Sunny Gault 0:01
Sometimes the journey to motherhood isn't exactly how we planned. We all hope for an uneventful pregnancy. And it's important to know there are steps we can take to minimize potential risks, such as the risk of birth defects. And that's why Preggie Pals is proud to partner with the March of Dimes for this very special episode. Today, you're going to meet Dani. Dani and her husband will have had quite the parenting journey. There were lows, and there were highs, and she's here to share her story with us. This is Preggie Pals!
Sunny Gault 1:05
Welcome, everyone to Preggie Pals! My name is Sunny and I am your host. Just a little bit about myself. I have four kiddos, but only three pregnancies. So yes, that includes a set of twins. Now it's been a while since I've personally been pregnant, but I do love hanging out with all of you pregnant mamas week after week. If you love Preggie Pals as much as we do, please tell another pregnant mama about us, you can subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all of the podcasting apps. And if you want to check out some of the other podcasts we produce, such as Newbies, Parents Savers, The Boob Group and Twin Talks, then visit our website at https://newmommymedia.com.
Sunny Gault 1:55
So how many mamas out there have heard of the March of Dimes? You may recall their purple logo. For 80 years, the March of Dimes has been advocating for the health of all moms and babies. And one of their missions is to educate families about the risks of birth defects. Birth Defects affect about one in every 33 babies born in the US each year. Now we've had the March of Dimes on Preggie Pals in the past to talk about these risks. But today, we're going to do something a little bit different. Today you're going to meet Dani Kilgore. She's a mom, and she has first hand experience with this. Dani, welcome to Preggie Pals!
Dani Kilgore 2:33
Hi, thank you so much. I'm glad to be here.
Sunny Gault 2:37
Dani, you and your husband. Well, you have had quite the journey to parenthood. And I'm sure most of what you experienced was unexpected. So take us back to the beginning here. Did you guys always want to have children or what was the plan?
Dani Kilgore 2:51
So yeah, you know, we always wanted to have children. Yeah, I, I am the second child in the middle of three. So my sister. She's nine years older than me. And then I have a half brother who's 70 years younger than I am. And so you know, everyone grew up like only children basically. Sure. But then my, my husband on the other side, he has six, six siblings. So he he grew up in a family of eight. And, you know, that was like one of the things we first started talking about when we first started dating. I was like, Okay, so let's I just have one really important question to ask you. And I think he was bracing himself for us. I don't know what he was right. He was like, okay, yeah, what's up? And I was like, so how many children do you want? You know, I can't promise you that. I'll be able to give you six kids. Like I don't I don't. That's not in my I like to say that is not my ministry that is the ministry of...
Sunny Gault 3:57
You don't have your own children's ministry, right?
Dani Kilgore 4:02
I am that that woman. And I told him at that time to say cuz I hear I hear having babies as hard. Right? And to have six of them. I don't know if I have that kind of strength. And he's, he just started laughing. He's like, Yeah, we don't have to have six. Maybe we can have four. And that scared me too was like four. So we compromised instead. Okay, how about we do three and if God blesses us with the fourth one, then that'll be you know, a bonus baby. So yeah, we we talked about really early on and because my dad, my biological father is a twin. He was born a twin. I was nervous. It's like, oh my goodness. Because what what if we have twins and he's like, Oh, I have twins in my family too. And oh, my goodness. This is gonna be interesting life journey.
Sunny Gault 4:52
Well, you know, Dani, that's actually what happened to me. I had two children, two single babies. And then I had a identical twins. So that's how I got four babies. My husband and I, we were going for baby number three. And we got baby three and four. So I know exactly what you're talking about. All right, so take me back a little bit. Let's talk about your first pregnancy. What happened?
