The Davies Family is eastern Idaho's March for Babies Ambassador Family. Their story teaches us the true meaning of both love and perseverance. Read Melanie Davies' personal account of their journey for a family; it shows both amazing courage and the extent of a mother's will and love. Then join us on June 1st for the March for Babies in Idaho Falls!
Our story actually began March 30, 1998, when our first son Michael was born in Rexburg. He was born at 25 weeks and lived for only 30 minutes. The loss and grief for my husband and me was extremely painful. A couple of years later, we adopted our two daughters, Jessica and Kelley.
Ten years after Michael was born, we found ourselves expecting another baby. We were so excited, but also so very scared. It was so hard when we lost our first son, and we did not want to go through that aching loss again.
We did everything we could do to keep him from coming too soon, including regular monitoring by our perinatologist here at EIRMC. On the 30th of July, during one of my many appointments with the perinatologist, I learned that the cerclage I'd had in June was not holding.
I froze with panic and fear when they said I needed an emergency surgery. The hospital admitted me, started me on antibiotics, medications to prevent pre-term delivery, and complete bed rest. Not only was I scared for my baby, but I also felt so overwhelmed with decisions that needed to made right away.
One thing that I did know was that no matter what, I had to make the best decision possible and do everything that possibly could be done to save my baby's life.
From the moment I was admitted to EIRMC, everyone was so kind and caring, which helped make the situation a little easier. Our nurses were so gentle and reassuring. They got me all settled and then brought in the neonatologist, Dr. Jenkins, to visit with us.
He told us about our chances. He talked about the low odds of survival, and the complications that our baby could have if he did survive. He was kind and wonderful, yet totally honest at the same time. He didn't spare us the truth about what we faced, and we knew there were so many things that could go wrong. We knew our baby's chances of surviving were very low.
But, Dr. Jenkins assured us that high-risk deliveries and tiny preemies were something that Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and staff were equipped to handle, and he was absolutely willing to try if that was our choice.
The morning of August 8, 2008, our lives changed forever, because our baby was deciding that this was going to be the day. The contractions had started and we couldn't hold off his arrival any longer. My husband was still in Colorado with our two daughters, Jessica and Kelley. So my sister came to be with me and repeatedly kept reassuring me that it would all be okay. It was such a difficult and scary day for us all.
At 12:00 in the afternoon, as they were hurrying to get me to delivery, my nurse, DeeAnn, once again sensed how much I needed reassurance, and she brought in the other neonatologist to see me. This is when we met Dr. Anschutz.
Dr. Anschutz explained that at 22 weeks gestation, our baby had reached the possibility of viability, but just barely. Ninety-five percent of neonatologists across the nation would not resuscitate a baby at 22.6 weeks, which is exactly where we were in my pregnancy. But, he let me make that choice, after providing all the information.
What he told us was scary: Our baby's chance of surviving was only 0 - 3%, and that our outcome did not look very good. But Dr. Anschutz was so calm while talking to us, and said if we wanted to resuscitate, he would promise the full efforts of the entire team to do everything they possibly could.
Well, by 12:35 Nathan was born. We didn't realize it at the time, but his birth at the 22nd week of my pregnancy was a first for Idaho, making him the youngest Idaho preemie to ever survive.
He was so, so tiny. He weighed just 1 pound 2 ounces, and that weight included everything that was hooked to him. He had the most amazing, tiniest cry you could ever imagine.
When Nathan was born, an endotracheal tube was placed to help him breathe. He received lifesaving surfactant therapy: Once at birth and one other time. Umbilical lines were placed for fluids and medications to be given. A full resuscitation had begun. His lungs were not all the way developed, his eyes were still fused shut, and his skin was so thin that the tiniest amount of betadine would burn his fragile body. The team placed him on a special ventilator called the oscillator. It would wiggle the lungs and was gentle on his tissues.
He was fragile and delicate, and needed so much intensive care. He had so many challenges to overcome and I am sure no one knew for sure what his outcome would be. I remember, as I would go in to see my son, how nervous and scared I was to hear about the challenges he had that day or what was to come.
I had to wait one week and two days before I was able to hold my son. Not only was it one of the scariest moments of my life, but one of the happiest. I was so nervous to hold such a very sick and tiny baby with all those monitors beeping, oxygen tubes, picc lines. He felt so good in my arms. I was allowed to hold him for as long as he would tolerate it. During this time, I did not dare move in fear of his oxygen tube moving and causing his oxygen levels to drop and I knew if that were to happen my time holding Nathan would be over. Nathan handled it well for three hours.
He endured so much while he was in the NICU at the Idaho hospital. He proved to be so strong and such a fighter from the very beginning. And he has touched so many people's lives.
During our stay at the NICU, we always felt welcome no matter the time of day we stopped by, or if it was our first or third visit that day. We learned to put our faith and trust in Dr. Jenkins and Dr. Anschutz and their team of nurses.
Almost five months later we were discharged from the NICU on December 24, 2008. It was such an exciting day. We were finally taking our baby home.
I never thought we would get past any of that, but we did. Today Nathan is a thriving. He loves going with his dad everywhere. They are best buddies.
He still has some struggles ahead of him, but compared to other families, they are minor. We are learning he likes to do things in his own time. But, that is okay because what really is important is that he is here with us today.
He is continually making progress. And each new thing Nathan does is such a miracle in our lives.