Jack’s story begins in June of 2010 when we found out we were pregnant. This would be our second child as Kendrick, was almost three. I experienced some early complications and went in for an ultrasound on August 2, Kendrick’s third birthday. We were excited and shocked to learn we were expecting, not one, but two babies. With excitement also came fear as it appeared the babies were monoamniotic or sharing an amniotic sac. This condition can be very dangerous because the babies’ cords can become tangled.
We were sent to St. Vincent to see a perinatologist and we were very happy to find a membrane between the babies. At this point, both of the babies looked good and things were progressing well. On September 20, we went for another ultrasound and sadly found we had lost Baby B. Baby A was also in trouble and measured only 16 weeks when we were 19 weeks along in the pregnancy. The perinatologist advised that it was probably an intrinsic problem and did not give us much hope. However our regular obstetrician, Dr. Sam, supported us and gave us hope that Baby A might survive.
Baby A , who we found was a boy, continued to grow as we checked on his growth every 2-3 weeks. I remember Dr. Sam saying, “He’s going to be just fine”. He still remained small, but looked healthy otherwise. Dr. Sam monitored the pregnancy very closely and when my blood pressure began to creep up, she made the decision to give me steroid injections to help the baby’s lungs develop in case we needed to deliver early.
On December 20, we went in for our weekly biophysical profile, and to measure the baby’s growth. Right away the ultrasound tech noticed there was not much amniotic fluid. As she began to take measurements, I knew he had not grown since the last time we measured him. I was 31 weeks along in the pregnancy, and the baby measured the size of a 25-26 week baby. I knew he would be coming soon, but I had no idea how soon!
I waited to see Dr. Sam and she had spoken with the perinatologist who was surprised to find I was still pregnant. They had planned for me to receive another round of steroid injections and watch the baby very closely and deliver on December 24 when I would be 32 weeks.
At the last moment, Dr. Sam decided to perform a stress test to further check on the baby. I had just had the biophysical profile test and the baby did well, but because of divine intervention, I believe, she performed this test. The nurse had a hard time finding the baby’s heart rate when she began the test. I didn’t panic too much since we had just seen him on ultrasound. However, Dr. Sam came in with the portable ultrasound machine and she looked worried. They could not find his heartbeat and I was rushed to the women’s center.
Jack Henry Pena was born on December 20, at 1233 weighing 1lb 10oz and just over 12 inches long. He came out crying and was small, but mighty. Jack spent exactly 8 weeks in the NICU at St. Elizabeth East.
You can read more about his time in the NICU here.