Dani Kilgore 5:17
So, my husband and I got married in 2009. We've been married for 11 years. And we got married November 2009. And then February 2010, I found like I was pregnant. And, you know, I was, I'm not the most thrilled about this pregnancy, because we were so young. In our marriage. We we had we, we hadn't even gotten the six months. And so I was really, I the way I had planned being pregnant. It was not starting off the way I had written in my goal book in college, my third year of college, I'd written out, well, how old I'd be when I got married, what career I would have. So when we got married, and then I found out I was pregnant, like just a few months later, I was, I was shocked. And I was I was, you know, a little anxious. So by that, I was also a teacher. At that time, was my first I had just started being a teacher. I was in my first year of being a teacher. My husband was working as a media director for our church. And so you know, we like to say we have really humble salaries. And so we're newlyweds, humble salaries, and then we have a baby on the way. It was just not at all what I pictured life was supposed to go in. But my husband, because like I said, He came from a family of a family of eight. He had six siblings. He's like, Yes, I'm so excited. I am so excited about this. Let's go. And his excitement and his joy, you know, got me excited. And so he's like, don't worry about it's gonna be fine. God's gonna take care of us. It's like, okay, well, let's go then we're gonna have a baby. And I was so excited.
Dani Kilgore 7:05
And then, you know, about six weeks in, I miscarried. And I was devastated. I went from being so I was I went from being, you know, a little anxious and, you know, shocked and nervous about what life would look like having a baby, an unplanned baby, to well, it's okay, I'm excited. I'm gonna be a mom, it's gonna be great to Oh, actually, no, you're not gonna be a baby mom. And it was hard. It was really hard. That roller coaster of emotions that I experienced over that six and a half weeks after that, my husband and I, we decided that we were going to wait, and we're going to put measures in place so that we can wait more intentionally. And so we waited. And then in 2013, I, we were like, we were ready to start again. And so I got pregnant. I, you know, I say, getting pregnant has never been an issue for my husband. And I, you know, we'll and I have never had an issue with getting pregnant, we get pregnant, like very quickly, but it's remaining pregnant. That has been our struggle. And so in 2013, I found that I was pregnant. We were really excited. I was it was I was happy. I was I was fairly healthy. I was still in my I was still in my 20s at that time. And I was a soccer coach. I was a teacher. I mean, things were doing. We were doing well, it was it was, it was a great time, and in my mind is perfect timing to have a baby. And so we found out it was going to be a little boy. And that was exciting. And we were going to name him William Jr. So he was going to be my husband's namesake. Everything was just going great. I mean, it was awesome.
Dani Kilgore 8:58
Around 20 weeks, though, I think I was exercising or doing something and I noticed some spotting. And it made me nervous. And so I called my doctor and she told me to rest and things like that. And then the next day I I felt like more I saw more blood clotting. And I got really nervous because I remembered what it looked like for my first pregnancy. That's what my first pregnancy looked like. And so we came into the doctor, they ran tests, things like that. And after all of the tests that they ran blood, work samples, things like that. She checked my son and he was fine. They couldn't figure out what was wrong. They couldn't figure out what was going on. And so they just said let's just monitor it and so we just, you know, took it and said, Okay, well that's a praise report and we'll just move on. But around 23 weeks, I started waking up with the severe headaches, really severe migraines. I felt like my head was exploding was gonna explode, it was so much pressure, I was dizzy, I was seeing spots. I was having like extreme hot flashes, I didn't know what was going on. And I call my doctor they told me to read stay in bed. We they told us to go and get our blood pressure checked at like the at Walgreens or at the fire department or something like that. And we ended up going to get my blood pressure checked, and it was really high. And I had not had blood, high blood pressure, you know, symptoms or anything like that previously, so this was shocking. But and they just said, We'll drink some more water and less seat, maybe we'll send you and take you and give you some we'll do a urine sample. They never wanted me. It's almost like they wouldn't let me come in. And so after a couple of days of that, two, three days of that, man, my husband decided no, we're gonna go in.
