Friday, March 21, 2014

The biggest blessing of my life!

Hey Y'all! (I'm warning you... this is long, but worth the read I think :)

It’s been quite a while since I've done a post, a year to be exact. I needed to take a little break after the rollercoaster year that I had. I lost my dad which was very hard and think that is going to take a while to grieve. I have never lost anyone close like that to me before. For as much sadness as I feel, I’m also so happy for him because he is in a way better place with no more suffering! :)
Another huge contributor to my crazy year goes back to exactly one year from today. My water broke! Exciting right? Well not quite... I was only 21 weeks and 5 days. I honestly didn’t even know that is for sure what had happened until I went to the doctor because I was in the shower when it broke. We got there and she examined me and said everything looked good to her but she was going to do an ultrasound. Sure enough the ultrasound showed that all my amniotic fluid was gone! I didn’t even know how bad that was till she explained; I thought it could be replenished. I was wrong it was not good. She said you are going to have to go to the hospital right now and you will be on bed rest till you deliver. Since your water already broke it will probably be soon and a baby is not viable at 21 weeks. We burst in to tears and I ran to the bathroom to get sick because I felt like I couldn’t breath. I will never forget that ride to the hospital and how devastated we felt. I always had a nervous feeling because it was so hard to get pregnant and I had to go through In Vitro to make it happen. Once I made it to 20 weeks I was really feeling good though. When we arrived to the hospital my husband dropped me off and I waited for him to park so we could go up to labor & delivery. I couldn’t keep the tears from flowing. The lady checking us in asked us all kinds of questions and I told her my water had broken and she was excited, I however was not because this is not how it was supposed to happen. It was too early. Walking to my room I heard them play a lullaby over the intercom, a baby had been born. I balled again. How could they rub it in my face like that, I did not feel very much joy for them. I got to my room and settled in. They did lots of tests and they showed that I was not having any contractions, there was still a heart beat and I didn’t show any infection which was all very good. We had doctor upon doctor come to talk to us. They told us I was going to be on bed rest till the baby comes. If I could make it past the first 48 hours that might be a good sign that I will be able to hold out longer before she comes. They said I need to drink fluids like crazy, stay away from caffeine, stay in bed and do whatever I could to not get an infection. They gave us the statistics that in order for a baby to be viable I need to make it to 24 weeks. Every week after that will help a lot though. They said once I get to 23/24 weeks I will start getting steroid shots to help develop the baby's lungs, because at this point they have barely started to develop. 48 hours came and I still had not delivered so we were excited! I planned that I was going to be in bed for the long hall! They said once I got to 32 weeks they would most likely deliver though. We had a count down on the board and each day that passed was a victory! Every day we heard the heartbeat we were so relieved! I have never felt closer to God than I did when I was in that bed. I was so helpless, all I could do was pray and rely on him. I read the bible and listened to Christian music all day long. I couldn’t do anything else; my mind wouldn’t let me go anywhere else. We had occasional measurements taken of my amniotic fluid and it would go up a little from all the water I was drinking and being on bed rest, but it didn’t change much. The day I turned 23 weeks I mentioned the steroid shots that they mentioned to see if I could go ahead and start them? They said yes i could start them.They take 48 hours to kick in and I had the first one Sunday Morning. Monday we had the amniotic fluid checked and we were so excited because it had increased quite a bit. She also had turned around and wasn’t breach anymore! We were feeling so good. That night I got a new nurse who I hadn’t had before and to say the least I didn’t care for her much. I didn’t like how she reacted when I told her how much pain I was in right when I saw her at first. I had not been a complainer and I didn’t think it was fair how she was judging me! I wanted my favorite night nurse back! I was so upset about the nurse that my husband said he would stay the night with me. He normally only stayed Friday & Saturday because he had to work. I told him I just don't know how I was going to be able to keep her in much longer because I just kept having the worst cramps. They were so bad that I was breathing hard through the pain. I keep having them check for contractions but nothing ever showed up. That night was rough and I barely slept. I woke up Tuesday morning and the doctor was in early to see me. I had never met this doctor before but he didn’t spend much time with me. He looked at old printouts where they checked for contractions and said your fine. I shortly after that got up to go to the bathroom. It was then I felt something I had never felt before. It almost felt like something was coming out. I thought I just need to go back to bed and it will go away. Well I was wrong! I called for the nurse and she wasn’t coming very quickly so my husband had to go yell in the hallway for her. She came quickly and said ok we are going to send you to delivery. Me being very frightened I said they are going to make sure I am having contractions first right? I was freaking out this can't be happening. I didn’t want it to be happening I was only 23 weeks and 3 days, it was too early! We got there and they checked me and sure enough what I was feeling was the head coming out: o they said we are going to have to deliver now, no time for the epideral i had planned on and your doctor can’t make it. So they had another random doctor come in. None of it really fazed me though. I have never been more in the zone than I was delivering! I just wanted an alive baby on the other end. I went to delivery at 8:30 am and at 9:00 am Miss Savannah Elaine was born, 1 lb. 6 oz & 11 3/4". I looked up quickly at her, but couldn’t look for long I was so afraid. They quickly took her to another table in the room to check her out. They then brought her over to me and let me quickly give her a kiss and then the rushed her off to the Nicu. A few hours later we went to the Nicu where we got to look at her through the window of the incubator. I had never seen anything like what I was looking at in my life. She was SO small is an understatement. Her legs were as skinny as my pinky. She had a little white hat on, she was on the ventilator and had wires and lines coming out from all over her. I was in shock that this was my baby and she was here. I knew at that point this was going to be a long stay. They kept telling us we would probably be there till some time close to my due date which was July 27th. I remember thinking i didnt know how we were ever going to make it that long in here! The first few days were so hard and i could barely keep my eyes open. I was there every single though by her bedside for 12+ hours and i wouldnt have had it any other way! We had quite the journey in the nicu for 5 months (I’ll talk about that in another blog, because this is already too long!) We brought her home the end of August and have been on isolation in our home every since. Once May comes we should be able to take her out! We have to keep her healthy this first year as her lungs are still so premature though. She is now 13 lbs, 13 oz big girl & turns 1 in 2 weeks. She is perfect in every way & I absolutely could not be more grateful. I can’t believe how far she has come! I am one blessed girl.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this LONG story :) I will have more to come if you’re interested!

