Tuesday, December 16, 2008

NICU Journey of Raley Parkman

Below is the story of Raley Parkman, a Footprints' baby. You may also visit her caringbridge page HERE. Raley had a long hard 3 months in the NICU, Praise the Lord she's now home! Thank you to Kadra, her mother, for sharing her her heart with us!

Have you ever thought about how life can change in a matter of one day, one moment or one second for that matter? A pregnancy that seemed so normal and right in one moment changed our lives in the matter of a second. I delivered my sweet baby girl, Raley, at 28 weeks gestational. I never even made it to my third trimester! Raley was born early Friday morning on July 11, 2008. She weighed 2 lbs 4 oz and was 14.5 inches long. After delivery I remember crying and asking while lying on the operating table “why isn’t she crying?” As a second time mom I remember the jubilation and warmth of hearing your child’s first cry. I never got that with Raley. She was immediately intabated and rushed to Baptist East Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Her first cry would be the first of many milestones that I would not experience for several weeks. Ignorant to the depth of the NICU because I had never been directly impacted by it, other than a supporter of the Footprint’s Ministry, I immediately learned how important and extremely necessary it was for the survival of my new tiny baby! Raley’s survival was not dependant on my womb anymore it was in the hands of the doctors and nursing staff of the NICU. The emotions of a normal pregnancy are difficult enough but this situation was ten fold to what I had experienced with the “normal” delivery of my son. Due to me having extremely high blood pressure and the risk of more seizures Raley was 24 hours old before I was allowed to see her, other than through the lens of our camera. My heart sunk with grief when I saw her tiny body lie there with wires and contraptions monitoring her and basically keeping her alive. What did I do to cause this? What could I have done to prevent it? If only I could have her back in my womb again where I could be the one breathing for her, not this man made contraption they call a ventilator! Emotion after emotion ran through my entire being at that second. During Raley’s stay in the NICU she was on the ventilator for two weeks, CPAP for several days and the nasal cannula for several weeks. She endured fluctuation in weight that delayed her progress and two different types of infections. She also battled to eat successfully with a bottle for the last month she was there. She had 8 blood transfusions and simply 91 days away from her family that wanted her home so badly. On October 11, 2008, exactly 3 month’s to the day of her birth, Raley was discharged from the NICU weighing 5lbs 9oz and 18.5 inches long. I will always remember the simple things about that day. Waking up with her and dressing her in her “going home” outfit. Seeing her in her car seat and being beside her during her first car ride. Sounds silly, right? Not to a mother who’s waited so long to do those simple things! Since her arrival home she has grown by leaps and bounds. At 5 month’s old she now weighs over 11 pounds and is perfect in every way. Her hands and feet are so perfect and delicate. Her smile is so sweet and warm and I cherish every breath I feel and hear. Although 3 month’s may have seemed like forever to us, it was only a small glimpse of life that we will treasure because our sweet angel survived and continues to gain strength with each new day the Lord has provided her. I will never take for granted each breath that one of my children take and I thank our God daily for them!

Our family will always be grateful for the love and support of all the people that took the time to write a simple note of encouragement, for the prayers lifted up on Raley’s behalf and the constant love and support from so many footprint ministry volunteers. We will also be eternally indebted to the staff at Baptist East NICU. We could have not asked for better love and care for our sweet angel. Each nurse and doctor has a special place in our hearts for giving us the gift of a healthy baby.

Kadra Parkman

"We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 2-3

A few days old in the NICU

At home with her Mommy!

Powerful Picture!


Steph said...

I do love that picture of Kadra's necklace! So glad she was able to share.