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Reagan all wired up

I found out my daughter had Gastroschisis when I was about 24 weeks pregnant. I had no idea what it was at the time and it was VERY scary for my husband and I. However, we did a ton of research and by the time we actually had her, I felt very prepared for what was to come. I started having twice weekly NST's (non-stress tests) and a once weekly ultrasound at 27 weeks. Also once a week I would have an appointment with the high-risk OB. While it was very reassuring to have these, I think it really dragged out the pregnancy and made me worry continuously between the appointments. I continued working throughout the pregnancy and the only thing the doctors ever really told me to do was make sure to keep hydrated because I also had low amniotic fluid.

Do I look good in this?

I started having contractions at about 32 weeks. They were very light and came and went. They started to get more regular around 35 weeks, but they were never very strong so they were just seen as Braxton-Hicks contractions. Because the doctors told me that you usually go into labor early when you have a baby with Gastroschisis, I was constantly worried about it. While I have heard that some doctors take the baby at 36 weeks, my doctors were going to let me go to 39. This wasn't the case, however, as I went into labor at 36 6/7 weeks. My labor was pretty short, so that was nice. The only bad part was that it seemed every doctor in the hospital was in my room. My daughter, Reagan, came out weighing 4 lbs. 14 oz. and she was 19 1/2 in. long. The NICU team was there ready to whisk her away as soon as she was born. I got to see her about 3 hours later, but it would be 3 days before I got to hold her.

In recovery
No part of her intestines were damaged enough to have to be removed, so they were able to put all of her intestines, along with her stomach, a fallopian tube and an ovary, all back inside her about 8 hours after she was born. They did no cutting, just put everything back in the hole that was already there. They used her umbilical cord as a first dressing over the hole, and then covered it with a gauze pad and tape. She had a ventilator, NG tube, and an IV in both arms to begin with. It seemed like the doctors were always telling me to expect the worst, even when things were going well. She had a bowel movement within the first day she was born, and continued to have one at least every other day. She was off Oxygen completely, other than room air, within 1 week. Because the fluid they were sucking out of her stomach had cleared up and there was less of it, they began feeding her after about 1 1/2 weeks. She tolerated her feeds very well. She never once spit up and was able to eat as much as she wanted within 4 days.

A smiling Reagan
She was having bowel movements, eating well, breathing well, gaining weight, and her incision site looked great. After 2 weeks and 1 day in the NICU, we were able to go home! At the Univeristy of Iowa Hospital, it is the earliest they have ever sent a baby with Gastroschisis home. While we were in the hospital they kept telling me to expect Reagan to take steps back because things never went that well, and she never did. I just want everyone reading this to know that you don't always have to expect the worst. I believe that the prayers of my family and friends, along with our optimism , are what helped Reagan to heal so well. We never expected her to take any steps back, rather, we cheered her on to stay strong and keep progressing and that's exactly what she did. She is now beautiful and healthy as can be!.