From the very beginning, Lydia Wilson’s arrival into the world was unique.
Krista Wilson, Lydia’s mom, was headed from Edgerton to Louisburg where
she teaches elementary school, when she noticed she was having contractions. It was Oct. 21, 2010, and Lydia wasn’t due for another five weeks.
“I was having contractions on the way into work, and I had to keep stopping and breathing into my contractions,” Krista said. “They were more intense than Braxton Hicks, but since I was having a C-section, I hadn’t reviewed any of the warning signs (of labor).”
Lydia is the second child of Chad and Krista Wilson – brother Jack is almost 2 now – was delivered via C-section as well.
As she continued about her morning routine, the contractions started coming so quickly, that Krista decided she should call the hospital.
“I told them my contractions were about five minutes apart,” Krista said. “She said, ‘Oh, honey, you need to get to the hospital.’”
One of her co-workers drove her and husband Chad met her there.
Hospital staff gave Krista medications to stop the contractions and the pair returned home – only to have the contractions start up again in later that evening.
“I thought there was no point in going to the hospital,” Krista said. “They were just going to tell me to go home and rest.”
When her water broke at 3:15 a.m. the following morning, the Wilsons called an ambulance.
“I was not prepared to handle any of that. I wanted my epidural and my C-section. I was not ready to have a baby that night,” she said.
But Lydia had other plans. She was born on Oct. 22, 2010. Krista said she never realized until a few days ago that the doctors knew something was wrong. To Krista, Lydia was and still is a perfect baby.
“When she was born, her stomach was really distended,” she said. “They knew something was wrong. Chad said he could see on their faces that something wasn’t quite right, but he didn’t know what it was.”
Doctors initially thought Lydia had some sort of infection that caused her stomach to be distended.
“From that point on they kept her quarantined at the hospital. We didn’t get to hold her very much,” Krista recalls.
And then they started the testing. Only days old, Lydia was transported to Overland Park Regional Medical Center’s Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit.
Doctors tested for infections. They tested for dwarfism. They tested her DNA for chromosomal abnormalities.
Meanwhile, Lydia was learning to draw breath.
“Those last couple weeks of pregnancy, they’re working on the suck, swallow, breathe-thing in the womb and obviously she didn’t have that time,” Krista explained.
Her stomach is fine, but the testing revealed other health concerns.
She’s missing her corpus callosum – a wide, flat bundle of neural fibers that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Doctors discovered that Lydia also had a brain bleed in vitro.
“Then she has a chromosomal abnormality,” Krista said. “We don’t know what it’s going to mean. There’s only one other kid in the world that has anything even remotely close to it. She’s very unique.”
In the meantime, preemies are very susceptible to infections. In December, she was hospitalized again, this time with RSV. She spent almost a month in the hospital at Christmas time.
Although she’s spent almost six weeks of her three-and-a-half months in the hospital, Krista said Lydia is meeting all of her benchmarks.
“I think that God erases our memories of our first born,” Krista said. “Chad and I have talked over and over. We don’t remember what Jack was like as a baby. It’s hard, because she was a preemie they have to adjust all of their benchmarks. She’s smiling. She makes good eye contact. If you look at her, she’s pretty much what you’d expect. She seems to be right on track.”
Like all babies, Krista said she and Chad don’t know what she’ll be like in the future.
“We’ve met with the neurologist, endocrinologist and a whole lot of ologists that I don’t even know, only time will let us know what she’s going to be like,” Krista said.
Lydia’s geneticist gave the parents an article about the one other child in the world with a similar chromosomal abnormality.
“We’ve chosen not to read it,” Krista said. “We’re going to let Lydia be Lydia and whatever she’s going to need we’re going to do for her. It doesn’t matter what some piece of paper says about some other kid. She’s who she’s going to be.”
Although uncertain what the long term future holds, one thing is certain in the near future – all of those hospital bills will be coming due, and friends of the family are coming to help.
The family has paid their full insurance deductible three of the last five years. Lydia’s birth and first stay in the hospital hit during one insurance year. Her second illness and hospitalization struck during the next insurance year. Her employer doesn’t offer maternity leave – only earned sick days, of which Krista had seven, when Lydia was born. So, for a large portion of Lydia’s first few weeks, Krista won’t be getting a paycheck.
“Everything just kind of hit at once,” she said. “We were just going to have a normal baby and everything was going to be fine. It was just this perfect storm kind of thing.”
But, Krista said, Lydia has a large support system including a large church family. Also, both sets of grandparents live nearby. Gloria and J.P. Lefman in Gardner – and Richard and Vicki Wilson in Edgerton.
Additionally, Krista’s friends at her school in the Louisburg School District, are throwing a benefit to help the family get by.
Fourth grade teachers and staff at Broadmoor Elementary School will host a chili and chicken noodle dinner to benefit the Wilson family. The dinner will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Feb. 10 at the elementary school, 105 E. 5th Street, Louisburg. Donations will be accepted at the door.