Our first encounter with Children's Hospital came in April of 2009. I was 24 weeks pregnant and was sent by my OB/GYN because there had been some big concerns with my 24 week ultrasound. I became too high risk for her, so she sent me to see Dr. Lele in the Perinatal Center. It was discovered that our daughter had fluid of some kind in her abdomen, but Dr. Lele wasn't sure what type of fluid it was.
She sent me to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) world renown Fetal Surgery department, hoping that they could place a shunt in her abdomen to drain the fluid until she was born. Unfortunately, our baby was not a candidate for the surgery because she was a girl, but we were given an official diagnosis of Persistent Cloaca. We were sent home with no prognosis, and had to do our own research as to what to expect when she was born.
I returned to Children's Perinatal Center for my 30 week checkup, and it was discovered that our daughter had only two measurable pockets of amniotic fluid in my uterus. It was decided that day that I would be admitted and that we would be monitored until she was to be delivered by emergency C-Section in the next few days, weeks, or months. No one knew when she would make her debut.
While on the labor & delivery unit, we met with the NICU team, urology and pastoral care, and had some of the best nurses taking care of myself and our daughter. I spent six days on constant monitoring in L&D before it was decided that our daughter would be born. We had the best team of nurses working to give our daughter a fighting chance, because they had learned from the report from CHOP that she was in fact "not compatible with life", but we were not made aware of that prognosis, we were just willing to accept whatever God was going to give us, and we would love her and accept her anyway she came to us.
On Monday, June 9, 2009 at 2:41 p.m., our daughter Alannah Jane was born ALIVE, breathing, and fighting for her life. She weighed in at 4lbs. 13oz, and 15 inches long with a full head of jet black hair (just like her daddy). Alannah came 9 weeks early and spent 11.5 weeks in the NICU at Women & Children’s Hospital. She had many obstacles ahead of her, and a long fight, but she proved to everyone that she was going to do things on her own terms.
Her primary nurses became family members to us, and lifelong "aunties" to Alannah. Not only did she have phenomenal care in the NICU by her nurses and doctors, but we as her parents got the same love and care from them. Alannah's time in the NICU was rocky, but she and her father and I made it through. Things didn't always go as hoped or planned, but in the end we got to take our miracle baby girl home to her family.
Alannah left the NICU on August 26, 2009, was readmitted to the PICU on August 31, 2009, and came home permanently on September 10, 2009. She was followed by the Robert Warner Rehabilitation Center until she was three. She is also followed by urology, rehab medicine, PT, and most recently endocrinology. She has had countless procedures done under general anesthesia due to her anatomy being what it is, and not being able to perform “normal" tests the "normal" way. She has had her adenoids removed, and most recently had renal reflux repaired to her only kidney to help prevent any more damage.
Children's has become an important part of Alannah's life as well as ours and her sister's. We are so thankful to have such a wonderful place that takes care of our children! We have so many memories in the old building on Bryant street, but we are SO excited to be transitioning to the new hospital with all the new technology and the possibilities and advancements in medical equipment that may give our daughter the possibility to have reconstructive surgeries, so she can live the best possible life for her! Her story doesn't end at the old hospital, but beginning a new chapter at the new Oishei Children's Hospital!
Our daughter Gianna first became a patient at Women & Children’s Hospital in March of 2014 when she was admitted with RSV and spent 4 days on the 10th floor. After that she had tubes placed in her ears, and had her adenoids removed. In February 2015, she had her tonsils removed. In May of 2015 it was discovered that she was born with a sub-mucous cleft palate, and needed to see the speech department and craniofacial center. It was determined that she needed surgery, but she was referred to a different hospital. She is still followed by ENT at Oishei Children’s Hospital. We are thankful for all of the doctors and nurses who have taken care of her over the years, and look forward to coming back for possible future palate surgeries.