Meet Malory! She is our May model in our Hummingbird calendar!
When we started talking about expanding our family, we thought it was going to be so easy because all the people around us didn’t have trouble at all. When it was all said and done, it took 2 long years and 3 rounds of infertility drugs but in August of 2002 we found out our dream had come true. Right before the first of the year, we found out that we were having a daughter. Of course my mind went crazy. What was I going to do with a daughter, I was a tomboy. How in the world do you do “girl” hair, I had absolutely no idea. My mom calmed my fears by telling me that God had a plan for this special little girl.
I was having a great pregnancy, my sisters-in-law were even upset because they had morning sickness and I was just sailing along. One morning while sitting at my desk at work, I felt these pains in my stomach so I called and was told I was just growing and expanding because that is what happens when you are pregnant. Little did I know that later that night I would be making my first trip of many to the hospital. I was in panic mode because I was a mere 24 weeks pregnant. I was told I was 2 cm dilated so immediate bed rest it was. One of my many trips to the hospital included an immediate cerclage because I was dilated 3 cm and she was head down and wanting to make her appearance. In all I was at the hospital 5 times with the last time being the day that “Our Miracle” was born. On February 19, 2003, we headed to the hospital and was immediately given a steroid shot for her lungs and put on magnesium to stop the contractions. After lying in bed most of the day waiting to get another steroid shot, I started bleeding and passed out. I was immediately rushed to the operating room for an emergency c - section. I was later told that I had had a placental abruption.
Malory Elizabeth was born at 6:03 pm weighing 2 pounds 13 ounces and was 15 ¾ inches long. I was 27 weeks and 5 days into my pregnancy. I don’t remember much about the day after that as I was in and out. I was later told that Malory did cry and that everything looked good. I caught a brief glimpse of my daughter before she was transferred to Northwest Medical Center NICU. She was put on a ventilator, given an iv, and hooked up to many more tubes. Her skin was transparent, her eyes still fused, a head the size of an apple, and a feisty attitude. After getting discharged from the hospital 3 days later, I got to see my daughter for the first time. I wasn’t prepared for the emotions that all of a sudden hit me as I was washing my hands like a surgeon. I couldn’t stop crying as Nurse Kay explained to us what was going on. To this day, I still don’t remember what she said because I was in complete shock at this tiny baby that God made special for me. So began the endless phone calls and visits to check on our baby. When she was 5 days old she came off the ventilator and we were jumping for joy because we expected her to be on the vent for a while. Of course, in the back of your mind your remembering not to get too excited because as they say 1 step forward and 2 steps back.
On February 25th, we were so excited to see her and hold her because we hadn’t got the opportunity to hold her. As soon as we walk in, we knew something was wrong. Nurse Kay told us that Malory’s PDA has not closed and they can’t give her anymore medicine and that she needed surgery. I frantically call the grandparents to get them to the hospital because here we are first time parents and we honestly don’t know what is going on. As we sat in the meeting with the surgeon, all I could think was I haven’t even held her yet surely God won’t take her from us yet. I wasn’t really paying attention until the surgeon said “Boy I sure hope I clamp the right one”. I was so scared, but Nurse Kay took me by the hand and took me to hold my daughter for the first time. Malory came through surgery great. She was off the ventilator the next day and back to being feisty.
The nurses nicknamed her “Jane Fonda” because she liked to work out her legs and kick the plastic off her bed. She progressed well after the surgery, but in the back of my mind I’m wondering when the other shoe was going to drop. Sure enough we got word that Malory wasn’t digesting her food so she had to be continuously feed. Then the other shoe fell, she developed an infection but they had no idea where. She was given a picc line and started on high powered antibiotics. Once she was over that she was taken off the c-pap machine and given a nasal cannula. I was able to hold her often and just loved getting to do Kangaroo care with her. She was growing and thriving and we were thrilled. One of the only other issues was that she developed a MRSA infection in one of her eyes. I started thinking that maybe she would be home sooner than they thought. She kept the nurses entertained all the time. The nurses didn’t like having to give Malory a “silver bullet” because she didn’t like them and tended to poop all over the nurses when they came near her. She didn’t want to give up her nasal cannula even though it was out of her nose 95% of the time because she kept pulling it out.
My birthday was April 15th, and I received the best birthday present ever, Malory was going to be coming home in 2 days. I was so excited then I started panicking because her room wasn’t finished and I hadn’t even figured out what I was going to bring her home in. Rooming in the night before was scary. Yes, we were right across the hall from the NICU but she was still little. We made it through the night, only to get another blow as we are getting ready to go home. They were checking her out to discharge her and they wanted to know if December was ok to go to Children’s in Little Rock to get her heart checked out. We were confused and then they dropped the bomb, Malory had another hole in her heart which was an ASD (Atrial Septal Defect). They assured us that she was ok and that she needed a follow up. So on April 17, 2003, we headed home with our 5 pound 8 ounce baby girl after 58 days in the NICU, a full month before her due date.
Malory didn’t have many problems. Her ASD did resolve itself so that was a blessing. She didn’t have a major illness until her first birthday when she got the rotovirus. When Malory was 3 years old, she started getting sick quite often. Every time we went to the ER we were told she had asthma. By the time she was 4 years old, she had missed months of preschool. We decided to see a pulmonologist to find out what was going on. The doctor wouldn’t test her for asthma because she was too young. We showed her all the x-rays and were shocked to learn that they had misdiagnosed her. She in fact had pneumonia 6 times that we know of. We went to Little Rock for all kinds of tests (cystic fibrosis, tested the cilia in her lungs, and tested her swallow) and they also took out her adenoids. Everything came back fine. So then we had her immune system tested and sure enough we found the culprit. Malory had to be re-immunized and she has been as good as new since. She has been diagnosed with asthma and also has life-threatening allergies but otherwise is healthy. She is still a feisty little toot and rarely sits still. She loves playing soccer, basketball, and softball. She is really active and she will ask every once in a while to tell her the story of her birth. I have to carry a picture of her in my purse because no one believes that she was a preemie. She has been an absolute blessing.
After having her, I reached out to others that had preemies in any way I can. It was quite ironic because my sister-in-law had preemie boys when Malory was 11 ½ months old. We have been so lucky. I admit I did put her in a plastic bubble for the first year of her life but after that life has one big party. I thank God every day for blessing our family with this miracle.