Pictures of the Problems with Premature Babies birth in Pittsburgh- My Daughter Had a Preemie Baby at 16

The hardest time in my life was when my daughter gave birth to a premature baby on Augest 11, 2010. Brionna Levine was born at 24 weeks and weighed 1 lb and 9 oz. There was not any warning signs at all that she was going to deliver that day. More than half of all premature babys have no warning signs. We live in Bradford PA and the baby was helicoptered to Dubois to a NeoNatal unit. On Augest 13, the doctor in Dubois decided to have the baby flown to Pittsburg because her toes were turning purple, he stated if he didnt have her sent to Pittsburg she may loose a couple toes. In Pittsburg they had to move her IV from her belly to her chest in hopes the blood would start circulating in her toes.

Brionnas stay in Pittsburg

A couple days after Bionna arrived in Pittsburg they found a bleed in her brain. The doctors say it is a stage three on both sides. We are now faced with the decision of what to do. The doctors say she will be severly brain damaged from whis and have a bad case of ceribal palsey. Brionna is too weak to have a shunt placed in. They said we needed to think about whats best for Brionna.

My thoughts are what kind of quality of life will Brionna have? I have worked in a nursing home for about eight years now and from time to time I think why do familys put there loved ones through all this when they have g-tubes and are almost like a vegetable. I dont want Brionna to live this way yet i dont want to be the person to take her life.

On Augest 23, my daughter and I made the decision to let Brionna rest. Neithor one of us want her to suffer the rest of her life. We had a preist come in and had her babtist. We also had a photographer come in and take some pictures of her so we could have some memories. I have been in tears for days over this. No one should have to bury a baby. I also made some funeral arrangements as we have a coroner in the family thank goodness.

On augest 24 my daughter and I arrived at the hospital with plans to lay Brionna to rest. About an hour before we were about to do this the doctor came back in the room. Brionnas doctor stated he had one last option for Brionna which was a spinal tap. He stated if he could draw fluid from her brain through a spinal tap Brionna would have a 20% chance at living a halfway normal life. I was in shock as were the nurses. One of the nurses stated she was so sorry, she never saw this comming. It wasnt her fault, shes not a doctor. She also said she has never seen a doctor change what was going to happen like this before.

My daughter had a look on her face, almost as if she was mad. I asked her what was her problem. Something had come over me that I was so happy they may have found something to fix her. I told her I had no problems caring for a child that was handicapt. Kala then stated, well what if I cant? I thought for a moment and said look if thats what this is about Kala your afraid you can't take care of her, then I will, no questions asked and no one will judge you. This is my decision and our lives and besides who cares what people think about you, they dont live in your shoes. She then felt much better about the decision to wait and see what the spinal tab can do for her.

The next day we recieve a call from the hospital. They did the spinal tap but it was unsucessful and they tryed twice. Now we are back to square one again with Brionna. i cant stop thinking, was this a sign not to stop things? Where do I go from here? i dont want Brionna to live an unhappy life yet I dont want to give her up eithor.....I am at the point if I can't make the call then to just wait and see what happens because if i say to take her off the ventelater, I could never turn back and thats something I have to live with the rest of my life and so does my daughter. i keep thinking why cant they try the spinal tap again....

Evertime the hospitals number shows up on my phone I get butterflys thinking something has happened. The hospital called me the next day and said they were going to try one last attempt at a spinal tap. I said, thank god, Its now or never and I truly believed this time, it is going to work. the hours past as I remember thinking yesterday they called so fast, its taking forever today, maybe it worked. I recieved the call about five hours later from the doctor. The doctor stated on the phone the procedure had worked and they were able to drain 60cc's of fluid off her brain. What this means is Brionna now has a 20 percent chance at living without serious neurological complications.

Some Friends have decided to do a benefit for our family.

Brionna is the size of my hand.
Brionna is the size of my hand.

Augest 29

After calling the hospital today the doctor said they did an ultrasound on her head and they said the ventracles in her brain arent getting any smaller. They said they are going to do spinal taps daily now and are talking of placing in a shunt. If Brionna has a shunt in, she will have this the rest of her life. My grandchild will not ever be free of medical complications from all this if she makes it and I'm ok with that, atleast she is alive. I may have to quite my job too take care of her for awhile.

This is one of my favorite pictures I took of Brionna.
This is one of my favorite pictures I took of Brionna.