                                                              The day she was born

                                                                Our first family picture
                                    The first time i got to hold her...2 weeks after she was born
                                                                            Today :)


  1. I am so sorry for your loss. I do hope you have found peace in your memories of your dad.

    Congratulations on Savannah!!!! Your miracle girl is such a blessing :) I have had the joy of riding the crazy, emotional NICU rollercoaster with our second son. I had a placental abruption at 25 weeks 3 days and was able to keep him in for another week in the hospital, before having an emergency c-section at 26 weeks 3 days. He weighed 1 lb 14 oz and spent 3.5 months in the NICU. His lungs were pretty damaged from the prematurity and being on oxygen for so long, and he had a bad case of apnea of prematurity. We've been pretty lucky with illness, though he has had two hospitalizations after contracting different viruses. It can be hard and lonely having to stay home, but it is worth it to protect your little one. Hopefully she is getting the RSV shots (Synergis) to help her out.

    I am anxious to read your post about your NICU journey. It is a hard thing to understand unless you've been through it. All the ups and downs and back and forths. People always said to me "I don't know how you do it. I don't think I could be as strong as you are being" and I just said "You just do it. You have no other choice. You somehow find a way to push through and make it work. You have to." My son has been out of the NICU for over a year now, and I still experience dark moments and days. I can't think about his start in life without crying and I still feel so much guilt. I know what happened isn't my fault, but there are days when I just can't help but feel guilty about the rough start in life I gave him. And on the past two anniversaries of his due date, I mourn the loss of missing out on a "normal" birth experience with him. I had such a wonderful, lovely birth experience with my first child and I was so looking forward to that with my second. So, while I am extremely grateful that he is here and I know how lucky we really are, I still get sad about it.

    Anyway, sorry for writing a book in your comments section, but when I read your post, it just felt so familiar. Congratulations again and welcome back!

    1. Thank you for your sweet note! Its good to hear from another mom who has similar experiences! It is hard staying isolated but so worth it! She is getting her synergists shots! Almost done with them for the season! Im sorry to hear your sweet boy got sick twice! Was it during RSV season? i hope he doing well now!

    2. Yes, it is always good to hear from other NICU parents and share experiences. I know people try to understand and a lot of the time, they think they get it, but it really is hard to comprehend if you haven't been through it :)

      The first time he got a virus, it was in August - so out of RSV season. He contracted hMPV (Human Metapneumovirus) just this past February. From what we were told, hMPV is rarer than RSV, but can be just as nasty. He was definitely more sick this last time and got pretty dehydrated. It's always scary because of his compromised lungs (he has BPD), but we have really been very lucky. I always tell people that we probably got the best case scenario in terms of having a 26 weeker because it could have been so much worse. It's funny to say that, though, because just after he got out of the NICU (literally, four days after), he stopped breathing on me and I had to perform CPR. Luckily I was already at the hospital for a follow up appointment, so I just booked it to the ER. They diagnosed him with acid reflux and sent us home (three days later). Three days after that, he stopped breathing again and I had to give him CPR again! We found out he was aspirating due to the reflux, which was causing him to just stop breathing. Once we got that under control, he has just cruised right along and never stopped breathing again. So yeah, we had some very scary moments, but I still think we are the lucky ones, in terms of his health and what we've all been through. He had surgery on his heart this past January to close his PDA, but that should be his only major surgery. He is going to be 18 months (actual; 15 months adjusted) in a few days - he still isn't walking on his own, but he will get there. He is definitely behind on talking and some other skills, but we are working on it. He is eating table food like a champ and loves his milk! He is doing great.

      I hope you keep us posted on Savannah and all her milestones :)