Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day Seven of 30 Days of Project Sweet Peas!

As I have written about so many times before, one of the things that I do to remember and honor my son is donate care packages to families that have a baby in the NICU. I am able to do this through the help and support of Project Sweet Peas, which is a group of families just like mine, who have been in the NICU and know how hard it is. There are twelve local project spread out across the country that deliver these care packages. I am honored to be a part of this organization. And we need your help!!!

We have applied for a grant through the Pepsi Refresh Project, and have been selected as a finalist to win a $25,000 grant!! So here is how you can help us: vote once a day, every day for Project Sweet Peas to win. We need to be in the top ten at the end of the month to win. And to entice you to help us out and vote every day, I am doing a 30 Days of Project Sweet Peas giveaway! Everyday in the month of April I will be writing about the amazing things going on in Project Sweet Peas. And if you leave a comment that you voted each day, I will randomly pick one of these comments to win an Awareness Braceletof your choice! I make awareness bracelets of all colors, and I have a Pregnancy and Infant Loss Charm Bracelet featured right now. 

And the winner from Day Five Giveaway is (chosen with help from . . . . . Jennifer Tenney! Jennifer, please send me an email at and let me know which Awareness Bracelet that you would like. Check out Bracelets for Awareness for idea, you can pick any bracelet with any amount of charms! Please note that you must leave a comment EVERY DAY in order to qualify for the giveaway. Basically, each day starts new.

**Please note that you must leave a comment each day to qualify for the giveaway for that day. **

Welcome to Day Seven of 30 Days of Project Sweet Peas!! I am so happy to announce that we have moved up one spot into 17!! Now we are only 17 spots away from the TOP TEN! So close we are almost there, so PLEASE PLEASE, KEEP VOTING!!  The project that I will be highlighting donates bags to Kootenai Medical Center NICU/PICU in Idaho/Washington area. This is the story of Ayda's Blessing (for more information, please contact Shanell at . . . .

When I was 17, me and my boyfriend, now my husband found out that we were expecting. We went through the normal pregnancy stuff, doctors, planning the room, until May 9, 2007. We went into the doctors to see if we were having a girl or a boy. We found out that we were having a girl, but we also found out that she was diagnosed with a birth defect called a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. We had no idea what a congenital diaphragmatic hernia was. In Ayda, our daughters cause, we found out that early in gestation, her diaphragm didn’t completely form, and there was a hole on her left side of the diaphragm. Her stomach and her intestines moved their way up through the hole and placed themselves where the heart was supposed to be, causing the heart to be where the lungs are supposed to be, causing her lungs to not form completely due to the very small amount of room in her chest. They told us that 1 out of every 2,000 babies are born with CDH. The survival rate is only 50%

Once I was able to go upstairs to see her, I was in shock. the room was full with nurses and doctors, alarms were going off saying that her oxygen was too low and her heart rate was too high. they would shoot some medicine into her arm. The sound of the ventilator hummed in the background. I wheeled myself over to my precious baby just to see her eyes closed, her chest moving not from her breathing, but from the ventilators breathing, and not seeing her wiggle her toes. They had to put her on some special medications that would make her not be able to move because she was trying to spit out the ventilator when she was born. All I could do was pray and stare. I couldn't help her, she couldn't help herself. We were both helpless.

The next couple of weeks were like riding a roller coaster. She would do really good, and then she would drop back down. "45% oxygen", I would stare at the monitor every second, just to make sure she was being a good girl. They said my eyes were glued to that thing. I would send Sam up to check on our daughter and the first thing I would ask was "how are her oxygen saturations?". She became so unstable they started to talk to us about "the last resort", ECMO. We decided to say no. We didn't want her to suffer any more than she already was. The rest of that night, I was scared that we just let our baby pass, I was up about every 3 hours making sure she was okay, calling the nurses over and over. Praying was the main time I spent while at the NICU.

The morning after our decision about ECMO, they told us that Ayda was now stable enough to have surgery. They scheduled it for October 1st, Sams sisters birthday. We were so relieved. Finally, we were moving our way through the tunnel. Her surgery went well. A couple of weeks later, she re-herniated and a second surgery went through. They had to put mesh in to patch the hole. After her surgery, they slowly began bringing down the settings of her ventilator, oxygen, and all the other wires and tubes she was hooked up on. When she was off of the ventilator she was able to eat. At the beginning of November, they moved us up to the NICU step-down unit. That meant we were on our way to going home!

On November 30th, we were able to go home!!!

After she came home, Ayda had 2 other surgeries and 2 other small procedures from the time we came home until about a month after she turned a year old. Currently Ayda is growing like a "normal baby". She has hearing loss and has to wear hearing aids, and she has a very weak immune system and gets sick very often, but we have been able to keep her as healthy as we can. Even though we went through a hard time in the NICU, I would never change anything about the journey we went through. That is why I am here. It is my passion to help other parents that are in the same situation that my husband and I were in during the time our daughter was in the NICU.


Michelle said...

I voted for you 2 times today. I keep voting everyday!