Augest 30

My daughter Kala started her first day back to school, her junior year. I decided to drive to Pittsburg to visit Brionna. While I was in the room they came to do a spinal tap but said they would wait till I go home so I could visit. About an hour later, the nurse practitioner came back in the room and stated the doctor had reviewed the ultrasound on her head that showed a blood clot moving its way down. One more tap and it may have blocked it. I said to her, "So, there was another reason I was in this room"? She stated, "This baby is destined to be someone".  A short time later, the doctor came in and said, "they are going to just have to wait and hope the ventracles in her head do not get any bigger in the next few weeks". I told the doctor at this point, there not going to and she liked the way I think. The doctor also informed me there was a ventracle in her heart that was open and they could not feed her untill its closed which required sergery because they gave her medicine that did not work.

A benefit for Brionna
A benefit for Brionna

Sept. 3 2010

I phoned the hospital today, three times. At noon they started feeds on Brionna with a tube down to her stomach. they will be feeding her every three hours. She is doing well and keeping the food down. The doctor ordered ultrasounds on her head once a week now. Through all this Brionna is getting to be one famous baby. Flyers are being printed to post around town. My daughter was asking me questions again last night asking why this happened to her baby when theres other girls at school who delivered healthy babys. I try to explain giving birth to a premature baby occurs for frequent than she thinks and the other teens were just the lucky ones.

I will be starting a part two on Brionna as there is so much to tell about her progress.

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Comments 30 comments

Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 5 years ago from Bismarck, ND

I just read this and am curious to know how Brionna is doing. Blessings to you and your family this Christmas season and always.


N.E. Wright profile image

N.E. Wright 6 years ago from Bronx, NY

Hello Kmackey32,

I just wanted to check in to see that everything is okay with you, your family, and your precious granddaughter, Brionna Levine.

Take care, and again thanks for your moving Hub.


N.E. Wright profile image

N.E. Wright 6 years ago from Bronx, NY

Wow, I was scared reading this.

I am so happy Brionna seems to be doing fine.

I was premature. A year later my lungs collasped on me. I had a tube holding one up. It disappeared when I was around 38 years old. I am 48 years now.

I will pray for your percious little grandchild.

Thanks for sharing your personal story.


EmmaMedu profile image

EmmaMedu 6 years ago

kmackey32, I send you lots of hugs as my support. I'm a mother too and I could only imagine how terrible it is to be faced with the illness of your child.

This is very difficult situation and I wish you all the best. Hope your little granddaughter will grow up into beautiful and smart girl.

Take care!


kmackey32 profile image

kmackey32 6 years ago from Pittsburgh PA Author

Whitney my daughter has put everything in my hands. I know she had this baby but she signed papers making me Brionnas power of attorney. I think everything has just been too much on her at this point and I'm ok with that. If she cant make the decisions, I will have too....


DoorMattnomore 6 years ago

Thanks for the update. hang in there.


sharon 6 years ago

I just cant believe how fast some people are to comment..ie Whitney05, I myself have a son who suffers from crebral palsy and other difficulties I can garentee u I did not drink and do not smoke, and I was a healthy 23 year old.My brother and his wife are also going down this road a healthy married couple in there early 30s first baby was told when she was born 6 weeks early that she would not survive for long and that she should not be resusitated if the worst was to happen that was 6 months ago.They are still giving her no hope, she is not without her problems, I can understand Kmackey32 when u say u cant let her go i feel the same way about our little lady. I too look for reasons for her existance EVERY SINGLE DAY.......I am sorry i can not help u financialy but my thoughts and prayers are with u, your daughter and your grand-daughter. May god bless and protect your family from people that never seen a bad day in their lives........sharonmurphy.co@gmail.com


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia

I read your other hubs... When your daughter asks why this happened to her. Tell her that it's just God's will... Plus, pregnant moms who smoke (and drink) during pregnancy lead to destruction of a healthy baby.

I know an 18 year old who got pregnant, smoked throughout her pregnancy, and delivered her daughter early. The baby had underdeveloped lungs, and is now ok as that was her only problem.

I hate I'm not speaking as caring as others, but I do wish you and your family well wishes. A pregnant teen is a devastating time, and a troubled pregnancy is even worse.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia

"This is my decision" How exactly is it your decision. It's your daughter's baby....

It's a sad story, but more than likely, the baby would have been better off. 80% chance with a mom who says from the start she doesn't know if she can handle it, much less from a 16 year old girl... Sort of a sad situation..

I will tell you from experience it is really hard to have a handicapped family member. My brother is both physically and mentally handicapped. It really takes a told on everyone.

Sometimes we do too much. If nature wanted it to be, nature would have made the baby strong enough to go full term.

