At 23 weeks and 6 days pregnant, Heidi’s water broke. She had gotten up in the morning just like any other day and started to make breakfast for her and her husband, Scott. They went to the hospital but only to be sent home 15 minutes later being told that the test was negative for amniotic fluids. Upset and confused as to why they were being sent home and how the test came back nagative, Heidi and Scott left the hospital and went home. A short while later, Heidi’s OB called and said that he wanted her to come in again JUST to be on the safe side, and, what do you know? Her water was in fact broken! It turns out, the nurse who did the test contaminated the fluids and it showed that her water wasn’t broken. Heidi was put on strict bed rest until baby Leona was born. Heidi is a CHAMP and made it to exactly 28 weeks. She had hoped to go longer, but her body wasn’t having it.
On September 2, 2013 at 10:12 am, sweet baby Leona was born, weighing 2lbs 10.5oz and 13.75 inches long. She was breathing on her own and even gave a sweet little cry! After 12 hours in the NICU, however, things changed. One of Leona’s lungs collapsed and she had to be intubated. After finding that a conventional ventilator wasn’t working, they then put her on an oscillator. Leona was intubated for 3 weeks with nitric oxide to oxygenate her over worked lungs. Then at 3 weeks old Leona had a PDA ligagtion (heart surgery) as well as 3 blood transfusions and 1 platelet transfusion. This poor little angel was/is such a little fighter, even through additional complications such as, brain bleeds, chest tube after surgery, pulmonary hypertension, chronic lung disease, 3 small vsd’s (different type of hole in her heart) and stage 1 ROP (condition common to preemies with their eye development).
After Leona’s heart surgery, the head thorasic cardiologist said that in his 30 years doing what he does, Leona’s PDA was the biggest he’d ever seen. The hole was bigger than her aorta! Heidi and Scott were told and one point that they needed to prepare for the worst because the outcome was looking very grimm for a while.
After a long and unimaginably heartbreaking 91 days in the NICU, Leona was released to go home! Heidi and Scott are such amazing parents and their faith is just astounding. Leona still has a long road ahead with very frequent doctors appointments and physical therapy. But she is healthy and thriving which is SUCH a blessing!
I am so overjoyed that I had the honor of being one of the few that have been able to meet this precious little girl. Because of Leona’s compromised immune system, Heidi and Scott limit visitors to a very small minimum until she is healthy enough.
Heidi and Scott, you two are warriors. Really, you are. The strength you two have had to have in the last 3 1/2 months is mind blowing. And it’s so comforting to know that you acknowledge that Christ is the One who was/is the source of that strength. Thank you so much for inviting me into your home to meet and photograph your sweet little angel. <3
If you are easily offended by a mother nursing her child, then I kindly suggest you not view some of the following images.