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.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What we know so far

Many of you may have already received this email, however I may have missed some. John and I have decided that starting a blog is probably the best way that we can inform and update people on her condition. I also don't want to hide anything or keep anything a secret - I need the support right now!

We will be leaving for Pittsburgh tomorrow - taking the drive over two days as advised by my Perinatologist. We are planning to arrive in Pgh on Saturday and I have an appt with a high-risk Dr. at West Penn Monday.


At Stella's 20 week ultrasound she was measuring 4 weeks small. The Dr. told me to try and gain weight and that we would re measure her in three weeks. That appt was Tuesday (the hardest day of my life - so far). At that u/s the tech showed us a foot that was supposedly deformed, reported that she had not grown, and just seemed generally concerned. Stella was curled in a ball and was not moving very much. John and I could barely look at the screen. The Dr. came in and told us that he would set up an appt with a fetal specialist in Louisville for the next day. Yes, we live so far in the sticks that we have to drive 4 hours to get to a decent Dr!

Tuesday night was unbearable!!! I didn't sleep and had several panic attacks.

Yesterday we made the 4 hr. treck up to Louisville to see Dr. P. His office is full of newspaper articles about record breaking premies that he has saved. I started to feel a bit better. We had another u/s and even before the tech could say anything John and I knew that Stella just looked a little better. She was punching and kicking, moving all around, so much so that the tech was finding it hard to get the measurements. But she did and Stella is still measuring 4 weeks behind.

Dr. P comes in, takes the wand and starts looking around himself. He told us that she is severely growth restricted. My placenta is very small and instead of having a three vessel cord she only has a two vessel cord. He informed me that there were several reasons this could happen - however, I don't really fit a lot of them... smokers, drinkers, diabetics. So he said that I will have to have an amino to rule out chromosomal abnormalities. Then as he is still looking at Stella he sees an extra gestational sack... Dr. P believes that Stella had a twin. That twin did not even make it to an embryo, but that the sack is taking up room in my uterus causing the placenta to be small.

I still had to have the amino - which is HORRIBLE!!! Because they still have to rule out chrom ab. So what do we do now??

Dr. P wanted to put me on hospital bed rest to be monitored right away. However, I asked if I could go to Pittsburgh to do this so that I could be close to family. Since Pgh has top notch hospitals he said yes. We are in the process of getting ourselves together to go home so I can be monitored at West Penn hospital. The odds are that Stella will not make it in utero past 28 weeks. That is the reason that I have to be monitored in the hospital. As soon as the placenta stops working - which it will bc of her condition - she has to be taken right away!! If she can hold on one more week to 24 weeks she has a 15-30% chance of survival, 28 weeks 90% chance.

Please pray for my little girl!! She is a fighter and I know she just wants to fight - as she was caught yesterday punching the placenta like a punching bag.

I will post as much as I can... as I found with my running blog, blogging helps me release feelings! This is going to be a difficult journey.


  1. All my prayers for Stella, Mamma and Daddy! I love you, Team Spinda! So glad you're writing.

    Just remember your only job right now is to take care of you and baby girl. I'm here to listen, offer a shoulder to cry on, cry with you and to help you minimize stress by any means necessary! Same goes for John. Love you all.

  2. Team Spinda,

    I'm here anytime you need anything. I have my gmail up all day so feel free to email me if you need to talk or just get bored.

    You're in Team Cypher's thoughts and prayer.
    Love you!