Ebony J. Ford
Author: Dana Hall, mother of 23 weeker Yasin
Hi my name is Dana Hall. I am the loving mom of 6. 3 girls ages 19,12, and 21 months. 3 boys ages 11,9, and my little 45 weeks corrected warrior. I am in a relationship with an amazing man, and we reside in PA.
My first pregnancy wasn’t really complicated, it just blindsided me as I had only been getting my menstrual for 3 years (irregularly), and by the time I confirmed pregnancy I was already 19.5 weeks. I delivered my baby girl at a little over 22 weeks, 1 lb. 3 oz. The three pregnancies that followed were perfect and full term. Pregnancy number 4 resulted in IUGR, and I was induced at 36 weeks, delivering a beautiful 4 lb 15 oz baby girl who came home in 3 days. The last and final pregnancy is my currently hospitalized preemie.
All my pregnancies after baby #1 were planned, uneventful, and no complications until the main events of those who weren’t full term. The one thing that stands out from my last pregnancy is I had been sick for 6 weeks leading up to the day of hospitalization. No major ailments other than a lingering cough that just wouldn’t quit, and I had such a hard time keeping my wind with small tasks like walking up the stairs of our home. I went to the doctor 2 days prior because I just couldn’t understand why my breathing and body get so labored. In hindsight I believe it may have been an early stage of Covid as it was the entire month of January and first two weeks of February. I delivered 2/12/20.
Within seconds of being intimate with my partner, I noticed bright red bleeding and immediately left the home at 1:30 am to drive to the hospital. I knew this couldn’t be good. I arrived to the ER, and after ultrasound was told the baby was absolutely fine, and they just needed to find the source of the bleeding. Upon internal exam I was told my bag was bulging...picture an hourglass...half of the bag inside the cervix and half of the bag out. It’s at that time they told me I was going to miscarry as there was nothing they could do. Very, very confused, as this hospital was #2 in the region I asked “well what about the NICU?”. Super matter of fact-ly and he doctor told me,
“Research has shown pregnancies aren’t viable before 23 weeks and that ’s the cutoff for our NICU.”
I was floored & absolutely stunned because I could see she was very serious about not even trying to save my baby. It’s at that moment I sat straight up and told them about the will of a baby to live, and God being in control & how I have a 19 yr old college student born at 22 weeks who is perfect in every way. I pretty much lost it and chastised them for speaking this way over a matter of 2 days as I was at that time 22 weeks 5 days. Fast forward after I raised absolute hell I was brought to L & D where I was given all the worst scenarios of survival etc. I remained vigilant in expressing how I don’t care about anything other than them trusting their ability to use their education, and me trusting the prayer warriors on my end for the rest. I was put on total bed rest and told I’d have to remain that way until I delivered or reached 32 weeks. I ended up delivering 5 days later at 23 weeks 2 days .
My little warrior prince Yasin was born weighing 1 lb 4 oz, came out breathing on his own & kicking ferociously. The nurse took my phone and took a pic before they rushed him off. I had complications with my placenta not detaching and had to be put under in order for them to complete that process. The NICU wasn’t a new experience for me so my major concern was keeping Dad comfortable, and not allowing the worst case scenarios cloud his faith. Our son had pneumothorax of the right lung and ultimately needed 3 chest tubes to alleviate the pressure in his chest. We were very worried about his survival during this stage. After about 2 weeks he no longer required the chest tubes but his oxygen requirements remained quite high, and he had some diaphragm paralysis on the right side due to the chest tubes which didn’t help with the oxygen requirements. He also had a level 2 brain bleed, and later on down the line due to the continued oxygen was diagnosed with a very mild case of ROP (level 1).
We have not spoken about discharge yet but are due to on Monday 7/20/20. I am so filled with joy to say our sons brain bleed completely absorbed without ever worsening. His mild ROP regressed and he doesn’t require a follow up for 6 months. His diaphragm paralysis resolved itself and it now moves up and down perfectly normally. He has been off the breathing tube for 2 months, is at the lowest level of CPAP, and if all continues well he begins to learn how to bottle feed next week. He has been taking a pacifier for at least 4 months due to them noticing he would suck on the breathing tube so we know bottle feeding should be a breeze. Did I mention our little ham is 10 lbs 14 oz and is in the 50th-75th percentile for all his growth charts?
We are just so proud, amazed, and grateful of this blessing God had bestowed upon us. He is the strongest boy I know & I am so glad I advocated for him as they flat out were going to count our baby out. Black women are treated so unfairly in the health system. I too have been expressing wanting to be a voice for those who may not have had the strength or mental state I did during a time as critical as the ER. . It’s been the hardest on his siblings because due to Covid they can’t visit the hospital; thankfully he has a live streaming webcam on his crib that they can watch 24/7 except when cares are being performed. We are currently transforming his sisters princess unicorn nursery into a unisex nursery and everyone is so excited for the day he comes home.
Follow Yasir's journey to NICU graduation by clicking here.
Be sure to leave any comments, questions and well wishes you have for Dana & Yasir in the comment section.