The Swafford Family

The Swafford Family

Jennifer Swafford shares the NICU story of Delaney Grace.

Seven years.

That’s how long it took both of us of patiently waiting, infertility tests, surgeries and most of all, praying. We were told we would have to have IVF in order to conceive a child, but instead, we believed in a miracle.

Seven years of waiting and then on March 12, 2015, we found out we would be having a miracle baby. We were in shock and disbelief when it finally happened. After battling seven years of infertility, a positive pregnancy test is shocking, thrilling and terrifying — all at the same time.

The pregnancy was picture perfect for six months. No sickness, felt great and everything looked perfect. We found out we would have a little girl (we were both quite surprised because we were both fairly certain it would be a boy). We were ecstatic!

On August 10, my “easy” pregnancy changed when I went in for my glucose test. My doctor immediately sent me to Northside Hospital. My blood pressure was high and they were very concerned. After several days of testing, we learned I had developed preeclampsia. I was put on strict bed rest until the baby arrived.

I spent a month on strict bed rest with weekly visits to my doctor.

On September 12, I had intense stomach pain and an elevated blood pressure that would not come down. I rushed to Northside “just to make sure” everything was OK.

Delaney Grace was delivered that night at 31 weeks, 6 days, weighing in at 3 pounds 2 ounces.

Our miracle baby had arrived!

We were not prepared for the long NICU road ahead. I never planned on having Delaney so early and I certainly wasn’t prepared to spend the next two months in the NICU at Northside.

I was terrified, to say the least. Would she be OK? Would there be long-term effects to her being born so early? How was I going to make it with her in the NICU and me at home? Those were just a few of the questions running through my head.

On a daily basis, I would drive to Northside to visit Delaney. I was lucky enough to have my mom close by, who was able to go with me three days a week and short term time at work, so I would not have to worry about my job. My visits were short at first, spending the first few weeks doing “kangaroo care” at one of her feedings daily. Because she was so little, I could only hold her for about an hour a day. As she grew and developed, the time I spent at the NICU became longer and longer. Delaney just needed time to grow, learn to breathe on her own and learn to eat.

The weeks went by and we dealt with de-sets, bradys, a PDA (open heart valve) and all the other NICU terms that I did not know then but now I know very well.

Through it all, the NICU nurses at Northside Hospital were our angels. They answered our bajillion questions and reassured us that we were doing the right thing. They gave us advice and helped us every step of the way. When it was time to take Delaney home, we were prepared more than most to take care of a newborn thanks to the incredible staff at Northside Hospital!

Delaney Grace went home on November 10, 2015 when she was 40 weeks and 1 day gestational. She is now a thriving, healthy one-year old. She has no long-term effects from her stay in the NICU. She is on the growth chart and is developing just like she should.

She is our joy, our fighter, our gift from God and she will always be our “Miracle Baby.”

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