Baby Hayleigh Grace’s Survival Story

December 17th, 2012 by Amber Perry

Hayleigh Grace Sears was born July 14, 2012 to Amber Perry and Danny Sears after a very complicated pregnancy. She was born by emergency C Section at 2:51 pm at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Tn due to me hemmoraging. She was born 15 weeks early and weighed 2 pounds even. She was immediately admitted to the NICU. I didn’t even get to see her until the next afternoon. But I got to see pictures, and to me, she was beautiful. 🙂 It wasn’t until the two days after she was born that we chose her name, Hayleigh Grace. She had a rough start simply because she was so early. She had the normal preemie struggles and seemed to be coping well up until the morning of July 22nd. We got a call that morning from her NICU doctor. They said we needed to come to the hospital right away. When we got there, we were taken into the chapel and met by a large team of doctors and nurses. We knew then, that it wasn’t good news. Our little girl, in addition to her current struggles, had gotten Necrotizing Entercolis (NEC). We were told that NEC was a condition that some preemies get that affects the bowel. Essentially, her bowel was eating away at itself and had may have formed a perforation (or tear). She would have to be transported by Angel One (Vanderbilt’s ground version of neonatal life flight) right away to undergo a bowel surgery to find out how severe it was. We cried and called family and proceeded to Vanderbilt. It wasn’t until that afternoon we finally got to see our daughter. She was being prepped for surgery. At this point her weight had dropped down to one pound seven ounces. We were terrified. We each kissed her goodbye and went to the waiting room to wait with our family. A few hrs into the surgery, a nurse came to find us. She said surgery didn’t go well. When we arrived they were trying very hard to revive our tiny baby girl. She coded (died) twice during her surgery. But the team revived her each time. After surgery we were told that her bowel had in fact torn and they had to remove a piece of it. Because of this, she had a stoma (one end of her separated bowel) that protruded through the skin of her belly. This is where her stool came from. She had a second surgery since then to explore her belly more in depth. She handled that surgery fine. Later on, they discovered she had a PDA in her heart. Its basically a portion of her heart that inst connected, but should be. They did a round of Indocin and it closed, but not for long. It eventually reopened. It is not causing her any clinical problems as of now, so they plan to watch it until she is a year old and make a decision on whether to do heart surgery then. She also had developed a grade two brain bleed and fluid around her brain. Thankfully, both issues seem to be resolving. She also developed Retinopathy of Prematurity and as a result had a laser eye surgery. She now has a ‘dragging retina’ on her right eye. She is closely followed by a pediatric ophthalmologist. She had her bowel reconnection surgery (third bowel surgery) on 10/30/12 and did well. We got to bring her home from the NICU on November 22, 2012, Thanksgiving. What a wonderful thing to be thankful for! After getting home, we had some feeding issues, and her belly became distended. We ended up back at Vanderbilt for a few days. After some bowel rest, the distention went down and we began feeds successfully. We were discharged. A few days later, we were having the same problems so we were readmitted. This time, Hayleigh had her fourth bowel surgery to try to figure out what was wrong. They ended up removing some adhesions (spots where the bowel had stuck together). Hopefully this will fix the problem once and for all. She has fought and struggled her entire life so far. And her struggle is far from over. Every single day with Hayleigh has been and will continue to be a blessing. She is fighting every day.

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4 responses to “Baby Hayleigh Grace’s Survival Story”

  1. Jssi Sterba says:

    What a beautiful little fighter you have!

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  3. Sheila says:

    Your story gives me hope! I’m going through the same thing. I live in Nashville the same thing is happening to me at the same hospital. But, they took Noelle to Centenial not Vandy

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