Tomorrow, Stella will be 26 weeks old. When we arrived in Louisville, our specialists estimated she would be born at 26-27 weeks. The past two weeks since we've been here, all we could think about is the hope that Stella would reach a large enough size to be viable in the NICU. When we arrived, she was estimated to be 10 0z. Two weeks is needed to truly determine if a child is growing due to inaccuracies. So our ultrasound today was a huge moment of anxiety and hope. According to the measurements, she has gained up to 12-13 ounces (350-370 grams). We were told recently that we would be lucky/happy to reach 350 grams. We'll she did it. Its a small victory.
To clarify, development is the bigger issue over size. If a baby is developing (e.g., brain, lungs, digestive systems) and is large enough (to fit breathing and feeding tubes, etc), that is better than being large enough to be in the NICU, but not having the "tools" to survive out of the womb. I hope that makes some sense. In sum, we are happy for winning a small battle, which is getting her to a size that (barely) viable. We can only pray her "tools" are good enough to make it when she comes out, which should be in the next 10 days or so, from what we are told.
A few members of the staff have used the "war" analogy to describe this time, as in "you have to be ready for battle at any time, any day, because the doctors may make the call to deliver at anytime". It seems cliche. Actually, it is; but what the heck. But I am going to go with it and take it a step further and use the "battle" within the "war" analogy.
Right now, we are all about winning battles. Some battles are won in losing wars, some battles are lost in winning wars. Some battles shift the axis of a war and alter it completely. I am hoping today's victory is one that shifts the balance towards Stella. We've been winning the small battles daily with her great scripts (30m heartbeat monitoring 2X a day). We've also been winning with our ability to keep it together as parents in the face of so much adversity and anxiety (although we both have our moments). We are winning in that we both have enhanced our understanding of God; me more than Shanna. I had yet to have a watershed moment in my life that the Lord came to me, but he has and I am thankful. This is more than convenience and will persist no matter the outcome he has determined for Stella.
I want to thank you all so much for the prayers, support, love, and time. We are thankful. I want to especially thank my sister Christine, who traveled 8 hours each way from Raleigh to be with us this weekend in Louisville. I also want to thank Brian and Rachel for coming by when they were in town yesterday. You are great friends and we are happy to have you (and the unreal ice cream!).
Who knows what the outcome of this war is? All I know is I am ready for battle daily, and I feel like I have a great army of supporters in each of you that read this or send us your love in some way. We need it, the time is coming where we will be tested. We are thankful more, now than ever.
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.