Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Miracle Sweater

As the saying goes, "Every child is a miracle."  It sounds cliche, but anyone who has been fortunate enough to experience pregnancy and childbirth knows how amazing it is to hold your baby for the first time and know that you had a hand in bringing this child into the world.  It's amazing every single time it happens, and every family feels grateful when mom and baby come through the experience healthy and happy.  

But some families have bumps along the road, and some families need all the help that they can find to improve the odds of whatever challenge they face with their pregnancy or new infant.  A family I know was faced with that situation two years ago during their last pregnancy.  They had two healthy kids at home and were pregnant for the third time. 

Twelve weeks into their third pregnancy, Lisa and Matt found out they were expecting twins.   Specialists soon confirmed that one twin, Aubree, had a massive cystic hygroma.  Doctors said it was unlikely that she would make it to term, but while accepting reality, they remained optimistic.  Their optimism turned to reality as Aubree’s hygroma turned into hydrops.  Due to all the fluid she was retaining, Aubree’s little heart stopped beating in the early hours of April 23, 2011.  Aubree and Alexis were delivered at 27 weeks 4 days, and although not initially diagnosed, the identical twin girls had twin-to-twin transfusion.  As a result, Alexis lost the majority of her blood to Aubree, and Alexis was born with less than 25% of her blood volume.  In the delivery room, they were told Alexis' chances of survival were not good.

Alexis was born at only 2 pounds 4 ounces and 13 ¾ inches long.  During her hospital stay, she suffered a Grade 4 brain bleed (giving her a 95% chance of cerebral palsy), chronic lung disease (spent 94 days on the ventilator, CPAP and cannulas), and feeding difficulties (requiring surgery for Nissen fundoplication and g-tube).  But God works miracles, and used the amazing staff of the OSF NICU to aid in this one.  After 97 days in the NICU, Matt & Lisa's little miracle came home to meet her big sister and big brother!

Alexis is now a year and a half old.  She is over 13 pounds, crawling everywhere and sitting up!  Her g-tube was removed and she is eating great, both bottles and solid foods.  She has been diagnosed with some vision issues but continues to make progress each day.  She is considered low tone but currently showing no signs of CP and is reaching her milestones, just in her own time!  Lisa and Matt thank God every day for their precious miracle, wishing they could still have Aubree here with them, but knowing they will again hold their little girl in Heaven.
Lexie's family will forever be grateful to OSF Children’s Hospital.  Little Lexie wouldn’t be here today if not for the grace of God, the neonatologists, nurses, and countless other individuals who were instrumental in her care.  We are blessed to have such an amazing Children’s Hospital and state-of-the-art NICU right here in Peoria!  

In honor of little Lexie, her angel twin, Aubree, and all the children who need extra care when coming into the world, I am donating every cent that you spend on the Miracle Sweater for the first two months of publication to the Children's Hospital of Illinois.

So do your good deed for the day - make your donation through this pattern purchase or go straight to the Children's Hospital's webpage to donate on your own.  

Then enjoy knitting this heirloom piece for one of the little miracles in your life.  The enormous size range begins with newborns and goes all the way up to child's size 10!  You'll enjoy seeing the unique woven texture come together, and your child will love the light-weight, yet warm jacket that results!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful child. Beautiful story. Beautiful sweater to honor both.

    My grandson was born to early, suffered a grade 3 brain bleed. He is currently 6 mos old (adjusted age 4 months) and also meeting his milestones at his own speed. The medical field is so amazing now; I am constantly amazed at the therapies these little ones get and the amazing results of their efforts.

    Love the sweater. What stitch is it knitted with to produce that woven texture? It looks to me as if it is a little beyond my current knitting skills. Could it be knitted in stockinette and still follow the pattern or does the stitch make such a difference that it can't be adapted. Oh. And is it top down or bottom up.

    PS. Love Lexie's smile. :)