Ana is the daughter of a friend of a friend. She was born at 27 weeks, and was doing quite well with a strong heart and lungs and no known brain damage, but now she got necrotizing enterocolitis. Basically, her immune and digestive systems were so weak that any and all bacteria in her food infected her intestines, and they turned gangrenous. She was in so much pain that if anyone touches her, she stops breathing, so all her parents could do was go in and look at her, talk to her, and get updates from the staff. The prospect was not good at all, with only a small chance of survival.
Two days after this diagnosis, they operated on her and removed 1/3 of each her large and small intestine. Then they waited two weeks for the inflammation to go away and to make sure her stomas were draining. For those of you who don’t know what a stoma is, it’s an opening of the intestine that drains outside the body into a bag as an alternative to pooping. It extends from the tummy. After two weeks, Ana’s stoma stopped draining poop, so they operated again and removed some more of her small intestine. She still couldn’t tolerate feeding. She is
was 3lbs 3 ozs., at this point, and breathing well on a nasal canula, and starting to become alert. She cries and opens her eyes when spoken to. Also the suck reflex started (it normally starts between 33 and 34 weeks gestation), so she was able to enjoy her pacifier.
Now, almost 2 months later, she is at home with her parents. I’ve always felt blessed whenever I think of Chunguita and Pulguito, but after seeing those pictures of Ana, I feel doubly blessed that I was able to carry Chunguita to term (after serious pre-term labor), and that although Pulguito was preterm, he was a big, healthy, almost fully developed 8 pound baby.