Meet the Domer Family
In late 2016, I was thrilled to discover I was expecting our first baby on August 25, 2017. My pregnancy was challenging with extreme sickness at 6 weeks, but I didn’t anticipate any complications or have major concerns- we were just so excited to be pregnant. Around 21 weeks gestation, I noticed that I seemed to be gaining weight faster without any obvious reason. I mentioned this to my nurse at my 23 week appointment, and while my blood pressure was a bit high, everything else checked out perfect. Our baby’s heartrate was strong, and we thought it might just be a time where I was growing a lot. However on Mother’s Day weekend, May 14, 2017, I realized that I wasn’t feeling right and my wedding ring didn’t fit suddenly. My ankles seemed no longer existent, and I was swelling even more. On Monday, May 15th, I went into work looking and feeling awful. I called my doctor’s office right at 9 when they opened, and upon hearing that even my eyelids were swollen, the nurse wanted me to come in right away.
When I arrived at the office they took my blood pressure right away, and I was surprised that it was 192 over 118 (normally it would be around 140/90). I was sent to have an ultrasound done of the baby- to measure the baby’s size and check the fluid levels and blood flow. Two doctors came in right away and let us know that I wouldn’t be leaving the hospital without having our baby. Our hearts absolutely sank- it was too early to have this baby. I was admitted to UnityPoint Hospital on bedrest, and started on numerous medications to regulate my blood pressure and to prevent any further complications like stroke or seizure. Thankfully, during this time they were also able to administer two steroid shots to accelerate further lung development in our baby.
Two days later I developed a severe migraine, and began to lose my vision. I was wheeled back for an emergency c-section, and our daughter Blakely was delivered. She weighed 1 pound, 10 ounces, and was just longer than a ruler. She took a couple of breaths on her own, and then was intubated to support her breathing, and whisked away to the NICU. It was about 31 hours before I was allowed out of bed to see her in the NICU. I remember being wheeled into the NICU for the very first time- all the strange smells, and sounds- and realizing I didn’t know which room Blakely would be in. Going up to her bed was surreal- she was so small. It seemed impossible a baby that small could be real and was ours. Looking past the wires and tubes was Blakely, wearing a diaper barely bigger than a credit card, receiving breathing assistance from a ventilator.
Blakely spent the first 98 days of her life in the NICU. During that time she was intubated three different times, on four different breathing machines. She underwent three blood transfusion, and had weekly eye exams. She had two eye infections, one of which made her very sick and required antibiotics. It was difficult for Jeremy and I to balance being in the NICU with her, trying to continue working so that I could save up my maternity leave, and recover from my surgery. After a few setbacks and change of plans, Blakely was discharged home with us on Wednesday, August 23, 2017.
Blakely will celebrate her first birthday on May 17, 2018, and we are blessed with her good health and growth. She passed her follow-up echo in February after they found that her PDA had closed, and she was discharged from any further eye exams. She is growing stronger every day and developing a strong little personality. We are grateful for her fighting spirit.
We are honored to be serving as the 2018 Signature Chefs Auction Ambassador Family, and to be giving back to an organization whose mission is inspired by the health of all moms and babies. The research conducted via the March of Dimes and the work of so many compassionate medical professionals is a wonderful partnership. I know that together we can make a difference to other families just like ours.
~Randi, Jeremy & Blakely Domer
Have questions? Please contact:
Stacey Regennitter, Development Specialist
firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-693-2780