Dani Kilgore 10:59
And so we went into the doctor's office, I didn't have an appointment. I went into the doctor's office, and my doctor was not there. And the nurses were not willing to bring me back. And I kept telling you that if something isn't right, something doesn't feel right. I don't. My blood pressure's high. You know, I'm just something does not seem right. And my mother taught me very early on as growing up that you always pay attention to the signs that your body sends you, your body always tells you that something something is out alive, some things imbalance, your body tells you that and pay attention to those signs. And as a mother, I, you know, it's even more important to pay attention to those signs. And so I was really adamant. I was like, No, I'm not leaving until someone sees me. And I, you know, I think at that time, they were looking at me, as if I wasn't, I was just being irate, interact, irrational things like that. And so they finally brought a doctor who was there, said, Okay, fine, bring her on back. I'll look at her. I remember him saying it just like that. And so I went back. The nurse put me in a room she like they normally do they take your blood pressure. And when she took my blood pressure, she said, Oh. And she said, I'll be right back Miss Kilgore. And so she left, she came back with a doctor, the doctor took my blood pressure, he took it twice actually took it with the automated one. And they took it with the manual one. And he said, Mr. War, I need to make a phone call. And then I'll come right back. It is one they haven't told me told me or my husband anything. And so he leaves, he comes back and he says, Okay, I need you to go to the hospital, I need you to check into the hospital, do not go back home, I need you to go straight there. My blood, he told us that my blood pressure was 156 over 107. And I needed to go straight to the hospital. And so I went to the hospital, we got checked in. He met us a few minutes later. And that's when he shared with us that I had preeclampsia. Basically you know that preeclampsia is when the body's your is causing stress on the baby. And your heart is fighting to send blood through either through either the placenta or through the umbilical cord and something is is keeping it from happening. And so as a result of that, he shared that I needed to be there be monitored, and I would stay in the hospital until
Dani Kilgore 13:39
I gave birth. And I was 23 weeks at this time. And I'm like doing the math like, as a long time to be in the hospital. Yeah, like in the bed in the hospital. Like that's 17 weeks, like 40 weeks, 17 weeks, I'm going to be in the hospital. That's that's a long time. And so, and he told me that, you know, the reason why is because preeclampsia could could easily have were there if they're not paying attention to him and my closely monitor could turn into eclampsia, which is causes seizures and could be fatal for both myself and my unborn child. And so we got our minds around being in the hospital. And so I was there. And I was being monitored constantly. And around 28 weeks, I was awakened out of my sleep by the nurse and the nurse came in and she was monitoring me and she said Miss Kilbride need to wake you up. Because I need to wake you up because I'm noticing something on your mind on the monitor that I need to contact a doctor about. And so she woke me up and the doctor came in and they sit me down they did they went down and did ultrasounds and things like that. And we found out that my placenta had come from pletely stopped working. It stopped working, it was no longer sending receiving blood that the heart was sending to it to to distribute to my son. And as a result, my son's heart rate had dropped, dropped significantly low to the point to where they needed to do an emergency c-section. My son was born September 19 2013. He was weighing in at one ounce less than a pound.
Sunny Gault 15:29
Dani Kilgore 15:30
Yeah. Yep, he's worn at 28 weeks. And I didn't get to see him for the first three days. Because, again, I just had major surgery. I had to have a, what they call a classical cesarean. I'm not sure if you're familiar with that. But...
Sunny Gault 15:47
No, I haven't heard of that. What is that?
Dani Kilgore 15:49
So a classical cesarean? So you know, with the traditional cesarean that they normally do, it's like a you call it it's a horizontal incision.
Sunny Gault 15:57
Dani Kilgore 15:58
Well with the classical sincerity, and it's the one that I guess that doctors did prior to discovering that they could do it a different way. They it's they do a vertical incision, so they cut up vertically versus horizontally. And so they're cutting through more layers of tissue and muscle and things like that, to get to the baby.
Sunny Gault 16:22
Was this happening really quickly? Like, I'm wondering why they didn't share that information with you. Maybe there was just no other option at that point.
