My Miracle Hunter and My Angel Randi

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My husband and I were beyond excited to find out we were expecting twins - a boy and a girl - a perfect little family all in one shot! My pregnancy was ok, lots of doctors visits and tests, but no indication that I would give birth as early as I did - at 26 weeks. I went to the OB on Friday, August 22, 2008 for a regularly scheduled sonogram. My cervix had shortened substantially so I was sent to the hospital for monitoring, expecting to be put on bedrest for the remainder of my pregnancy. At the hospital I found out I was having contractions (I didn't feel anything even after that for a few hours). The contractions didn't stop, despite being put on magnesium, and by early morning on August 23rd my water broke (14 weeks early) and I started bleeding. The doctor told me that they needed to deliver the babies by c-section right away. It was the scariest moment of my life and I remember screaming over and over that they weren't ready. Amazingly my little tiny babies cried when they took them out of me. I saw them for 1 second in the operating room as they were being whisked off to the NICU. When I was finally able to go to the NICU later that day they were so tiny and beautiful. Randi Harper was born at 1lb 3oz and Hunter Pierce was 1lb 10oz. Randi was on the oscillator and Hunter was on the ventilator. The doctor told us they were both critical, but Randi was more so, because she was tinier and her lungs were less developed. Randi passed away on August 25th. Her little body that had tried so hard to be strong couldn't take it anymore. I held her for the first and last time as she died, grateful to have had 3 days to get to know her, hoping she did not suffer, knowing she would forever be Hunter's guardian angel and knowing that my heart would forever be broken. Randi's doctor told us that some premature babies are like butterflies, they enrich our lives for a short time and then they have to fly away. At Randi's funeral the following day, a butterfly flew over the open grave and I hoped that was a sign that she was at peace. My miracle baby Hunter was in the NICU for 101 days. After a couple of weeks he was able to come off the ventilator and onto CPAP (except for a short, but very scary infection during which he had to go on the oscillator) and after a couple of months he was able to come off CPAP too. He survived infections, surgical lines (because his veins were too small to get a good IV), transfusions, a NEC scare and laser ROP surgery, but mostly he had to learn to eat (which was difficult because he aspirates thin fluids) and breathe on his own. The NICU at Schneiders Childrens Hospital became our second home for those 3-1/2 months. The doctors, nurses, staff and other moms and dads, a part of our family. They comforted us with their personal stories of premature babies, survival and loss. We took tons of pictures that I look at now and remember the first time I was allowed to hold Hunter, the first time I changed his diaper, and his first Halloween as our little Superman! Hunter came home on December 6th without oxygen or a monitor (just on some medications and thickener for his milk). He is now almost 7 months old, weighs 15.5lbs and is 25 inches long. He is the strongest, sweetest, yummiest baby and he amazes me every single day. I will always be incomplete without my Randi and always feel the guilt of not being able to hold my babies inside longer, but I heal a little with every smile, every coo and every snuggle from my Hunter.

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  • Welcome to Share.

    I have tears in my eyes as I read your story.  I am so sorry to hear about Randi.......and yet so happy for you that Hunter is home and doing so very well.

    Your story touched me, as it is so much like my own.  Our triplets were born at 26 weeks after baby A's water broke.  We lost one son after two days, and another after 15.  It was heartbreaking.  Our survivor battled much of the same issues that Hunter did, and came home after 119 days in the NICU.  Today he is 6 and doing awesome.

    Going through life while missing one of your multiples can be hard.  I encourage you to talk to your son about his sister and to celebrate her life too.  Butterflies make me think of my boys too.

    Hugs,

    Shonda

  • Welcome to Share!  I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.  I too have lost one of my twins and know the heartache and pain of not having her with me each day.  Please know that we're here any time you need to talk to someone who just "knows".

    Tracy :grin:

  • Welcome to Share!  I am so sorry for your loss.  I just recently lost my little girl so I know the heartache and pain you live with each day.  I look for butterflies too now.  They often fly right up to my face and linger for a second or two and fly away.  I call those butterfly kisses from my daughter.

    You have found a wonderful community to be a part of filled with people who get it because they speak the language and have lived the experiences.

    Take good care!

    Yolonda

  • Welcome to share! I too lost one of my twins. i know excatly how you are feeling and what you are going thru. Know we are always here whenever you need to talk or just vent.

    Take Care

    -Imani-

  • Thank you all for your replies and for sharing your stories with me!  It is comforting to know that I am not alone in this, even though I wish no one else ever had to go through this pain.  I have been reading your stories and posts and I find your strength and compassion inspiring.  Marissa

  • Omg that's pritty cool

  • Im so sorry for ur loss im glad im inspire you

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I couldn't help but think that your experience was so similar to mine (I have mine posted if you are interested in reading it). I just want to let you know that you have inspired me and have given me hope that life does go on. I'm deeply sorry that Randi is no longer with you, but I'm sure she lives through Hunter everyday. She will always be with you, even if not in physical form. You are so strong.

    Lots of love,

    Erika

  • So sorry for your loss... it is heartbreaking to lose one of your own. I just lost my little boy on friday March 13 2015. Which happens t be my birthday. He was born at 22 wks 3 days. He was perfect. He lived for 3 hours.  I am happy that Hunter is doing great.

  • Thank you I appreciate your support. I feel the exact same way. I am grieving for my son but trying to be strong for my daughter. Better days are yet to come and I have a tremendous amount of faith that she will be home before we know it. I sincerely appreciate you sharing your story. It is amazing but tragic at the same time. It is crazy how we can both relate on the same topic. I was so heartbroken when I found out that Gabriel had passed in the womb. I glad you got to hear the babies cry. Everything with me happened so quick that I didn't hear a peep from Daniella. I'm glad to know that Hunter is so strong and getting his support through Randi. She is the angel watching over him and he is so strong to overcome that obstacle. Once again your story inspires me that Daniella will be home before we know it. She will stay in the NICU until November, so hopeful by Thanksgiving we will have our little family at home. I can't wait to have my princess come home. Many prayers to you and your family and Hunter is my hero. I cannot express how much your story is helping me cope through this tough time. Once again I appreciate it.

    Hugs,

    Jessica

  • Thank you for your words of encouragement and your story really brought tears to my eyes. My Gabriella was born at 29 weeks. She too fought through and overcame NEC, then her PDA surgery and then she really started to gain weight and improve. She gave us so much hope and joy. When it came time for her third surgery there were complications and within a week's time she had to have a total of 3 surgeries and one procedure. That girl was my rock but it was just too much for her in the end. My heart too is broken but she is my guardian angel. I see her in my dreams every night and some hours of the day are tougher than others. Knowing that she is in no more pain, that she is in the happiest place that she can be in and that she is watching over me keeps me going. I truly believe that our angel babies try to give us signs of comfort every day. Thank you for inspiring me with your story and Hunter sounds like an amazing child. Much love to you and your family!

  • I was reading your story and got goosebumps with the part about the butterfly at the grave.  At Scott's grave the day of the funeral a butterfly landed right on top of the casket and stayed there the entire time.  Ever since I see butterflies everywhere.  I love what the doctor told you and truly believe our little ones do visit as butterflies.  Love your new profile picture that is what brought me to your story. Nicki

  • I was reading your story and got goosebumps with the part about the butterfly at the grave.  At Scott's grave the day of the funeral a butterfly landed right on top of the casket and stayed there the entire time.  Ever since I see butterflies everywhere.  I love what the doctor told you and truly believe our little ones do visit as butterflies.  Love your new profile picture that is what brought me to your story. Nicki