The Danford Family
Twelve years ago I was twenty-two weeks pregnant with my first son, Colby. Everything was going great. One day, while walking my dog I fell and landed on my belly. We rushed to the doctor, to get checked out and luckily everything was fine. A few weeks later, I was in a lot of pain and started having contractions. I was worried and called my mom. She told me to call the doctor. The doctor had me come in and it was determined that I was in labor, at just thirty weeks. I was admitted to the hospital and they made every attempt to stop my labor, so that Colby could continue to grow. I received injections to help Colby’s lungs develop. I was released and place on bed rest, but that didn’t last long. Once again I was in labor and admitted to the hospital. This time, I was given medicine to stop my contractions but Colby was on his way! He was born at thirty-four weeks. The team of nurses and doctors were amazing and took him straight to the NICU. His dad and I were so scared. We were so young and first time parents. When we first got to see him, he had wires and tubes everywhere, we tried to listen to everything the doctors were saying but it was so much!! After three days, I was discharged and I had to leave my baby. Leaving him was the hardest thing I had ever had to do. After a few weeks, where able to bring our baby home and share him with the world.
Three years later, I was pregnant with my second son, Brodie. I was excited, but scared at the same time. Was this going to happen again? The doctors were careful to watch us both, very closely. Even so, I started having contractions at twenty-one weeks. I spent one week in the hospital, trying to stop the contractions. I went home, on bed rest. This happened three more times during this pregnancy. Knowing that he would be coming early, I had the injections again to help his lungs. We were exhausted. When I wasn’t in the hospital we visit our doctor every week. I was leaking fluid and we needed to keep a close eye on him. One night, I woke Brandon up because I was in a lot of pain and went to the hospital. I was in advanced labor. The NICU was informed that they would receiving a new baby soon. I was in labor for 8 hours and was again only thirty-four weeks pregnant. Brodie weighed 4 pounds and 7 ounces. I put my hand on the incubator just before they took him away. It was eight hours before I would see him again. It was so familiar, the IV’s the wires. Again, I was terrified. You would think I would have been prepared to see my baby like that, because I had been through it once before, but there is no way to be prepared to see your baby fighting for his life. Brodie stayed in the NICU for 17 days and then we finally were able to take him home to meet his brother.
My third pregnancy was very different. It was a year later and needless to say I was SHOCKED. We were very careful with this pregnancy and watched everything very closely and he was doing great. The first twenty-five weeks flew by with no problems. We were so excited to know that we would be able to bring our baby home and not have to stay in the NICU. And out of nowhere, I started having contractions. I was admitted to the hospital a couple of times, to stop my labor. But this was different, it was as hard to stop it, so we weren’t given any injections. We all thought he would be born full term and healthy. At thirty-five weeks I went in for a checkup, because I was in pain again and I had dilated to 8. I was rushed into the delivery room, but still everyone thought he would be fine. There wasn’t any special equipment or a team of people waiting to whisk him away. It was reassuring to know he was just fine. He was 5 pounds and 2 ounces and screaming his head off. Then we heard the words we never thought we would hear, “we need to call the NICU, he’s having trouble breathing”. I was so upset, my husband was torn between staying with Brock and staying with me. Two hours later I was able to see him, again with the wires and tubes. He was on a C-Pap machine because his lungs were severely underdeveloped. I hoped I would be able to take him home when I was released, but he wasn’t ready. Once again, I had to leave my baby at the hospital. I was devastated. Luckily the treatment he received was very effective and he was able to come home in just 9 days.
Brock still has chronic asthma that we have to watch very carefully, but that is the only health issue any of them have. We are so thankful for the work the March of Dimes does to support our NICU, educate the nurses and doctors and develop treatments for babies that are born too soon. Without this incredible work, I don’t know how my story would have ended. Thank you!