She was born with gastroschisis, a birth defect where her abdominal wall didn't close, so her intestines were on the outside. She spent 66 days in the NICU, and had a total of 6 surgeries (4 for the gastroschisis, and the other ones for a hiatal hernia and pyloric stenosis).
What helped me the most throughout it all was Avery's Angels. Avery's Angels is a support group for parents and survivors of gastroschisis. When you're dealing with a birth defect you've never even heard of, the most calming and helpful thing you can do is talk to someone who's been there. Doctors just give you the facts. Sometimes you just want to cry on the virtual shoulder of someone who's been where you are.
But there are more and more mommies on the board every day. You know why? The numbers are on the rise. What used to be a 1 in 5000 birth defect, is now a 1 in 2200. You know what else is scary? The causes of gastroschisis are still unknown. Did I mention that there is only a 90% survival rate? Do the math of 10% of 2200. Those aren't happy odds.
So today, Avery's Angels is participating in Rare Disease Day, which is today. By participating, they hope to raise awareness about gastroschisis.
Besides providing information and support, Avery's Angels also tries to send out care packages to gastro parents. But it's all done by donations and a lot of it is done out of pocket. AA is ALWAYS looking for button up onesies (preemie or newborn sized preferred) and mittens. Button ups are the easiest for gastro babies to wear, since they are always hooked to so many wires. Gastro babies also either have a repogle tube (which pulls secretions and bile from the stomach) or a feeding tube, and mittens help keep those silly fingers from pulling out their lines.
We went from this...
To this happy,
I'm doing my part today by writing this post. Perhaps I've educated you about a birth defect that you've never heard of. Maybe you'll say a prayer for all of those scared pregnant mommies, or those precious babies in the NICU unit at THIS EXACT MINUTE. Or maybe you have some button up onesies or mittens (or even socks) that are taking up room in your attic that you are willing to donate.
All in support of this precious, perfect little girl.