As many of you know, I gave birth to triplets on August 19, 2012, 14 weeks early. Makayla was the 1st born and weighed 1 lb 6 oz, Melaina was next also weighing 1 lb 6 oz. Next was Maya weighing 1 lb 7 oz. All three girls were put on ventilators because they could not breathe on their own and all were put in isolates because they could not keep themselves warm. At less than a week old, they all had a surgery to close the patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). Thankfully, all three girls tolerated this surgery. Then, a few weeks later, Melaina's left lung collapsed and she had to have surgery to have a tube placed in her lung to help it expand. Again, she pulled through like a champ and was actually the first to be taken off the ventilator!
On September 25 the doctors noticed that Maya was sick and her belly was getting bigger. When I use the term "sick" when talking about a preemie, it means so much more than when talking about a term baby. When the word "sick" is used when talking about a preemie, its life threatening. X-rays were taken of Maya's belly and lots of tests were run. X-rays showed that her intestines were swollen. Cultures were taken that came back positive for an infection in her blood. Another test was run that measures her infection level. Usually this number is below 0... at the highest, Maya's infection level was at 28! She was having trouble breathing and her blood pressure was very low and she was placed on 3 blood pressure medications along with antibiotics. A few days later, Maya had surgery to place a vacuum in her belly to release some pressure. The surgery worked! Although Maya was very sick, she was breathing better and she was taken off all blood pressure medications. The doctors also diagnosed Maya with Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC). I was terrified when I read about NEC because most of the stories I read did not end with happiness but I was hopeful. 3 days later, on September 30th, Maya had her final surgery to replace the vacuum and to remove some of the dead intestine. Maya made it out of surgery and was fine. A few hours after recovery Mike and I were called rushed into her room. The nurse was explaining to us that they were doing all they could to bring her back but her heart had stopped 25 minutes ago and they couldn't get her back. Our little Maya lay there while the nurses and doctors worked so hard to bring her back. She was gone; she was already with our Lord. Mike and I held little Maya for hours until we finally had to let her go. Although we wanted to lie in bed and mourn our daughter, we couldn't. We still had two little girls in the NICU that needed us.
Makayla and Melaina must have taken on their sister's strength because after Maya went to heaven, they started to get better. They are now both off the vent and out of the isolate and in their own cribs. They both still require some oxygen and are still fed through a tube but they are making so much progress. Makayla sometimes forgets that she needs to breath and that scares us so much but we pray that she will figure it out and remember that if she wants to stay with us, she needs to breathe. Melaina, the one that had the must problem with her lungs is actually breathing the best! They both weigh over 5 1/5 lbs. and have such big personalities for being such little girls!
I am still not able to produce breast milk to feed my babies so I have to buy donor milk at $3 an oz!!. I will say though, that thanks to a generous contribution, I do not have to buy as much milk as I use to. I know many people would say just to give them formula but I'm terrified. Although we don't now the definite cause of NEC, research shows that premature babies that are on formula have a high risk of NEC and I will do anything I can to prevent another one of my daughters from this deadly disease.
We would really love for all of you to come out and support our daughters while doing a little Zumba but if you can't and would like to contribute to their hospital bills and milk we would really appreciate it.
We thank you all for your continued prayers and support for Makayla and Melaina. We will forever remind them of all the amazing people that have been there for them since the day they were born.
Mike and Jen
- Tammie Leung
- Marielena Becerra
- Mandi & Josh Horwitz
- Jessica Wood
- Aimee Lim
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