By Natalie Simms
When Rome native Kayla Holderfield was admitted to Floyd Medical Center just over three weeks ago for blood sugar issues while 31 weeks pregnant, she didn’t know she would be a walking miracle today.
Diagnosed with gestational diabetes, Holderfield was keeping a check of her blood sugar levels but was having trouble keeping them regulated. Following a regular obstetrics check-up, her physician admitted her into the hospital for a slow insulin drip and fetal monitoring to get her blood sugar levels stable.
“I was admitted into the Labor and Delivery unit so they could monitor the baby while I received the insulin. They started the insulin through IV and then the next day I took a turn in the hospital. I really don’t remember much about what happened,” she says.
“I remember I got really sick and started throwing up, but I don’t remember anything after that until I woke up at Emory (Hospital).”
Holderfield’s blood sugar was so low, her body began to shut down. Her pancreas and kidneys were “crashing” and her heart function dropped to 5-percent.
“I actually coded and went into cardiac arrest and they had to do an emergency c-section,” she says. “I don’t remember anything…it really sucks that I don’t remember my baby being born.”
Holderfield gave birth on June 13th to daughter Minnie Jo who weighed 4 lbs. 15 oz. The baby was immediately taken into Floyd’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for care, meanwhile medical providers rushed to save her mother’s life. Holderfield was airlifted to Emory immediately after her c-section to receive specialized treatment.
“It was scary at Emory. I had all these tubes everywhere…running down my throat…and I had no idea where I was or what had happened,” she says. “I was in ICU at Emory and later moved to the heart (cardiac) wing…my mom and dad could only see me one time because of the coronavirus restrictions. It was hard not to see my family.”
But it was even worse to not be able to see and hold her baby. “It was a scary thing to wake up and realize I was no longer pregnant and not know where my baby was,” she says.
Holderfield was able to see her baby via a new NICU camera platform called ‘Angel Eye’, a mobile app that allows family the ability to see hospitalized newborns at any time and communicate with the baby’s healthcare providers.
“When I first woke up at Emory, they had an app at Floyd called ‘Angel Eye’ that they logged into with a camera and I could see my baby. Her nurses are great…it is nice to know that she is being well-taken care of,” she says. “They often leave me pictures and little notes on the app that I can see as well as video of her (Minnie Jo).”
Meanwhile, Holderfield miraculously recovered from her blood sugar ‘crash’. She says her doctors told her not many people survive that type of medical situation. As she recovered, doctors also noticed issues with her gallbladder, but her heart was not strong enough to perform surgery to remove it. She will be re-evaluated in 6-8 weeks to see if it still needs to be removed.
“It’s so crazy because I went from taking no medications to now taking 14 medications. I am on antibiotics for my gallbladder, heart medications, insulin medicines and more. I have to check my blood sugar multiple times a day,” she says.
Holderfield was released from Emory on a week ago on June 29 and able to go to Floyd Medical Center to see her baby.
“I went straight to the hospital to see her and hold her…it was so great to be able to love on her. My mom and my brother and his girlfriend had been taking turns to come see her while I was in the hospital. I am so thankful they let them visit her…we all have to scrub down, put on masks and gowns,” she says.
“I am able to go once a day for 2 to 3 hours. I’m still recovering myself or I would come more, but I will as I recover more.”
Minnie Jo continues to progress and gain weight up to 5 lbs. 12 oz. as of Friday. She is still on oxygen for some slight breathing issues, but Holderfield is hopeful she will be able to bring her baby home by her actual due date of Aug. 17 if not before.
“This has really been a big eye opener. You never know what’s going to happen in life…it can change in a matter of minutes,” she says. “I have received so many calls and prayers. It’s a blessing to know so many were praying for me. I believe that helped a lot…God was watching over me.”