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My first baby, Jade was diagnosed with gastroschisis at 13 weeks gestation. During a follow up ultrasound they also found that she had a single umbilical artery and a choroid plexus cyst in her brain. We opted not to have the amniocentesis because we didn’t want to put her at any greater risk. Little Jade was already on the bad end of the statistics.

We were carefully watched during the rest of the pregnancy. Every 3 weeks we had an ultrasound to inspect the bowel and watch her growth. Luckily, the cyst disappeared after 29 weeks, and the SUA never seemed to cause any problems aside from a bit lower birth weight common with gastroschisis babies anyway.

newly arrived after surgery
Jade on the day she was born
after surgery

After 30 weeks, the ultrasounds become weekly as well as non stress tests. At 35 weeks, Jade stopped moving and we were sent to the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City Utah. The next day, May 8th 2002, Jade Anne made her entrance by C-section. She was 4lbs 6oz, 17 ½ inches long. Her gastroschisis included her stomach and parts of both large and small intestine. On a scale of mild to severe, we were told her level of damage from the amniotic fluid was moderately severe. The intestines were swollen 10 times their normal size. Thankfully, they were complete and intact and didn’t seem to have any other problems.

three weeks old

Jade three weeks old

She was taken immediately to surgery at Primary Children’s Hospital(thankfully, joined to UofU by a hallway). After 3 hours we got the call from the surgeon that amazingly they were able to do a primary closure and Jade was doing fine. They had cut out her umbilicus in order to get all the bowel back in and be able to make a good closure. Seeing the before an after surgery pictures, it’s absolutely amazing that her scar is so tiny! They did fashion a bellybutton of sorts. To those that don’t know otherwise, they probably wouldn’t know anything was wrong.

Jade was on the ventilator for just 4 days. On the 2nd or 3rd day she was given a PICC line for her TPN. She also had the AG tube pulling up juices from her stomach since it couldn’t move through. Now it was just a matter of waiting for her bowel to begin moving.

five months four months
Jade at five months
Jade at four months

We waited anxiously for that first “messy diaper”. I never thought I’d be so happy to see one! After 3 weeks, there were bowel sounds but not movement. They gave her a suppository to help things move and it sure did! Two days after that we started her on Pedialite, and the next day ½ strength breast milk.

On May 30th Jade was doing so well she was moved from the NICU to the infant unit. There she developed an infection in her PICC line. The PICC line was removed and she had to start working up to normal feedings a bit sooner than they wanted.

jade today

Jade Today


All went well and to our surprise she was released June 4th, just 4 days before her due date. Within a week she was nursing very well. She never did nurse exclusively however. I highly recommend an electric breast pump for anyone planning to nurse! The picture above is at 1 year old. At one year she was in the 5th percentile for weight, and 30th for height. She has truly exceeded our initial expectations. Having her has been an adventure. One that I wouldn't trade for anything.