Emma's Story, Continued
During the last several transfusions, Dr. Barsoom needed to keep Emma still, so he injected her with a drug that causes temporary paralysis. Using ultrasound images as a guide, he maneuvered a long, thin needle through the uterus into the umbilical cord and delivered the Rh-negative blood that was needed to refuel the baby's tiny body and -- he hoped -- protect her from her mother's harmful antibodies.
During week 31, three days before her seventh scheduled transfusion, Amanda called Dr. Barsoom in a panic. Emma wasn't kicking much anymore. The doctor told her to come to the hospital right away for the procedure, during which Emma's heart rate plummeted, forcing the doctors to do a C-section.
Meanwhile, Keith, thinking that his wife was having only a transfusion, had gone to the hospital cafeteria to get her a sandwich. "When I got back to the waiting room, they told me my wife had just undergone emergency surgery."
He and Amanda had a 5-pound, 6-ounce daughter, he learned, but the tiny dose of paralyzing drug the baby had received for the transfusion meant that she was having some trouble breathing on her own. That issue, as well as the fact that she was not full-term, meant she needed to be put on a ventilator. Keith got to see Emma briefly as she was whisked away to the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.
"My wife was still in the operating room and I was alone," he recalls. "I had a long talk with God and did a lot of pacing."
When Amanda awoke from the general anesthetic she'd been given for the c-section, she asked to be wheeled into the nursery to see her new daughter. "She looked so angelic, my heart just melted," Amanda says.
After Emma's medication wore off, her breathing improved but she had to remain at the hospital for three weeks to gain weight and strength. While Keith took care of the family's two older girls, Amanda stayed in Omaha so she could spend every waking minute with Emma.
"I was so worried something would happen to her, I could sleep only a few hours each night," she recalls. "I believe that my holding Emma so much made her heal quickly."
When the Hogans brought Emma home, Amanda couldn't stop crying. "I was so thankful to have all my girls together at last," Amanda says.
Last Christmas, Emma's stocking bulged with gifts, and five days later, the Hogans held a huge party to celebrate her first birthday. Today, she's a happy toddler who loves to dig in her sandbox and play with sisters Lauren, 9, and Abigail, 6. "It's been one miracle after another," says Amanda. "Every doctor says she's amazing."