Featured Cherub of the week is Wilder Alcoke. Wilder is the daughter of our Montana State Representative, Mandy Alcoke. Here is Wilder’s journey, written by Mandy:
Our daughter Wilder was born on April 7th, 2017. I was 41-weeks to the day and in active labor. Wilder decided that she wanted to flip that morning and was breach. The doctor and midwife tried to flip her to get her out of the breech position. After two failed attempts my husband and I decided it was safer for the baby and myself to have a cesarean. Within the next few hours our lives would be devastated withwords we had never heard before.
I had a typical pregnancy with no signs that anything could be wrong. My 21-week and 24-weekscans came back normal. My bloods sugar levels were fine and everything checked out at each appointment. The day of my 41-week appointment I knew my labor had started. We took our two-year-old son to his babysitter for the day. We got ready and joked that we would be going back to the hospital in a few hours to have a baby. We even stopped for a morning snack before we went to the midwifes office. Themidwife wanted to get a stress test and ultrasound done to make sure that the baby was doing okay. The stress test came back normal and showed signs that things were progressing. It was during the ultrasound that we found out she was breech. The tech quickly left the room to go get our midwife.
Our midwife came in to talk to us about what we were able to do at this point. We choose to try and flip the baby, which is called a version. It was very painfuland after two failed attempts I didn’t want to try it again. The nurse prepped me for surgery and I signed the consent forms. We took the photos of us in the silly scrubs and smiling. We were so excited that we were going to meet our new baby. That our son was going to be a big brother. That in a few days we would all be home as one family. The anesthesiologist allowed my husband to come back with me while they gave me my epidural. Then the cesarean began.Once they had the baby out my husband announced the gender. It was a baby girl!
She wasn’t crying; or making a sound and right away I felt something was off. The pediatrician and his team were working on her. All I could see was the top of her head. Finally, we heard one little cry and the staff continued to work. A nurse came over and told us that she was having trouble breathing but it was okay right now and if they needed to they would take her to the nursery with my husband. Within a minute or so later, they grabbed by husband and rushed her out of the room. You could feel the tension and emotion in the room. I prayed that they would finish up soon and that my husband and baby were waiting for me when I came out of recovery.
When I got out of recovery they wheeled me into the smallest room on the delivery floor. There was no bassinet, no baby blankets, no signs that a baby would be in the room anytime soon. My husband was still with our daughter. Nurses rushed around me to get me situated in the hospital bed in the new room. After about 20 minutes my husband and the pediatrician came into the room. Thedoctorexplained that after x-rays they believed that she had meconium in her lungsand that they were sending her to a hospital two hours away in Billing, MT. The doctor stated that if it was not meconium it might be hernia. My husband ran home to grab a small bag of things for thenext few days. The first time I sawWilder she was on an oscillator and in an isolette bed. I was able to touch her hand and arm. Then they all left in an ambulance to get on the plane.
Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much that night. I knew that they were in Billings and she was in a better place to support her. It was around 1:00 am when my husband called me. They had just finished doing an Echo on Wilder. They saw that Wilder’s heart was pushed to the right and that they no longer believed that it was meconium in her lungs. We were told that it was Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. My husband reported they were preparing the staff and flight team from Children’s Hospital of Coloradoand they should be in Denver within the next 12 hours. We contacted our family in Colorado. They prepared to travel to Denver the next day. I also started to Google what Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia meant for our daughter. I will say that laying alone in a hospital bed may not be the best place to read about 50% survival rate. The flight team from Denver arrived late that morning. They tried for four hours to get Wilder stable enough to moveand had little success. After giving her a few different medications, she was stable and ready to transport.
When she arrived at Children’s Hospital of Colorado, she was almost 24 hours old. On day three,they were able to keep her stable and take her off the oscillator. My friend got me out of the hospital after 48 hours and my dad and step mom drove up from Colorado to take me and our oldest son to Denver. She would be four days old the next time I would see her, and her repair surgery was scheduled for the nextmorning. My in-laws and mom watched my son that morning while we saw Wilder and waited for her surgical team to come in. We watched her NICU room change into an OR. They let us sit in the room next door and it felt like hours passed even though it was less than an hour for her surgery to be completed. The repair surgery was a success and there were no completions. She has a small hole that let her stomach, spleen, intestines, bowel, and colon up into the left side of her chest. He said that her left lung was decent sized.
Within the next 3 weeks she had started feeds, was off a ventilator, and wall oxygen. Wilder kept impressing the staff in the NICU. Wilder’s main issue remained feeding. She would eat about 30% to 60% of her feed orally. We tried for weeks to get Wilder to eat enough to sustain herself. Meeting with OT almost daily. Still she only took small amounts. After weeks of feeding issues in the NICU we decided that it was best to have a g-tube (gastrostomy tube) placed. After 70 days in the NICU, on day 71 of life; we walked out of the hospital with our baby.
When we got home we started feeding therapy for Wilder and have not stopped since. Wilder has graduated from OT at this point and is working on some balance issues with PT. Feeding remains her biggest hurdle. For the most part she is a typical toddler. Her favorite things to do are climbing on everything, playing with her brother, and swimming.