The Joy of Her Life Came Four Months Too Soon
Ayoola (pronounced “I O La”) means “Joy” in her native language. She and her husband Michael grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. They moved to the United States eight years ago. She worked for a time as a resident assistant at a senior center.
Michael’s background is in IT. Today, he works in logistics during the day and at night is in school working on a degree in Supply Chain & Logistics Management.
Though his family time is hard to come by, Ayoola is so proud of him. Michael’s a straight A student.
Demi and Ayoola
Demi is a short form for her first name "Oluwademilade", meaning God has crowned me a crown of glory. But she is a perfect Demi in both her size and her personality. At 2 years old, Demi loves music and she loves to dance. She’s left-handed and she likes to brush her teeth. Demi loves to watch Minnie Mouse and the McStuffins. She’s already learned to change TV channels and watch movies from Ayoola’s phone. Demi loves to help her mom with cooking and cleaning. And, she loves strawberries.
Her love of strawberries is special because they are Ayoola’s favorite too, especially while she was on bedrest for seven weeks at Cone Health Women’s Hospital waiting for Demi to come and praying that she’d arrive safely. The rest is their story…
A Stitch in Time
Ayoola and Michael had been trying to have children for more than 11 years of their marriage. Ayoola went to several specialists and after several miscarriages, one of which was ectopic and caused the removal of her right fallopian tube. Not too long after, just as Ayoola was beginning to lose hope that she would conceive and carry a child to term, she found she was pregnant apparently thanks to the tiniest of eggs coming from her remaining left tube. Now the goal was to stay pregnant long enough for Demi to be born. Ayoola's obstetrician, Dr. Richard Taavon, was determined to make that happen.
About two months into her pregnancy, the pressure became too much and it became necessary for Ayoola to have a cervical cerclage, a procedure to stitch a woman’s cervix closed, to prevent preterm labor and delivery. Ayoola then took time off to stay at home and reduce the day-to-day stress of working. At 17 weeks, Ayoola came to Women’s Hospital for the remainder of her pregnancy.
Living with Feet Elevated
To give the baby as much time as possible, Ayoola lived for the next seven weeks in bed at the Women’s antepartum unit with her feet elevated to reduce the pressure on her cervix. After waiting so many years, she was even reluctant to move or go to the restroom. She made the best of it though. She took the time to get to know her care team as well as the other moms-to-be.
Instead of gaining weight, however, Ayoola actually began losing it. So the chefs at Women’s Hospital came by to check on her and started making her whatever she wanted. Her favorites were chicken, green beans, collard greens, rice, noodles and strawberries. Now, they’re Demi’s too!
She’s Here! She’s Here!
At 21 weeks, Ayoola and her care team started to count down the days. Knowing the baby’s best chances for survival and viability began at 24 weeks, they worked together to do whatever they could to keep Ayoola comfortable and the baby safe inside for three more weeks.
One evening, after Dr. Taavon had been by and Michael had gone home to supper and feed their dog, one of Ayoola’s nurses looked in on her before leaving for the day. Ayoola was in so much pain, she called Dr. Taavon He came right back to check her and said "This baby is here!"
“I had just gotten to my car in the hospital parking lot when I was called back in. It was time for Ayoola to give birth. She was three months early,” says Taavon.
Demi was born at 24.5 weeks. She weighed just over a pound and was about the size of a TV remote. Ayoola remembers saying, “Hello Demi! I’ve waited for you for a long time. I’m so glad you are here!
Demi then opened her eyes and looked back at her mom like she already knew and had been waiting for her, too.
She’s Not Home Yet!
Although Demi was born August 27th, her first day home was just before Christmas on December 17th. Demi stayed on at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Women’s Hospital for the next three months and three weeks. During that time, she got stronger and the NICU team fell in love with her.
"Our neonatal team watched over Demi for three months. She kept getting strong and healthier. We sent her home with her parents just before Christmas," says Cathy Wyler, RN.
Michael’s first opportunity to hold Demi was on his birthday in September. From then until she came home, he made sure to come by twice a day to hold Demi as part of the hospital’s recommended ‘skin to skin’ practice.
Thriving Her Way into the Terrible Two’s
Recently celebrating her two-year-old birthday, Demi is a straight A student just like her daddy. She just completed her education therapy and is now considered to be at the same level as the other kids in her ‘mothers-day-out’ class.
While Demi loves to sing her ABC’s, she is a budding ‘rock-n-roller.’ Her real favorite song is “God is Not Dead” by the Newsboys. Play that, and she will sing, dance and totally capture your heart. “My God's not dead, He's surely alive He's living on the inside, roaring like a lion!” The Newsboys.