We are the Spinda family (John, Shanna & Stella Mae) from Murray, KY... on February 1, 2011 at 10:27am our beautiful baby girl, Stella Mae Spinda, was born at 26 weeks gestation. She weighed 12.34 oz and was 9 in long - Stella suffered from Intrauterin Growth Restriction (IUGR) which caused both her extremely small size and her being born premature. Stella spent five days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Norton/Kosair Hospital in Louisville, KY. She passed away late on February 5, 2011 from complications of her extremely small size. This blog was started when she was 23 gestational weeks old and we discovered her condition. It's original purpose was to keep family and friends updated on Stella's journey - we now hope to use this blog as a way to continue Stella's journey by honoring her memory and also as a way to support others who are struggling with infertility or have lost a pregnancy or baby.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I was laying in my bed, on the fetal monitor, late morning/early afternoon on Sunday. I had just gotten off the phone with my mom, who had encouraged me to call the Chapel and see if a Priest could come and give me communion. John was not yet here and I felt very annoyed with my mom pressuring me to call for communion (even though I really did want it). Then I heard John's squeeky shoes coming down the hall - however, there was a knock at my door and John never knocks. In walks a priest with John right behind him. I just assumed that John had called him or saw him in the hall and asked him to come visit me. John turned my TV off and the Priest proceeded to read the gospel, do a quick homily, give me communion, and pray with John and I. After he left I asked John if he called him - he reported no and thought that I had. I asked the nurse if she had called him - she reported that he came to her with my name on a clipboard asking if he could come in and see me. I figure that they have to have somewhere in my chart that I am Catholic, but I don't remember ever writing it or telling anyone. I've never felt closer to Jesus as I did when I took communion Sunday. I knew that by taking the body of Christ, he was giving me the strength that I need to get through this. I am aloud to take wheelchair rides and walk around the floor a bit, so I will be able to go to church in the Chapel tomorrow. :)


Many of you have texted, emailed, and/or Facebooked us and we very much appreciate it!! I am still not able to talk on the phone with anyone but my mom. I'll text or IM you all day - I just feel like I may breakdown if I hear the sadness in anyone's voice. I can not break down right now! This journey is just beginning for our family and like my doctor said yesterday - this is the easy part. The hard part is going to come when she is out and in the NICU - we have been told that all preemies have a "honeymoon" period of a few days. They may look like they are going to breathe on their own, fight like hell, and come home earlier than expected... then they crash. This up and down continues until they either lose their fight or are stable enough to come home. This whole scenario scared the crap out of me. I question my strength and my ability to make it though this. My plan is to lean on my God, my husband, and Stella's will to live. Please keep the texts, emails, FB post, and especially prayers coming!! I feel the power of your prayers giving me more and more strength everyday.


I'm sure you are all dying for an "update." Unfortunately we are playing the most nerve wracking waiting game. I'm off constant monitoring - because her heartbeat has stayed fairly steady - and I'm now being monitored for 30 minutes every 12 hours. Stella has a reputation among the nurses as being elusive... I can feel her moving every once in a while, but as soon as the nurse puts that monitor on me she starts KICKING and MOVING! They find a good heartbeat that picks up on the monitor, then we hear what sounds like a thunderstorm at the same time that I feel a swift kick to the area of the monitor, and she is gone. That thunderstorm sound is her moving around in the fluid. A 30 minute monitoring usually takes about 20 minutes to even get started, then the nurse leaves the room thinking that she is going to cooperate, only to return in a few minutes to try and find her again. Eventually either Stella or the nurses give up - usually the nurses. But so far they have been able to get enough of a monitor to show that she is continuing to have a strong heartbeat.

We get ultrasounds every Monday-Wednesday-Friday. This is done to check a few things
1. The blood flow from the cord to her. This is the MOST important thing that they have to monitor. The reason is that my placenta is a "bad" placenta - it did not form properly, may have abrupted early and caused a blood clot in my uterus, and will eventually stop pumping blood to my girl waaay before it should. As long as the u/s is showing good blood flow she is safe in there. But as soon as it starts to show a major slow down or even a minor reversal in blood flow --- she NEEDS to come out!!!
2. They check my fluid levels. Women with IUGR can have low fluid, which of course can become a problem for baby.
3. Her movement - if she is just laying there, not moving very much it means that she is not feeling well. Even if the Doppler shows good blood flow she may not be getting enough oxygen. The fact that she is moving so much is a great sign and has also caused her to have a reputation among the nurses as being a fighter!
4. The last thing that they look for is "practice breathing" - this is when the baby "breathes" in the fluid in an effort to get ready to be on the outside. Most babies to this by 32 weeks and can start doing it as early as 20 or so. Because of her size, I was told several times by the u/s tech that she may never do this before she is born. They still have to look for it, but it's not a major problem that she is not doing it. However, as many of you may have seen on my FB status yesterday - Miss Stella was caught practice breathing!!!! The tech closes up on her belly, watches the lungs and lower abdomen very closely for movement. You can clearly see the heartbeat and that movement and then yesterday we could see the lungs and lower abdomen slowly shifting up and down. THAT IS A PRACTICE BREATH!

Yesterday when Dr. P came to see me he was just as happy as we were to see that she had done this. He continues to stay very positive, tell us to pray, but also pulls us back into reality and remind us that her condition is very critical. However, yesterday he squeezed my arm and said "I don't know why, but I'm very optimistic about this girl. I don't know why, but I really am."

We are attempting to remain optimistic as well.
God bless!!
Shanna and beautiful Stella!!

1 comment:

  1. Hey lady!! I just read this!! What an amazing story! I can tell that everyone is really excited about practice breathing. I am learning alot about all of this through you. It truly is a miracle what doctor's can do. Lord, I pray that you rain down courage and persaverance on the Spindas in these coming days. Cover Stella with your love and may she continue to be known as a little fighter. This I pray in Jesus name. Love to all of you.