain surgery to insert a shunt to help relieve the hydrocephalus 3 months into her NICU stay."
After 133 days in the NICU, Hailey was finally able to come home, weighing just shy of 8lbs! She filled their home with such hope and happiness. I remember walking through the door and feeling this immense sense of strength, comfort and peace. Our session was centered around her, talks about her incredible journey and fight for life and stories of her brother who received his angel wings.
"It’s difficult to put into words the emotions you go through when you lose a child. It was impossible to find time to grieve while gathering any strength you have left for your other child fighting for their life. For 133 days, we were on autopilot and we walked into that NICU every day to be there with Hailey and help her get through her toughest life obstacle. I certainly struggled with postpartum depression, post-dramatic stress disorder, and anxiety. I cried every day for months, but took responsibility to get the help and support I needed to process and grieve the loss of my son, the loss of a healthy pregnancy, and the unknowns of Hailey’s and our future in the healthiest way possible. Often days I felt conflicted whether I should be smiling for Hailey or if I should be crying and upset Lucas isn’t here. We often wonder what it would have been like if Lucas survived, but, we know Lucas is with Hailey every day watching over her and she will always be a twin and we will always be parents of twins. While this experience certainly brought John and I closer, we are beyond blessed to have our sweet, happy, smily girl who is a true miracle."
Baby Hailey now- 13.5 months and 14.4lbs!
"She's currently doing great - she's on track with her adjusted age in terms of development. She's 13.5 months actual and 10 months adjusted. Hailey is sitting up on her own, uses her little pinchers to feed herself, ready to crawl any day now, loves to stand up with assistance, babbles "mama" and "dada", her kidneys almost look "normal", she hasn't needed any breathing support since coming home from the NICU so her lungs keep getting stronger, she smiles constantly and she's quite possibly the happiest baby on the planet."