The King Family’s NICU Journey

Another month, another amazing story in the books! EBF is so thankful to the King family for sharing their story, but also for their desire to seek the support of others in their time of need. It is hard enough to realize the need for support when the trials are supposed to be over but to willingly seek it out is often another barrier to cross. We are so thankful for their bravery so that we can know them and pray for them! Here is the King’s NICU journey in their own words:

Hi my name is Lindsay, and I am married to the love of my life and my best friend Adam King. April 7th, 2017 is a day that I will never forget. It was more than the day that my son Ryland was born. This was a day that would forever change my life. Pregnancy and becoming a mother are things you hear about all the time, but what you don’t hear about are the things that could go wrong. 

November 18th, 2016 was the day I found out I was pregnant. Something that didn’t come easy for my husband and I. We tried for a little over a year and a half before we sought out help. I then found out I had PCOS and getting pregnant would be a little harder for us than it was for others, but with faith in God and having the best doctor by our side we knew eventually we would have the family we always hoped for.

Fast forward three months on medication to help us conceive we were shocked when we found out I was already 13 weeks pregnant. I also found out soon after that I had gestational diabetes. I was having to check my sugar four times a day. I also had to watch my diet very closely. Finally, I was moving into my third trimester. The main thing I prayed very hard for was a healthy full term baby. Once week 28 hit everything changed. It was flu season and everyone at work was sick so I felt like I was coming down with the flu as well. I came home from work feeling terrible so my husband mentioned checking my blood pressure since I was having quite a bit of swelling in my ankles. After checking my blood pressure, I was shocked to see that my blood pressure was very high. I knew I had a regular scheduled ultra sound appointment the next morning so I thought I would just take my medication and go to bed.

The next morning, we went to the doctor and I was still feeling terrible. After having the
ultrasound, we were rushed into a room and we automatically knew something wasn’t right. We met with our doctor where he told us that we needed to head on over to the hospital to run a few tests. This was our first child so we were scared to death what the outcome may be. After meeting with the high risk doctor we found out that I had Preeclampsia, a condition at the time I had never heard of. They monitored him and decided the best option was to be admitted and that they possibly may have to take the baby that night. They wanted to try to get two, 24 hour doses of steroid shots in before
delivery to help strengthen his lungs to give him a better chance at survival. Through the power of prayer, I made it two days for the steroid injections to run their course. I was also on magnesium which helped me survive the 2 days, but on the other hand wreaked havoc on my body.
At 2:00 PM on April 7th , 2017 I was taken in for an emergency c section. At 2:41 PM our 2 pound 14 inch sweet little Ryland Lee King was born. He was sent directly to the NICU. NICU? What is it? Whereis it? How long will he have to stay in there? When can I hold my baby? These were all the questions running through our minds. Everything was so overwhelming and we really couldn’t be excited that Ryland was here because we were so worried about his health.

I barely remember going into the NICU for the first time to visit my baby, but it was something that will stick with me forever. Seeing your child in an isolette hooked up to so many wires, monitors, machines, & fighting for his life is something you can never be prepared for. Ryland started out on the ventilator but was able to move down to a C-Pap after two days, later he eventually graduated to oxygen by nasal cannula. Day 7 in the NICU I was finally able to hold my baby boy for the first time. This was a day I had always dreamed about while not in these exact circumstances, but I was so very thankful
he was alive.42C16E53-EB2E-4013-8AB6-F770B6B9F8F0

The next day we found out that Ryland was septic and in need of a blood transfusion ASAP. Again we had to see our sweet boy continue to fight for his life. Over the next few days Ryland dropped down to 1 pound 10 ounces. I feel like this was our lowest point throughout our stay in the NICU. We went from getting to hold our child for the first time to getting told it may be a while before we could hold him again. Luckily 3 days later his health finally improved enough that Adam finally got to hold him for the first time.

The remainder of our NICU stay consisted of Ryland growing, gaining weight, learning to breathe on his own without oxygen, moving from the isolette to an open crib, learning to bottle feed rather than tube fed, to finally being unhooked from all machines and monitors. The only way that I can describe being in the NICU is a rollercoaster ride. One day you have a good day where you are on the highest of highs then the next you may have a setback which leads to the lowest of lows, but somehow we made it to our discharge day 53 days later.

Ryland was finally able to come home! As we loaded up our little 4 pound 10-ounce baby we
were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. As we pulled out of the parking lot of Saint Joseph East Women’s Hospital we were overcome with tears of joy that we were finally able to bring our baby home. Telling our story is truly special but actually seeing his journey is truly witnessing a miracle from God who we continue to thank every day for such a blessing.

One of the main things I learned throughout this journey is that the NICU journey doesn’t stop at discharge. Once we were home I struggled with postpartum depression and placed a lot of blame on myself for all of the things my son had been through. I heard about Early Bird Foundation from one of the co-founders when she reached out to me. She told me that she thought I would benefit from participating in one of the support group meetings.

Early Bird Foundation has helped me meet a lot of great people who have been through the
same situation. It has helped me to be able to share my story and find different ways to cope with the after effects of the NICU stay. It definitely helped me to find out that I was not alone in these feelings. After nearly 2 years of being out of the NICU we are looking forward to Ryland’s 2nd Birthday. He is a happy, healthy, loving baby who we love to continue to watch learn and grow every day.

As always, please join us in a prayer for this family as they continue healing from their experience and moving forward with joy as their sweet child grows!

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