Children’s Miracle Network – Aubrey

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Having children is a major dream for many couples, and this was the case for Antoan and Quishawna who spent the first 6 and a half years of their marriage trying to get pregnant. “We tried everything for years, but nothing seemed to work,” said Quishawna. “When I got pregnant with Aubrey, we were just elated. I was finally about to be a mother.” However, the pregnancy quickly brought with it a road of challenges. “I was sick pretty much the whole time. I was just really nauseated.”

When Quishawna went in for a checkup at 30 weeks, she learned that her blood pressure was high and the doctor admitted her for a couple of days to monitor it. “When I was discharged, my mom came to ensure I stayed on bedrest. But my blood pressure stayed high, and my ankles got so swollen – 3 times their normal size.”

Their goal was to make it to 34 weeks, but with Quishawna’s rising blood pressure, this became an impossibility. They went in for another checkup at 32 weeks 2 days and asked if Quishawna had her bags packed. “I didn’t, so they told me to pack my bags and bring them when I came in again.” The next morning, she and Antoan received the call to come back in. Following a blood pressure check, she was admitted to the hospital where she was given hydralazine and magnesium sulfate. “My blood pressure was so high – somewhere around 200 over 170. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it at one point,” she said. “I had to sign a living will and other end of life papers. It was scary, but I knew it was in God’s hands.” At that point, the doctors decided to turn the medicine off and deliver.

On June 19, 2018, Aubrey was born via emergency C-section at 32 weeks and 3 days, weighing 3lbs 8oz. She was immediately admitted to the NNICU. “She was really strong and was able to breathe room air, but to be on the safe side, they gave her oxygen through a CPAP,” said Quishawna. This would be the first of 21 days Aubrey spent in the NNICU. She wasn’t able to eat for the first 4 days, but by the fifth day, she was able to take 5ml of food. This increased to 18ml by day 7.

“We began trying to bottle feed on the sixth day, which was difficult, but she was able to eat from it sometimes,” said Quishawna. “By the ninth day, we were able to start skin-to-skin kangaroo care. We couldn’t do it much at first, but the doctors were 100% supportive.” After two weeks in the NNICU, Aubrey’s strength had risen significantly. They were able to have 8 touch times and she drank 7 out of 8 bottles. By day 16, her weight had risen to 3lbs 14oz, and by day 18, her feedings were over 32ml each. Throughout this difficult time for Aubrey, Quishawna was still dealing with her own health issues. “After 3 weeks my blood pressure was still high. I had the only emotional breakdown I’ve ever had,” she said. “But one of the residents who had Aubrey as his case study was so supportive. He had other deliveries that day, but he gave me as much time as he could spare. He even came in for us on his days off.” After 6 weeks, with a low sodium diet, Quishawna finally started to feel normal again.

On Aubrey’s 20th day in the NNICU, she was able to be moved to an open crib with a blanket. The very next day, at 8am, Quishawna received the happiest call of her life – it was the hospital letting her know that Aubrey could go home. “We were just so happy. They don’t tell you beforehand to expect that call so you don’t get your hopes up.” Aubrey was discharged with her parents on July 10, 2018. “The doctors and nurses were just so supportive the entire time. When your baby is in the NNICU, you’re learning all these new terms and looking up everything, so it’s a little overwhelming. I just can’t say enough about them,” said Quishawna. “I was actually supposed to have a baby shower the day Aubrey was born. It was rescheduled for a few weeks later, and our nurses made me go! They called my husband and had him come get me,” she added with a laugh. “They truly care.”

“One of the things that got me through such a difficult situation was talking to other NNICU parents. Talking to them helps tremendously because no one else truly understands the way they do,” said Quishawna, reflecting on her experience. Since being discharged, she’s had the opportunity to help others going through similar situations. “A family who I didn’t know personally, but knew of through one of their relatives, contacted me for advice when their baby was admitted to the NNICU,” she said. “Being able to be that voice of support for someone else was truly a blessing.”

Following their experience with the Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital, Quishawna and Antoan wanted to do something to give back. With little spare time and few stores in the area, shopping for preemie clothes is a challenge for couples in the NNICU. “We decided to start a ‘preemie closet’ for other parents, so they could shop and pick out clothes for their babies,” said Quishawna. “I made a Facebook post about it, not really expecting much.” But within 10 minutes, a few of her friends had already donated $25. Within a week, the campaign had raised over $400, allowing them to order preemie clothes from Carter’s, in addition to clothes donated from others.

On December 13, 2018, they set up their first closet in one of the hospital conference rooms. Parents were able to come in and choose whatever clothes they wanted. Nurses went through and picked out clothes for the children of parents who couldn’t be there. The first closet was a big success, and Quishawna wanted to help more people. “I made another post in January and we received even more donations. We’re now going to have a permanent spot in the new Children’s Hospital so preemie parents can come get whatever they need.”

Since being released from the hospital, Aubrey has done well. “She had one cold, but it wasn’t serious,” said Quishawna before sharing more wonderful news. “We’re actually now expecting our second child, due in September! This pregnancy has been going amazing. I’ve completely cut out sodium and I’m drinking plenty of water. I feel so much better, and I’m confident I can go full term this time.” Robins Financial Credit Union has partnered with the Children’s Miracle Network to raise money during a 6-week campaign that we are calling Miracle May. Help us reach our $30,000 fundraising goal to help kids like Aubrey receive the treatment they need.

To make a donation, stop by any of our branches or call our Call Center. Branches will also host special fundraising events every Friday during the campaign. Help us create more miracles for children in our community through Children’s Miracle Network.