Dani Kilgore 16:30
At you know, it? I'm not sure. And even you know, you the same questions that you're having right now are the same questions I had after, as I'm as I started to process what I just went through, after the fact, like, Why didn't anybody tell me this? Why didn't I know, my son was born. He was he went straight to the NICU. And they discovered that his lungs were extremely underdeveloped, which is what they were afraid of. That being a baby being born that early. There's so many major organs that are not fully developed yet so many, you know, aspects of the sustaining life have not yet fully developed or developed yet. And his lungs were one of those. And so he was on a breathing machine that kept his lungs inflated. That was his issue. Like he would take a breath and his lungs would collapse, they wouldn't re inflate. And so when it got to a point where he got off the breathing machine, he had gotten held, he's opened his eyes. He he was holding, he would put his hand so we weren't able to hold him. We couldn't take him out. Because of the the possibility of infection and things like that. And because also he was so fragile, so we couldn't, I couldn't hold him. I could touch him, it through the incubator, but I couldn't hold him. And so there would be times where he would, you know, grab my finger, and I'm like, Oh, my gosh, this is so great. And the doctors, everyone was like, Oh, this is such good news, where he's, he's, he's on his way. He's doing so well.
Dani Kilgore 18:10
And then in the process of changing one out of his out his feeding tube, and putting it back in, he got pneumonia. And when he got pneumonia, he got really sick. And they had to put him back on the breathing machine, through antibiotics and things like that. They were able to clear the infection. And he was healthy again. And he was doing well again, he was growing weight. And he was getting I mean, his features were starting to come in. He was like, oh my goodness, he looks just like my husband. And so I mean, he's just I'm watching him develop before my eyes. And then October 31 of 2013, he got pneumonia again. And that is when things just went spiraling down. He just, it was just really hard to keep his lungs to inflate and deflate. I mean to deflate and then inflate again. It was really hard. The doctors were trying to clear the infection, they were having a hard time clearing the infection from pneumonia. And as much as he tried to fight. He he just eventually lost that fight. And he passed away. So November 8 2013. He passed away so he lived 50 days. 50 days of life. And yeah, it was it was really, it was hard to save. Yes. You know, it's not anything you can do to prepare for something like that. And it also didn't make a whole lot of sense.
Dani Kilgore 19:48
You know, you you prepare or you you imagine that one day your parents will pass away. Your grandparents will pass away. I mean, if you're married your spouse, one day will pass away you yourself will pass away. But when you think about your children, right, that is not something that you can prepare for. It was really it was a it was a challenging time. But it's only by the grace of God, our support system of our friends, our family, our church home. I went through a lot of therapy. And we had group counseling, where we were able to be in a circle of mothers and fathers who had experienced just what we did to where you didn't feel like you are alone. It was a lonely place. It was very lonely place. And my friends from college friends from high school, my neighbor, they people started reaching out to me all over say, Yeah, this happened to me, too. Oh, yeah, this happened to me, or Oh, yeah, my cousin this happened to her it the amount of people that started to share their stories in connection with this, who I had no clue what style. It was. It was making me feel less than inadequate. I was no longer feeling inadequate. I was starting to feel like, okay, there are more women like me. But then it also started to make me wonder too, like what is happening here, because there was a common denominator. And all of the women that I were talking to were African American women. They were all African American women look the same story. And I wasn't sure why that was happening. And so I remember doing some Google searches, trying to ask questions why this was and what was happening? Why are so many African American women? Why does so many African American have this story of, you know, miscarriages and stillbirths and premature Labor's and, you know, things like that, why is that happening?
