Full Name: Miles Pizzo
Birthdate: April 25, 2011
Gestational Age at Birth: 26 weeks, 2 days
In October 2007, after an uneventful pregnancy, Stacy and Paul welcomed their first child, Parker, born at 37 weeks. Their second pregnancy was a completely different story. Early on they knew things were not going to be easy. Stacy shares her story below.
During an ultrasound at nine weeks, it was determined our baby had three times the normal amount of nuchal fluid which typically indicates some sort of birth defect. I immediately underwent very strenuous testing to see if the baby had a chromosomal abnormality that would be life-threatening to my baby or myself. This initial issue eventually resolved itself. However, at this time it was also determined that I had a very short cervix. As a result, we were referred to an OB Oncologist to determine if any cancers were present. Again I underwent more intense testing. Luckily the diagnosis was not cancer. As the weeks progressed, the doctors closely monitored my cervical length. It was quickly determined that I was not a candidate for the cervical cerclage (also known as a cervical stitch) which would have helped delay delivery until near full-term. It was also determined that my placenta, which was initially low lying, had migrated toward my cervix. I was diagnosed with a complete placenta previa which can lead to numerous complications.
In February, I was put on bed rest at home. With a 3-year-old son and two dogs running around the house, this would not be an easy task. Between my family and my husband Paul, all care of our son and our home was taken out of my hands.
On April 22, 2011, I went to the hospital with complications and was immediately admitted. My cervix had shortened to 1.3mm, well below the magic number of 2.5mm. After a daunting consult with a team of doctors, I was told that I would spend the remaining three months of my pregnancy confined to a hospital bed. It was difficult to imagine being in the hospital for that long. On our first quiet evening in the hospital, Paul and I prayed for God to continue working miracles for us.
Three days after being admitted to the hospital, I had a small hemorrhage. Two hours later, the massive hemorrhage doctors feared, occurred. We were left with no option but to deliver our child in order to save both of our lives. At 5:25 a.m. on April 25, 2011, Miles Rush Pizzo made his early arrival into this world via emergency c-section at 26 weeks, 2 days gestation. He was immediately placed on a ventilator and rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Paul compares the NICU to a casino. There were no windows so you never knew what time of day it was and there were constant noises and activity. Machines were beeping and buzzing non-stop, and doctors and nurses were quickly moving in all directions. Our first few visits were completely surreal. The thought of leaving our child in this bizarre place in the care of complete strangers was a source of great stress for us. Little did we know these complete strangers would quickly become our trusted friends, giving Miles the constant care he needed in order to survive. We had to lean on our faith and trust that God had a plan for our little boy. He gave him to us, He let him come into this world alive and we continued to pray He would be with Miles each day to help him grow strong.
I’m sure everyone has heard the saying “One step forward and two steps back”. This pretty much sums up life in the NICU. Just when it seems your child is making progress a new issue arises and the thought of taking your child home seems further away than ever. Every day is a new challenge. When a child is born as early as Miles, who by his gestational age is considered a micro preemie, all the things that apply to a full-term baby go out the window. Their skin is ultra-sensitive and they are not soothed by touch. Rocking or moving is often too much stimulation and causes them to burn precious calories. Paul and I basically had to go against all our instincts as parents in order to interact with this child. When he was first born we could only have what is referred to as “touch time” every six hours. This consisted of changing his diaper and taking his temperature then closing his isolette for another six hours. Seven days after his birth I was finally able to hold him. His weight had dropped to 2lbs 13oz and holding him was a challenge, requiring the assistance of three nurses to get it right. For the first month of Miles’s life, we could only hold him every other day and even that depended on whether he was having a good day or not. Our daily visits to the NICU gradually became a normal routine. I would go during the day and Paul would go in the evening so one of us was always with Miles and the other could be with our three-year-old son Parker. Miles’s journey in the NICU was long and he faced many setbacks including a battle with meningitis, being placed in hospital quarantine due to contracting a cold, retinopathy of prematurity (a potentially blinding eye disorder that primarily affects premature infants) and the challenge of a heart valve issue. After 87 long days, he came home to meet his big brother.
Miles is a very creative child. He loves working with clay, art projects building legos and keeping up with his big brother. He has an amazing sense of humor and loves a good joke. Mostly what we love about Miles is his heart. He is an old soul always looking for one last hug and doing small random acts of kindness for all in his path. The Bible verse we used at his birth was 1 Samuel 1:27 “for this child I prayed and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of him.” We prayed through 87 days in NICU and this 26 weeker is a testimony of God’s goodness.