Mum shares incredible pics of baby born at 22 weeks…2 weeks before abortion limit making her one of the world's earliest
A MUM has shared incredible images of her baby – who was born at just 22 weeks and two days – making her one of the earliest in the world.
Lura Lauer, 28, went into labour on July 15, four months before her November 16 due date, and was warned any tot born before 24 weeks was unlikely to survive.
Lura and fiance Ricky Garcia, 39, were expecting twins – but tragically one of their girls passed away after just two days.
Their surviving daughter Lyric, now three weeks old, is her mum's "little fighter" – and the parents are determined to keep the faith.
Lyric was born two weeks before the UK's legal abortion limit – 24 weeks – although the rules are different in the US, and the limit is 20 weeks in her home state of North Carolina.
Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, yoga teacher Lura, from Charlotte, North Carolina, tells her story…
We found out I was pregnant in March and I was told we were having twins at my first appointment with my gynaecologist.
We were completely shocked, I had no idea twins even ran in my family – but it turns out they do.
It was a pretty rough pregnancy – I was sick all day every day for my whole first trimester and much of my second.
By the time the sickness stopped, I was growing very quickly and started having what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions (false labour pains which are common in pregnancy) from around 20 weeks.
But I was seeing my gynaecologist and a specialist in multiple pregnancies regularly and they told me everything looked normal, so I wasn't concerned.
On July 14, I had an appointment and explained about the contractions – but the doctor reassured me it was probably Braxton Hicks.
The doctor said they wouldn't resuscitate my babies because they didn’t have the capability to care for babies that young. It felt like a nightmare
I teach yoga, I'm a very active person and was told it was fine to continue doing classes, so went to one that evening, thinking it might help with the pain.
When I got home from the class, my contractions had worsened. I was up all night, crying and in so much pain I couldn't sleep.
The next morning, on July 15, I told my fiance ‘this doesn’t feel normal’, so we called the hospital and asked what we should do.
They asked us to time the contractions, to see how frequent they were.
I told them ‘it’s one right after another’ – so they told me to come straight in.
I went to my local hospital first, Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center. They checked my cervix and said I was already 3cm dilated.
I was horrified and asked 'does that mean I'm going into labour?'
They said ‘we’re going to do what we can to stop the labour process’, because I was only 22 weeks and two days at that point.
They gave me medicine to stop the contractions, but then the neonatal doctor came to talk to us.
He told us the hospital we were at do not resuscitate if you give birth to a baby at less than 24 weeks.
He said if I was to give birth that day, I would have to say goodbye because they’re not viable at that age.
They said they didn’t have the capability to care for babies that young. It felt like a nightmare.
So we made the decision to transfer to the Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, which had better facilities for neonatal intensive care (NICU).
At that point I was stable enough to be transferred and it was only a 15-minute drive away.
I think Lyric is an example that – even when the doctors are unsure – hope, faith, determination and love are such powerful energies. I believe that's what's keeping our daughter alive
When I got to the other hospital, I felt like my contractions had stopped.
But I knew my medication had to be topped up every six hours – and it had already been seven.
No-one was offering it to me, so I asked for more medication. By the time I got it, it was 7pm and my contractions had worsened again.
The doctor checked my cervix and I was 6cm dilated. She said ‘you’re going into labour, it’s happening’.
I immediately broke down and started crying, it was very scary.
I asked ‘do we have time for epidurals?’ They called for one but it was too late, by that point it was time to push.
At 7.53pm my first baby Lyric was born and she came out with one push, she was so small. Three minutes later, Cali was born with one push also.
I heard both of them cry and they both were breathing, which was a good sign, but they were immediately rushed out of the room, before I got to hold them.
There were about 20 people in the room when I was pushing, it all felt very scary.
I just kept saying ‘this feels like an nightmare’. I wanted to wake up from it but I couldn’t.
Ricky was with me, I’m so grateful because I don’t think I could have handled that without him.
At one point, because of Covid-19, there was a rule banning partners from the birthing room – but luckily they changed that about two months ago.
It was just as scary for Ricky, he was feeling exactly how I was feeling.
Micro-preemies: the facts
A micro-preemie is a baby born before 24 weeks gestation. They tend to weigh just over 1lb at birth.
The smallest surviving premature baby weighed only about half of that, at 8.6 ounces.
This tot, born in San Diego and known only as Saybie, was taken home from hospital after five months in a neonatal ward.
The age of viability is considered to be 24 weeks, and that is often used as a cutoff for saving the life of the infant.
But that doesn't mean babies born earlier than that won't survive.
James Elgin Gill was born in Ottawa, Ontario, on May 20, 1987, at 21 weeks.
He set a record when he was born for world's most premature baby – and beat all the odds, growing into a healthy adult.
Similarly, Amillia Taylor was born at just under 22 weeks in October 2006. Because she was conceived by IVF, her exact gestational age can be pinpointed.
Although she needed oxygen at hospital discharge, she is otherwise healthy today.
Cali was born weighing 1lb 1oz and Lyric was just a little heavier, at 1lb 2oz. Both of them were only 11ins long.