Dani Kilgore 21:54
And I happened upon some articles that were housed on the March of Dimes website. Okay. Yeah. And I started reading and I saw the disparities, and the biases and the, the discrimination that women of color have experienced in healthcare, specifically to when it relates to maternity. And I was, I was shocked, you know, a lot of it was had to do with access to health care. But that was not my case. I had access to health care, I had health insurance, that wasn't my issue. So what was it, and I couldn't help but to connect, that there was some discrimination or some stereotypes that were being unbiased and microaggressions that I was experiencing, that maybe even the doctors himself had were not aware of. And it was hard. But from reading these articles, reading the stories from these moms listening to other friends, that this experience was, I felt like I had received my power back like I the power was back into my hands. And so a friend of mine, she's she knew that I was doing all this research and things like that she shared with me, she said, you know, hey, what about if you do a March of Dimes, walk, and I didn't know what that was. And so she shared with me that. And that was our first time connecting with March of Dimes. And we did a walk because like, shortly after Mother's Day, we did a walk, and we did in the name of my son. And I felt hope. I felt joy. I felt encouraged. And I felt like I had the strength to try again. And so my husband and I, we decided to try again. And so in 2014, we tried, and then we miscarried again. And I think at that point, I had come to a fork in the road. And my husband and I started to explore what would it look like if our family was a family of two? Yeah. What would it look like if our family consisted of children that were not biologically our children, but their children? Because God allowed them to be our children. So what would it look like if we adopted? Or will it look like if we became foster parents, we started to explore those options, and we were like, okay, then that's what we're going to explore. And so we stopped with the trying for a child. But you know, we took a vacation to to Las Vegas. And I always say, you know, people always say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. That's not true. That's a lie. Because, you know, some things do come back with you know, we came back and found out that I was pregnant, and I was like, Oh, wow, when did that happen? And I started like, oh, Vegas.
Sunny Gault 25:01
Dani, I'm gonna have you pause just for a second. We're gonna take a quick break. I want to learn more about this pregnancy. I'm assuming you're talking about your daughter Harper now. Yeah, yeah. I want to hear about that whole story. We'll be right back after this quick break.
Sunny Gault 25:18
Okay, welcome back to Preggie Pals everyone. Now before the break, you met Dani, and she's been sharing her story of her pregnancies, the birth of her Angel babies, everything she's been through, and we started to talk about her last pregnancy with her daughter Harper. So this does have a positive ending to it. So Dani, take it away. Tell us about your daughter, Harper, and how she was born.
Dani Kilgore 25:42
Yeah. So we found that I was pregnant. When I went in. I was a little nervous about this pregnancy. And so when I went in, the first thing the doctor said, as he was looking at my chart, he said, wow, Miss Kilgore, as I'm looking at your chart, I see that you've experienced a lot of loss. And before we get in, I just wanted to say I'm so sorry. I am so sorry that you've experienced this. I'm so sorry that this has been your story. And I'm going to do whatever I can to make you feel comfortable and to care for you. I was blown away. Like no, I was, it took me but I didn't even know how to answer. I mean, I was shocked. Because for the first time, a doctor saw me as a human, as a mother, as someone who had experienced trauma. It was I was I mean, I was blown away. And it was a sign for me that this pregnancy is going to be different. I mean, it was a lot. It was a lot different. And so I had this pregnancy. And then went through 35 Weeks was my daughter went through 35 weeks, it was at 35 weeks, because I had like I said, I was at the doctor's almost every week and I had different doctors for different things. And my high risk doctor, he saw that a test where my daughter would respond, see how quick her Her heart rate was going to respond. He saw a slight dip. And as a result, he said, I think it would be a good idea to to deliver today. He said, Because I don't it looks like the placenta is at the beginning stages of pre eclampsia. And we don't want to take any chances. And so he said, but ultimately, this is your decision. And this is what this means. And this is what could happen at 35 weeks she could come. There's these different birth defects that can happen as a result her of her being born prematurely. And he says so I'm going to step out and I'm going to give you and I'm going to give you to an opportunity to talk about it. And when I come back, you let me know what you'd like to do. That again had never happened. Again, it felt like he was putting the power back into our hands.
