When I found out I was pregnant and that it would be a high risk pregnancy – I was shocked. For the first time in my life I couldn’t plan for the future because I didn’t know what to expect and this led to a lot of fear and anxiety. I questioned myself – What did I do wrong? What could I have done better?
At 20 weeks, we found out Olivia had Intrauterine Growth Restriction – IUGR for short – which means she wasn’t growing at the normal rate. At 30 weeks, we found out the IUGR was due to a restriction in Olivia’s umbilical cord and it was getting worse. There was a possibility Olivia wouldn’t survive. We were admitted at UW Medical Center in Seattle so I could be on bed rest and Olivia could be monitored.
Olivia was born weighing 3 pounds, 12 ounces and measuring in at about 17 inches. There was a room full of doctors when Olivia came into the world and all I heard was silence. I remember asking – “Why isn’t she crying? What’s wrong?” Olivia wasn’t breathing. She was quickly given oxygen, and after what felt like an eternity, she finally let out a tiny cry. I was only able to hold my tiny newborn for a few minutes before she was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Two-and-a-half years later we still don’t have a lot of answers. We are learning as we go. What we do know is that Olivia suffered a brain injury while I was pregnant, which could be the reason for her global motor delay – she also has hearing loss, impaired vision due to optic nerve hypoplasia, hypothyroidism, and requires a feeding tube to eat because she can’t swallow very well on her own.
After Olivia was released from UW Medical Center I was told Children’s Village would be contacting me about services – sure enough, within days of being home, Gretchen, our Family Resource Coordinator, contacted me about the birth to three program and the services Olivia could receive.
I was surprised to hear there was a place like this in Yakima. As a brand new mom taking care of a newborn with special needs, I was lost and I really thought we would be on this journey alone, but Children’s Village became our guide.
I worked with Gretchen to come up with a plan for services and within weeks we had therapists coming to our house working with Olivia – a speech therapist to work on getting Olivia to take food by mouth, an occupational therapist to help her build strength in her upper body so she could tolerate tummy time and hold her head up, sign language to expose her to another form of communication due to her hearing loss and physical therapy to help her build strength in her lower body so she can learn to crawl, stand, and one day walk. It’s been a difficult journey, but the therapy and resources Olivia receives from the Village is what has contributed to her success.
It wasn’t too long ago that I agonized over the thought that my baby girl may never be able to look at me and smile, hold her head up, touch my face, grab my hand, roll over or sit in my lap – things most families take for granted – but Olivia has accomplished all of these major milestones and more and continues to grow and develop, thanks to the Village and our amazing team of therapists.
Children’s Village has become a part of our family – they not only provide support for Olivia, but for me and my husband. Through the Parent to Parent program we have been connected with families who have children with similar issues.
When you donate to Children’s Village, know that you are giving to more than just services – you’re providing a place we can call home – a family we can relate to – and an invaluable resource we rely on to help our children succeed.