Everything felt so surreal at this point, I couldn't believe that I had already given birth and my girls were in the world.
The girls were placed in the NICI together and we were able to go see them.
We knew they were in a critical condition, being so small and young, but we didn't expect anything to go wrong yet.
The doctors had told us babies go through what’s called a ‘honeymoon phase’ when they’re born in NICU, before they start showing other challenges.
We were still hopeful we would be able to bring both our girls home one day – although we knew Lyric was in a better condition than Cali was.
Then on July 17, just two days after I gave birth, the doctor came into our room just before 10am – when we were getting ready to go and visit the girls.
The doctor said Cali had severe brain haemorrhaging, they are graded from 1-4 with four being the worst, and she had two grade 4 haemorrhages.
They said her vitals weren’t great, she was declining.
They said even if we were to keep her on a ventilator and life support, she was in pain, she was suffering.
There wasn't a good chance she would live a normal life with all the complications either.
It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to decide.
But Ricky and I didn’t want to be selfish and didn’t want her to suffer, so we made the decision to take her off the ventilator.
They allowed us both to see her, we held her and told her it was OK to let go. We kissed her and held her close.
I’m a very spiritual person and I lost my mother when I was young, so I told her to go with her grandmother.
It wasn’t very long after they took her off the ventilator that Cali took her last breath.
Even though she was only here for a couple of days, she made such a big impact on our lives.
She was very active in the womb. She was the one who kicked me and punched me the most. I think her spirit was a lot stronger than her physical body.
I recently spoke to a psychic medium, who told me Cali sacrificed herself for her sister. After she passed away, Lyric started seeing some improvement.
She also had a slight brain haemorrhage but her's was only a grade 1, so doctors were more hopeful she could recover.
It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to decide. But Ricky and I didn’t want to be selfish and didn’t want her to suffer, so we made the decision to take Cali off the ventilator
Since then, she’s had a few complications. She's had surgery for a perforated intestine, to insert a tube to drain it.
And she also had a pneumothorax, or an air pocket, in the lungs, so she had another tube inserted there about a week and a half ago.
But so far those are the most challenging things that have happened to her.
Every challenge she’s faced thus far, she’s been kicking ass. She’s such a little fighter and the nurses and doctors have been taking great care of her.
They’ve been very vigilant and proactive, everything that’s popped up they’ve caught quickly.
The doctor’s exact words were ‘she is amazing us every day’, she is truly a miracle.
When the girls were born, they gave just them both a 10 per cent survival rate. While Cali had more complications, Lyric has been beating all the odds.
'SHE'S A BEACON OF HOPE IN HOPELESS TIMES'
Lyric is classed as a micro-preemie. She's the youngest in her NICU and I know many doctors don't class anyone under 24 weeks to be viable, although I think that's ridiculous.
Since I posted her pictures on social media, I've had mums from all over the world, from Istanbul to Canada, reach out with stories of 22 weekers surviving and thriving.
It just baffles me that so many hospitals don’t resuscitate at that age, because it is absolutely possible for a baby to survive.
I think Lyric is an example that – even when the doctors are unsure – hope, faith, determination and love are such powerful energies. I believe that's what's keeping our daughter alive.
This is why I wanted to share her story. Lyric is an inspiration to me and to so many other people.
I was able to hold her for the first time on Saturday and I felt every emotion you can imagine.
Pure joy and excitement but also extreme anxiety. She’s so small and fragile that I was nervous to hold her.
The nurses told us a minimal amount of stimulation is best for these babies, because they’re used to being in the womb.
So I was nervous, but once they placed her on my chest and she was able to get comfortable, this immense joy and peace washed over me.
I felt her energy and her spirit. I just prayed she could feel mine and could feel my love for her.
It was very powerful and I didn’t want that moment to end. Although I selfishly wanted to keep holding her, I know the best place for her right now is the incubator and in the care of the nurses and doctors.
Every day is different. I have moments where I want to mourn and grieve the loss of Cali and it’s hard to even get out of bed sometimes.
But at the same time I know I have to stay strong and be positive for Lyric.
I can’t bring any negative energy into the room with her, I want her to feel only love and hope.
It’s hard, I feel like I’m being pulled in two different directions and it’s a rollercoaster. Every day is exhausting, both physically and mentally.
It's hard because I see Ricky going through the same thing.
It doesn’t make it any easier to see someone you love who’s also suffering and feeling pain, I want to be there for him too.
This is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
I know there are so many women going through the same thing and it breaks my heart for them, because it feels unbearable at times and it physically hurts my heart, it feels so broken.
But I have faith, I believe in a grander purpose beyond my pain.
My medium friend who connected with Cali told me she had a message for me. It was to feel love, which means a lot.
She says my purpose is to show how miracles can happen, because Lyric is a miracle and she is meant to provide hope and love during such a difficult time.
She is a beacon of hope in hopeless times. So I’m trying my best to listen to that message Cali gave me.
Lura and Ricky's friends and family have set up a donation page. You can support them here.
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