Dani Kilgore 28:02
And so we made the decision to go ahead and deliver her and it was gone. And of course again like I said it was via cesarean and she was one of 35 weeks. She hurt but her lungs were developed. She could eat on her own she spent two weeks in the NICU only because she was just underweight my she was three pounds and a few and three pounds six ounces and so they needed her to get at four pounds or above four pounds or greater before she could leave the hospital. And so you know we're from the south is so my I remember my mother in law she said okay, so then that means you know you need to start eating some grits and some cornbread and some college because I need you to thicken that milk put some need to make the oatmeal look thicker. So you can either my my like, I don't work like that. But like, you know, it's so funny southern moms have the southern moms have a sense of, of thinking one way and it it was a blessing to that that's how she was like supporting me in that like, Okay, well I'm gonna make you some concrete. I make you somebody you know, it's like, it's so hard. Yeah. And so she she was like I said she was in the NICU. They did the regular test, but one of the tests that came back was her hearing test. Okay, and as a result of her being born so early, she her hearing was not was not fully developed. And as a result she was born with sensory neural hearing loss. And that's when the the fibers in the ear canal that allow sound to vibrate they either did it develop or they developed and they died. So she does wear bilateral hearing aids to amplify sound, okay? And her speech was, was delayed because of that. But she's five years old, and she's reading and she's at school and she has fun. And she has little friends and she loves all things pink in, he has opinions. And she's here. She's like, Yeah, just like any other girl, she just wears hearing aids, and she needs a little more special attention when people are talking to her. But, you know, I, when I look at my daughter, she says, a representation that miracles happen. Steady, miracles are real. And yeah, it was, I don't think had had we. I don't think if we had have not found March of Dimes and experience that I don't think If mothers had have shared their story with me, I'm not sure if I would have made the decision to keep going. They made the decision to try again, or, but I appreciate it. Moms sharing their story. I appreciate it being connected to March of Dimes being able to be in a community of women, community of fathers where, you know, they turn their stories from stories of pain and sorrow and grief to stories of courage and bravery and hope. And it gave me that hope, you know. So yeah, it was, it was definitely a blessing. And she's a blessing to us for sure.
Sunny Gault 31:40
Dani, what do you want other moms to know, we've talked about a lot of stuff today, there's a lot of good information in there. And your story is unbelievable, truly inspirational. What do you want other moms to know? What would you tell them?
Dani Kilgore 31:55
You know, moms who have experience, anything similar to what I've experienced, I would say to you, you are brave, you are strong. Nothing is wrong with you. And that you have the power, you have power more than what you think and to keep going keep trying not keep an eye and when I say keep trying, I mean keep trying to live this new normal is what I'm saying. Life is not the same as it was. It never will be. But keep trying to live your new normal. And know that you have a community of women all over the world that stand with you. But for mothers who this isn't there story, mothers who are trying or mothers who have, have had no none of these experiences. I would say to remember those who are who that isn't their story, remember it, and be willing, when that is someone's story to hear their heart. Because I think at the end of the day, a lot of what I needed was someone to just listen, that was a part of my healing, that was a part of me have being able to gain back control of what I have, what I was experiencing, is to be able to be heard. And so it's podcasts like yours, that give women that that space in that power to know be heard, speak up, listen, we want to hear we want to listen, and we want to celebrate all what motherhood looks like, all of what the journey of becoming a parent looks like. All of it's worth celebrating all of it's worth listening to. And that together we make up a group of women that are just a boss is what I can gather together, you know, my women, you know, it's nothing like it's nothing like a woman. There's so much in depth in our depth in our beings that causes us to be able to stand with each other, and to hold each other up and to have a certain strength. And so yeah, that's what I would say.
Sunny Gault 34:21
Well, Dani, I appreciate you I know our audience appreciates you. I know telling these stories isn't always the easiest, right? There's a lot of emotion. that's tied to it. But I just want to thank you for being on our show today for being vulnerable for telling your story and for inspiring other people. We just ee really appreciate you so thank you.
Dani Kilgore 34:43
Thank you so much. I appreciate that.
Sunny Gault 34:51
That wraps up our show for today. Thanks so much for listening. Again. We want to thank Dani and the March of Dimes for being part of our podcast. You can visit www.marchof dimes.org/preggiepals, for more information about how you can stay healthy during your pregnancy, and protect your baby. If you love Preggie Pals as much as we do, please consider checking out the amazing businesses that sponsor our episodes week after week. And we'd also love for you to tell another pregnant mama about this resource, which of course, is absolutely free. And if you want to check out some of our other podcasts we produce, such as Newbies, Parents Savers, The Boob Group and Twin Talks, then visit our website at https://newmommymedia.com. Thanks for listening to Preggie Pals, your pregnancy your way.
This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those are New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Will such information and materials are believed to be accurate. It is not intended to replace or substitute for professional medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health, or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.