By Gel Santos Relos
On Saturday, April 12, my husband and I became lolo and lola. It’s a milestone that we’ve been looking forward to, after our daughter Misty got married in 2012. When that day finally came, however, our excitement was eclipsed by fear and anxiety because it came too soon. Misty was only 24 weeks and 5 days in her pregnancy (a full term pregnancy usually takes 38-40 weeks).
Last year, Misty and her husband Dave lost their baby at 19 weeks. This made the fear of losing this baby even stronger. Many factors can come into play in pre-term labor. It could be blood clotting disorder, cervical incompetence, infection and hypertension, among others.
Because Misty already knew what contractions and labor feel like, she and her husband Dave were able to rush to the hospital two weeks ago. True enough, she was having contractions, and her cervix (kuwelyo ng matris) was already dilated up to 3 cm. The amniotic sac (bahay bata) was also starting to bulge.
The able doctors and nurses of Boone Hospital in Columbia, Missouri (yes, they live so far away from us) immediately acted and did everything they could to arrest the contractions. They gave Misty treatment to give the baby a better fighting chance if and when she comes out earlier. They also had to put Misty on strict bed rest.
We have all been praying so fervently for the baby to stay in her mother’s womb. 24 weeks is a critical gestation age to reach because the survivability rate of the baby increases to 50 percent. We were happy about Misty’s progress in keeping the baby, despite the hardship and inconvenience of doing complete bed rest, being on a catheter and bedpan, and of course, having anxiety, not knowing what will happen.
Almost two weeks have passed when Misty started having contractions again. It was inevitable — the baby had to come out or risk the fatal effect of intra-uterine infection. Misty had to go through emergency cesarean section to deliver her baby. Her husband, Dave was beside her. We were with them in spirit and in prayer.
On April 12, at 4:50 am, our beautiful granddaughter Azshara Angelina was born. Our miracle premature baby weighed only 1 lb, 7 ounces, and was just a little over 12 inches when she came out. Her eyes were wide open and she tried to cry — all good signs of how much a fighter this baby is.
Baby Azshara is now in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the hospital, and will have to stay there until July — her supposed due month. Her doctors say she is indeed a feisty baby, who has surpassed all expectations. They are optimistic she can make it.
Misty has been discharged from the hospital, but she and Dave visit their baby as often as they could to hold her, talk to her, and feed her. Yes, Misty has been pumping breast milk that will nourish Baby Azshara when she is ready to be fed.
For now, Baby Azshara is getting her nourishment intravenously. She also has so many gadgets to help her breathe better, and many monitoring devices to make sure she is okay.
This season of Lent, our family has already experienced so many miracles and answered prayers from God. Each day that Baby Azshara is alive, fighting and thriving is a miracle indeed.
Baby Azshara reminds us of how precious life really is. We are also reminded of how so powerless we are, how so many very important things are just beyond our control. We are reminded that we can only have true strength through Jesus Christ, and that we can only hold on to our faith in God’s infinite love and wisdom, and believe that everything will work out for the good.
Jesus said: “Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock, and the door shall be opened for you.” He promised that "whatever we ask the Father in His name, He will grant us" — that "if we have faith even as big as a mustard seed, then nothing will be impossible for us".
I ask for your prayers, my dear friends and readers of this column. Please pray for my apo, Azshara Angelina Reinheimer. Please pray for her good health and safety. Please pray for my daughter Misty and son-in-law, Dave, for their faith and strength. Please pray that they may be able to bring home their baby soon, and raise her in a happy, loving peaceful home. Thank you for your prayers.