We are reaching out to people, to ask if they would consider supporting us as we pay off our hospital bills. But first, how did we get here and who are we?
Malia and I (Peter) found out we were having a baby, and we were so very excited. We begun to plan for a low intervention pregnancy and birth and above all a screaming, healthy baby. We had saved enough money to do this, even though we both work for non-profits and my job is based entirely off fundraising. However, we had no idea what God had in store for us and Jack's birth story, but God is good.
Early on in the pregnancy, we found out that Malia has high blood pressure and she was referred to a specialist at UW (Go Dawgs). He put Malia on blood pressure medication, and she responded very well.
And as Christmas approached, we were getting excited as we had booked a trip to Ireland to visit my family (I am from Ireland...and we booked the trip long before Malia was pregnant). I went with Malia for a pre-trip appointment with our midwife, and she said that things were not looking good and she had concerns for our baby. "You can not go to Ireland". Words we did not want to hear, as neither of us had been home for over two years, and my Dad was very sick in Belfast, awaiting surgery.
We both cried many tears that night. I cancelled our flights, and went to to see our specialist once again. He confirmed what we knew, that flying would endanger our 31 week old baby. He changed Malia's medications and said to expect the baby in less than 5 weeks, as he was not growing fast enough, meaning he would be premature.
Over the next few days we waited for our next appointment, when we were told that Malia would not be leaving the hospital until the baby was born, as the baby now needed 24-7 monitoring. It was New Years Eve now! And so we spent New Years Eve in the hospital, Malia being pumped full of drugs and the baby on a heart rate monitor.
And so we stayed there, wondering how long our baby could stay in the womb for - he would eventually reach a point where he would grow better outside of the womb than in. She would then be induced, so much for Christmas in Ireland, and a low intervention birth! After five days, they grew concerned for the baby as his heart rate was falling. They started to monitor him again, 24-7. The next day, Malia was throwing up all day, and was on nil by mouth and a drip. They thought she had the flu, but the test was negative. When they checked her, she was actually laboring. Good news!? You would think yes right? However, the answer is no, as each contraction was so hard on our baby, and he did not have enough reserves in his placenta for full labor.
Then his heart rate plummeted, and within minutes six Doctors were in the room searching for his heart beat. Was it even beating? It had fallen so low, from around 145bpm to below 70bpm, that they could not tell which was his and which was Malia's. They finally found it, and his heart rate started to recover. The Doctors said this will only be allowed to happen once or twice more.
They left the room. Malia was on oxygen. And within 15 minutes, they came back and said "actually we need to do a c section now - you will have a baby in one hour". As they said this, they were lifting Malia off her bed and pretty much wheeling her out the door in a wheel chair. They handed me my gown, mask, and booties and said we will be back for you. WOW. C-section had always been our last resort, and here we were about to have one.
I won't go into detail about the operation, but it was tough on Malia physically and mentally and hard on me to see her that way. Within 40 mins they had pulled our baby, Jack, out of the womb and I was holding him - slightly shell shocked but thrilled he was alive and well!
Jack was born, at 4lbs 2 oz, and 33 weeks and 6 days. He would now have to spend time in the NICU, which is outstanding but also another thing we did not want for him. To see him in an incubator, connected to machines and so very small was truly heart breaking. And it was so strange to leave the hospital without a baby. But Jack was strong from the beginning, and he never needed oxygen or any special assistance other than a feeding tube.
Over the next three weeks, we would come every day to the hospital and care for him and watch him grow stronger and longer! He had to learn how to feed solely by a bottle for all of his food needs before he could come home. The staff were wonderful, and so loving of Jack and they taught us how to care for our preemie. And just as our patience started to diminish, with Jack not being home with us, they told us he could come home! What a day that was.
Jack is now over 5.5lbs and 19.5 inches, and he is thriving! And as we settle into daily life with him, as a family, we can't help but be overwhelmed by the medical bills that await us. We expect to hit all of our out of pocket maxes, as Malia was in the hospital for ten days, and Jack was in the NICU for three weeks. This will total $15,000, as we had the added luck of our bills spanning two different calendar years!
We have been blessed so abundantly through all of this, and we are so very thankful for the beautiful community God has blessed us with. Please pray for our family of three - that the Lord continues to surround us with His peace and His mercy, and that we continue to trust in Him and His provision. May He be glorified and honored through all of this!