In late July 2013, we found that we were expecting. This was right after having experienced pregnancy loss the previous month in June 2013 which was a very difficult situation. After having recently walked the road of pregnancy loss and with all the knowledge of the importance of prenatal care (things I researched and learned after my niece was born a micro-preemie back in 2004), I was very diligent in following through with all prenatal care appointments and medications. At week 28, we went in for a routine ultrasound. Nicholas was measuring at 29 weeks, which was his standard—1 week ahead of schedule. Then at 32 weeks we went in for another routine ultrasound and realized quickly there were some red flags. Nicholas seemed to have only grown .5 weeks in 4 more weeks. He was now only 28.5 weeks along. After multiple additional scans and tests I was sent home and asked to return the next day for more testing. I went through a few more hours of scans and tests and then was referred to Dr. Roussis’ high risk team at Fort Sanders Regional here in Knoxville. Nick and I quickly relocated to Fort Sanders to undergo three more anatomy ultrasounds, more tests, more conversations, but nothing seemed to add up. After a few hours of this, Dr. Roussis told Nick that Nicholas was coming that night. It was a whirlwind of a day, and the final thing I remember him telling me was this: “In medicine there is data and there is experience. Right now the data doesn’t make any sense, but I’ve delivered over 15,000 babies and need you to trust me right now.” In the OR, I remember hearing the audible sigh of relief Dr. Roussis made when he 1) saw Nicholas was crying in the womb and 2) saw that my placenta had aged out prematurely. He had the answers he needed and a fighter of a baby after a long and stressful day.
I was fortunate to have access to a fantastic OBGYN group that guided and coached me through my first pregnancy, my miscarriage, and again through my third pregnancy. Without them the outcome may have been far different for us with Nicholas. I fully believe that the solid prenatal care that I had access to and practiced played a huge role in our story being a success story. Who knew that all those years ago when I dug into premature births after the birth of my niece that the information I learned back then would pay off in full for my own child? Nicholas weighed in at 3 lbs 2.5 oz, and he was categorized as a “feeder/grower.” We were told to expect him to be in the NICU for up to 8 weeks at least (that would get him to term), but with the focus and the resources of our NICU team he was able to break out just 3.5 weeks after birth at a solid 4 lbs. Nicholas is now almost 6 years old and more than we could have hoped for. We thank God for him every day, and we thank God for resources like the March of Dimes who provided all the teaching, training, and funding to help save every baby possible.