Let me tell you about my girl, Carrie! She’s a terrific writer with two published books under her belt, a resilient woman, and a wonderful friend. A caring balance of patience and might is she! And I’m proud she stopped on by The Freelance Dance to share her inspiring story. Enjoy!
As a Christian, I often hear people ask, “How do you know God exists?” You hear all kinds of answers from “He got me through a really tough time” to “He blessed me when I really needed it” to “I just do”. Me? I know God exists because I exist. By medical standards, I’m not supposed to be here.
This Is My Story
“I don’t think she’s going to make it.” the doctors told my parents just after I was born.
These are the bone-chilling, life-draining words no parent ever wants to hear. I arrived on a Thursday in November 1980. Not due until February, around Valentine’s Day, but for some reason, I just couldn’t wait that long. Only 29 weeks along and I weighed 2 lbs, 9 oz. I fit in a tissue box. My Mom heard one cry out of me after I was born and that was it for four-and-a-half months.
The Fight for My Life
I had many complications from my unexpected birth. The first of them was Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA). PDA is a congenital heart defect in which the ductus arteriosis (a fetal blood vessel) fails to close after early birth. It results in irregular transmission of blood between the aorta and the pulmonary artery. It was surgically repaired at two days old – leaving a moon-shaped scar on my back.
Brain Swelling, Collapsing Lungs, and Liver Problems
I developed hydrocephalus (water on the brain) due to bleeding, and a shunt was surgically implanted to drain it. I had breathing problems and seizures, which were relieved by the drain. Although, I was on phenobarbital for a year after.
5-6 rounds of collapsed lungs had me on and off a ventilator.
On down the line, I was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia. To combat it, my doctors performed a modified Kasai. In the procedure, a damaged duct outside the liver is removed. It is then replaced with a new drainage system made from a piece of small intestine to form a Y-shaped passageway. This connects to both the liver and intestine which allows the bile to drain properly, correcting the problem.
In the modified version they did on me, they took a piece of my liver the size of a dime and connected it to my intestines. I had no bile problems after.
A Double-Edged Sword
As I got older, I had a lazy eye corrected. There were some developmental delays and I underwent lots of therapy to catch up. My Mom said when they tested me for a learning disability, they couldn’t understand how I had scored so high on the Reading and Language Arts portions. It was because I scored low in Math and Science. (I say God compensates for everything.)
I was five when my brother came along, also prematurely. He weighed less than I did and was far worse off. I can still remember going into the NICU and holding his little hand in the palm of mine.
At his funeral, I remember him lying in a casket in his little blue suit. Tragically, my parents have seen the double-edged sword of premature births.
To Parents of Preemies,
Today, I am a happy, healthy 35-year-old woman. Complications no longer linger with me.
If you are reading this and have a premature baby in the hospital, don’t despair. Modern medicine has grown leaps and bounds since 1980, when I was born. Don’t give up hope, and don’t lose faith.
Although all circumstances are different, remember that God is holding your little one in the palm of His hand.
Carrie Lowrance is an author and freelance writer for hire. Her work has been featured on Indebted Mom, Must Love Cats, and Huffington Post. She has also written two books of poetry, Lithium Dreams And Melancholy Sunrise and The Safety Of Objects as well as published her first children’s book, Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green). When she isn’t writing she enjoys cooking, baking, reading and spending time with her husband.