Our StoriesTouching Stories from members of TLC
Allison Hope Scott
My pregnancy with Allison Hope was high risk due to my medical diagnosis of ulcerative colitis and the medication that I was on to keep my colitis in remission. In my fifth month of pregnancy I was admitted to the hospital because my bilirubin count was elevated. I had a liver ultrasound and a CT Scan of the liver during my week stay in the hospital and was diagnosed with cholestasis of pregnancy. While in the hospital all of my colitis medications were stopped and I was put on ursodiol to reduce my bilirubin levels. We were told that I would most probably need to deliver at around 34 weeks due to the cholestasis.
Little did we know that on our son, Sean’s birthday July 7, 2008, that my water would break at 24 weeks. There was meconium present, which typically signifies that the baby is in distress. These were not promising signs. Seeing that we were at the 24 week marker, we were also informed of our rights to terminate the pregnancy. We did not know what to make of the whole situation. However, we let the doctors, nurses, and other professional staff do what was necessary and I was put on full bed rest in the hospital. I was given Magnesium sulfate to help prevent me from going into labor and steroids to help the babies lungs mature.
Allison Hope was born two weeks later at 2:04am on July 21, 2008 weighing 2lbs. 1oz. The obstetrician didn’t even make it to the hospital in time, that’s how quick she was delivered vaginally with the resident there to receive her. The NICU staff came into the delivery room and took Allison from the resident and cleaned her up. They showed her to us for about 10 seconds and rushed her off to the NICU where she was intubated requiring high levels of oxygen. The neonatal doctor came to visit my husband and me in my hospital room later that day. He briefed us on the complications that Allison may incur. One of the lactation counselors came to my room later that day as well. I immediately began pumping breast milk, to store for Allison when she would be ready to begin feeds. Initially, she was placed on intravenous (IV) fluids and given total parenteral nutrition (TPN). I needed to pump 8 times a day at the beginning, and then it gradually reduced to 5-6 times a day.
Allison was given surfactant to help strengthen her lungs. She began feeds a week later only taking 2ccs every 3 hours through an OG feeding tube. Allison had her first blood transfusion three days after birth and needed three more during her NICU hospital stay.
Our son, Sean, was three years old at the time and would travel with us every weekend to the hospital and wait outside while my husband and I took turns visiting with Allison. He also had three sibling visits with Allison while she was in the NICU. He looked forward to the sibling visits and enjoyed visiting with his baby sister.
We were not able to hold our daughter, however we able to do containment hold, which I would do whenever possible. My husband had a difficult time with this and did not touch Allison until she was extubated and on the CPAP. She was given two courses of steroids, put on sedatives (due to her feisty personality), received nitric oxide, and attempted CPAP on two occasions prior to her contracting necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). At that time her feeds were stopped and she was given IV fluids, including total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and was tested for infections. On Saturday September 20, 2008 one of the tests came back positive for methicillin-resistant-staphylococcus-aureus (MRSA) infection and she was moved into a private room (isolation), so that she would not infect other babies. That same day she extubated herself and was placed on CPAP. We also received a call at 2am asking for permission to do a Central PICC line, seeing that when they shaved her head, for an IV it was unsuccessful. We look back at that day and say that this was her way of saying that she needed to be alone if she was going get her herself out of the hospital. From that day on, Allison began to thrive and stayed on CPAP and then two weeks later moved on to the nasal cannula.
While on the CPAP we were able to hold our daughter for the first time, which was over two months after her birth. That moment was indescribable. She remained in the private room until two weeks before her discharge from the NICU. The private room was a blessing in disguise.
When we were told by the attending doctor that Allison was going to be discharged and come home on Oxygen we were a little nervous. We met with a respiratory therapist from the oxygen supply company and shown how to use the portable oxygen and monitor. Allison was given her 1st dose of synagis to protect against Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), in the NICU and was discharged on October 22, 2008 three days before her due date of October 25, 2008. When she came home she received weekly nursing visits for about 5 months and got home based monthly synagis shots and received them for a second season as well. She also started early intervention services of physical therapy once she came home. Allison has been receiving wonderful follow up care since she was discharged from the NICU at 3 months old.
Allison is now a feisty, beautiful, and healthy 2 ½ year old, who is keeping up with her big brother, Sean, who is 5 ½ years old. It is amazing to see how far she has come, seeing that she spent the first three months of her life in the NICU. We thank all of the doctors, nurses, and support staff at North Shore University Hospital for all the care, love and support that they gave to Allison and to our family. Without them none of this would have been possible.