Wow... multiple teenage pregnancy... Sounds like a movie I saw on TV.


kmackey32 profile image

kmackey32 6 years ago from Pittsburgh PA Author

Thanks dorsi, thats odd Brionnas middle name is Dorsi...


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

Just stopping by to see how Brionna is doing and you are all in our prayers.


Lorraine Cooper profile image

Lorraine Cooper 6 years ago

It is a miracle of Gods grace that premature babies survive. My niece was born almost 2 months premature. My dad and his wife took her home from the hospital because my brother and his girlfriend were too afraid to take her. My dad and his wife raised her, she did well in school and ran track on the national level she is now in college and is running track and we will soon see her on national TV or maybe even in the Olympics. Love has raised her. Her quality of life is more than expected. Stay strong and prayerful.


Sweetsusieg profile image

Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

What a hard way to start life! I'm so sorry to hear about this. Facing those things should be something no 16 yr old should have to face. Blessings to you and your family. Keep strong!


kmackey32 profile image

kmackey32 6 years ago from Pittsburgh PA Author

Thank Kidgas, I will try.....


Kidgas profile image

Kidgas 6 years ago from Indianapolis

I will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts. Try to keep yourself healthy since you will need your strength when Brionna comes home.


kmackey32 profile image

kmackey32 6 years ago from Pittsburgh PA Author

Thank you Jeanie, although this is far from over for Brionna. Cari, yes the doctors say there is an 80% chance Brionna will have some sort of cerebal Palsey but its way too early to tell to what degree. Lisa is awesome....


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND

I will be keeping your family, especially your tiny and precious Brionna in my prayers. My daughter (her name is Faith) was born at 29 weeks and has cerebal palsy as a result of some brain damage. Though she is in a wheelchair she has so much joy and love! She is a gift to us from God and we treasure her. She started first grade a few days ago and loves school! Of course there are challenges with her disability but God has always been there, always providing for our needs whether those needs have been finanacial or emotional. I will be checking for updates - also may God bless Lisa HW for bringing attention to this baby so that we can help any way we can.


jeanie.stecher profile image

jeanie.stecher 6 years ago from Seattle

After all, you should be thankful that God gave you angel Brionna. Despite the hardship, it ended happy.


kmackey32 profile image

kmackey32 6 years ago from Pittsburgh PA Author

Thanks Izzy, yes I do... :)


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK

Oh Kmackey girl! Big hugs! You need them right now.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

I was looking for an update on Brionna.


joaniemb profile image

joaniemb 6 years ago from New York

My thoughts and prayers are with you. What an experience for you and your daughter. Brionna seems to be a very strong baby and I am praying for her. May God give you all the strength you need to get through this.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I had a preemie at 30 weeks, he was 2 pds. 12 oz. He is 24 now and a father himself.

Good luck with the fundraiser and thank God they were able to help her, and hopefully she will be that miracle baby!

God can do many things that we can't fathom!!


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast

kmackey, my prayers are with you and your family and little Brionna.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

I read this last night. I simply want you to know I'm thinking of you and little Brionna and your daughter.

We never know what we're going to face in life, and sometimes we don't know how to respond.. but I think deep within everyone, that part of us guides us. sending you lots of love and hugs. xo


kmackey32 profile image

kmackey32 6 years ago from Pittsburgh PA Author

Thank You KCC. I love the name too...


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas

I'm sending good thoughts your way. Brionna is a beautiful name.


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 6 years ago from Massachusetts

As I know a lot of other people on HubPages must be, I've been watching for any updates. What an ordeal, but - you're right - sometimes things happen that nobody would ever imagine. I suppose, if you and your daughter don't feel certain, all you can do is go with your instinct and heart. Sometimes these decisions are made for us, one way or another. For now, this little, tiny, girl sure seems to be a fighter. It sounds like the doctor(s) is trying to think of, and do, whatever s/he can - so at least, maybe, you can feel reassured about that. This is an awful lot for your daughter to have to deal with at her age too. Continued, sincerest, wishes/prayers for Brionna, you, and your daughter.


DoorMattnomore 6 years ago

I have no idea if this helps, but I was born early and the Doctors told my mother I would probably not live, IF I did, I would be brain damaged. My situation was not nearly as severe, but sometimes the Doctors are wrong.

What a rollercoaster!! I wish you and your daughter strength and peace, and I hope you know that whatever happens, you did all that you could. Hang in there girls.


Harvey Stelman profile image

Harvey Stelman 6 years ago from Illinois

K, I was born a month early in 1949. They were close to asking my father, mother or son. We both made it. People don't realize how bad this issue can be. Thanks. H

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