November 25, 2017, I’m in my 32nd week of pregnancy when this happened. I thought this day will just be an ordinary Friday for me, will shutdown my laptop after work and then sleep. I have a corporate job and luckily I worked from home that day. I am on a mid shift schedule and was about to call it a day by 12 midnight when my second daughter told me she wants to pee. I accompanied her in the bathroom since I had to pee too. To my horror, there were stains of blood in the toilet bowl! I calmed myself and went to the room to change clothes. I woke my mother up and told her we need to go to the hospital because I’m bleeding. The hospital was just 5 minutes away from our house through a tricycle ride since I’m living in the province. In the hospital, they had me interviewed, got my health card for verification and had me lay on the emergency room hospital bed. They inject me something that will help strengthen my baby’s lungs if ever I will be advised for bed rest, it will be 4 shots divided in days. The resident doctor asked me if I want to get admitted since the OB will arrive early in the morning for an operation (she’s not my OB since my OB is in Manila) I’m hesitant at first but agreed since I don’t want to risk my baby. I called my husband and told him what happened and will update him once the OB arrived. In the hospital room, I was not be able to sleep, I felt agitated that my baby will come out in just 32 weeks. I felt that I’m having contractions every 10-15 minutes and by 5 AM, I bleed again. By 6 AM, the OB was already there and told me that they need to get my baby out since it will be more risky for us if they don’t do it, they just wished that my baby is heavy enough and my placenta will not be affected if they do the CS operation since I have placenta previa condition. They need to check through ultrasound the position and the weight of the baby (and the gender as well as we were not be able to get a gender reveal, 3D/4D ultrasound, have maternity photo shoot and other maternity stuffs since this was unexpected, we don’t even have a name yet). I called my husband to let him know that I need to undergo emergency CS and have to get ligated as well since this was my third pregnancy through CS. After ultrasound, all is fine and safe for operation and were having another baby girl (our third)! By 9 AM, my baby is already out and crying loudly as if telling the world that she has arrived! By 10 AM, the pedia told us if we are willing to transfer our baby to a bigger hospital in San Fernando where there is a pulmo pedia. My baby’s lungs was not yet fully developed and will collapse if not treated immediately. She was transferred through an ambulance with my husband.
Placenta previa (pluh-SEN-tuh PREH-vee-uh) occurs when a baby’s placenta partially or totally covers the mother’s cervix — the outlet for the uterus. Placenta previa can cause severe bleeding during pregnancy and delivery. If you have placenta previa, you might bleed throughout your pregnancy and during your delivery. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/placenta-previa/symptoms-causes/syc-20352768
My precious little one stayed in the NICU for 19 days without us by her side. My husband will need to travel to San Fernando to deliver breast milk and her other needs, will sleep outside NICU just to be with her. When my husband returned to work, I need to get to the hospital every 2 days to deliver her needs. Imagine after CS, I have to travel almost 2 hrs through commute to get to the hospital to be with her.
Finally the day of her graduation to NICU had arrived, she can finally go home. We thought that everything is fine now, all scans and tests are perfect, except for her eyes. Her ophthalmologist told us that her ROP has advanced and she needs to undergo treatment (laser surgery or Avastin injection), we need to choose asap. Another dilemma for us parents where we need to choose what will be best for our LO especially for their health.
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is an eye disease that can happen in premature babies. It causes abnormal blood vessels to grow in the retina, and can lead to blindness. Retinopathy (ret-in-AH-puh-thee) of prematurity makes blood vessels grow abnormally and randomly in the eye. These vessels tend to leak or bleed, leading to scarring of the retina, the layer of nerve tissue in the eye that lets us see.
Types of Retinopathy of Prematurity Surgery
The most common methods of ROP surgery are:
- laser surgery: This is done most often for ROP. Small laser beams scar the peripheral retina. This procedure (also called laser therapy or photocoagulation) lasts about 30–45 minutes for each eye.
- injection: A medicine is injected into the eye. This might be done as an alternative to, or along with, laser surgery. This is a newer treatment and results are promising, often allowing the blood vessels to grow more normally. Research is ongoing to determine the long-term side effects of the medicine on premature infant https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/rop.html
The day of the surgery came, we chose Avastin injection(Avastin medicine needs to inject directly on her eyeballs) since the process will only take 10-15 minutes compared to 45 minutes laser without anaesthesia and she’s awake for the whole treatment. Imagine her crying the a whole 90 minutes (45 minutes each eye), a mother can take only so much. The treatment went fine but we still need to put antibiotic to her eyes every hour to prevent infections and this will be more harmful. So we set the alarm every hour for her eye drops until early next morning and thank God it was a success.
Come monthly check up. I can’t forget how an equipment forced her eyes open to check for the roots if its growing, her loud cry because of discomfort or even from pain, her little body confined tightly in a blanket. Finally after 7 or 8 months of check up, we received the good news. Her eyes were fully developed and maybe one of the fastest since she even not reached her first year of age yet, God is really good! I believe that her early pains turned her pain tolerance to be high since she didn’t even winced if a needle pierced her for her immunisation or for laboratory check up.
Now our brave little angel is more than 2 yrs old, turning 3 in November. She is bubbly, funny, smart, sometimes cranky and a drama queen but cute and a bully kid (hahaha), she always bullied her big sisters . We were just so happy and thankful to God that we (especially my brave little one) have overcome this challenge in our lives.
This is her during her NICU days.
This is her now that she is two years old.
Written by: April Sucgang