Friday, September 17
I had a regularly scheduled appointment on this day. I remember being really excited because after this appointment I would be going to every two weeks. I was counting down the days until I could meet my little girl and I knew that having my doctor appointments closer together would help it go by faster. The appointment did not go well. My blood pressure was SUPER high, and I had 2+ proteins from my urine test. The doctor felt it necessary to send me straight over to the hospital for additional monitoring. I drove across the street, they put me in a room and hooked me up to a blood pressure cuff and put a heart monitor on my belly for Janae. They took my blood pressure every five minutes for an hour, and it finally went down. It still wasn't great, but it did go down. Fortunately, Janae was doing perfectly. She wasn't bothered one bit by my high blood pressure and I'm sure that it wasn't until after I had several people confirm that she was doing just fine that I finally calmed down. The nurse came in and gave me some instructions to be on "activity restriction", handed me a large jug to collect my urine for the next 24 hours and sent me on my way. I had a follow-up appointment scheduled for Monday so my doctor could look at the results from the 24hr urine sample and check my blood pressure again.
Monday, September 20
I went into my follow-up appointment and was officially diagnosed with preeclampsia/toxemia. Apparently it's pretty common with first pregnancies. However, it's NOT common for it to appear so early. My doctor basically put me on house arrest. I could do daily tasks and light household chores, but I wasn't to go anywhere and I had to spend most of my day resting. He told me that instead of weeks to month for a delivery, we were looking at days to weeks. I left the appointment a little scared, but I knew that even if my baby was to come super early, she would be okay. Jared and I were naively expecting to be able to make it to mid-October. Ha. So much for that plan!
I spent that week resting. I didn't leave the house, and mostly I sat on my butt and watched TV. Occasionally I walked around the house, but that was mostly until I would get feeling back in my butt and then I'd sit down again. I honestly feel like I did really well at the resting. Maybe some people could argue against it, but I did the best I could. I did go to the hospital twice that week to get a few steroid shots, which would help her lungs develop a lot faster. On Wednesday I started feeling really run down and just.. icky. The feeling persisted, and I had an inkling that at my follow-up appointment on Friday I might get sent to the hospital again. I packed a bag before my doctor's appt Friday afternoon, and off I went.
Friday, September 24
Yet another doctor's appointment that did not go well. I completely and utterly failed my blood pressure test. It was super high, as were the proteins from my urine sample. My doctor sent me back to the hospital for additional monitoring. They put a blood pressure cuff on me, put a heart beat monitor on my belly and I laid there for awhile. Even with the "resting" while taking my blood pressure multiple times, it did not go down. I was admitted to the hospital that very afternoon. I called Jared, gave him the news and he handed the reigns over to his boss and arrived at the hospital. They put me on a 12hr magnesium drip, and that was possibly the worst thing I've ever had to go through at a hospital. It gave me a migraine, and even the pressure of laying my head against the hospital bed was at times too much for me. It also made me incredibly nauseous, and throwing up with the migraine... not the way I want to spend the night. It was a long night for the both of us, but Jared was such a champ and did the best he could to make me comfortable. Thankfully, Janae was doing fantastic during this whole experience. The nurses were surprised at how active she was, even while I was on the mag drip. They said that normally babies are super mellow while the mag drip was going. Not my daughter!
Saturday, September 25
They finally stopped the mag drip, and I spent most of the day recovering. My blood pressure went down, which was the goal of the mag drip. They still wanted to keep me at the hospital, as they wanted to take my blood pressure every four hours. They unhooked me from everything, sent me upstairs to a regular room and Jared and I settled in for the night. Gradually, with every test, my blood pressure went back up. By the morning, I knew that the mag drip didn't make enough of a dent and I would be meeting my daughter a lot sooner than I had planned.
Sunday, September 26
My doctor scheduled the c-section for 3:00pm. Jared and I just hung out in the room for most of the day. I was extremely nervous, as nothing was going the way that I planned. Having my child 9 weeks early AND delivering by c-section was not the way I envisioned welcoming my first child into the world. Jared was my rock. He was super calm and having him there to hold my hand through the whole thing made me feel so much better. I couldn't have done it without him.
The time came for the c-section. Jared got all suited up while they wheeled me in to get the spinal tap. Holy cow, it's a weird feeling to have not have feeling from my boobs down. They hung up the sheet, Jared came in and quickly gripped my hand, and they cut me up and my daughter was born. The whole surgery lasted about 30 minutes, with putting me back together taking the most amount of time. They showed Janae to me right after they took her out, and I remember thinking "That's my daughter! She's so tiny.. and blue!". They took her over to where the NICU nurses were, and she was screaming and crying like nobody's business. I remember laying there on the table, feeling but not feeling my doctor patch me back up and tears were rolling down my face as I listened to her cry. I knew that I wouldn't even be able to hold her for at least a day, as I had to be put back on the mag drip to prevent me from getting seizures. I will always remember laying there, listening to her cry and feeling such love for this tiny person that will change my life forever. This was my daughter, the light and joy of my life. The nurses got her all cleaned up and brought her back around so I could see her and kiss her before they took her off to the NICU.
My daughter Janae was born on 9/26/10 at 3:43pm, at 3lbs 10oz and 16.5 inches long. The NICU doctors and nurses were very encouraged that she was so big, for being born so early. Jared spent the next few hours traveling back and forth between our rooms, which was nice because he would take pictures of her on his phone and show them to me. The NICU hooked her up to a ventilator, gave her some oxygen and I'm sure did a bunch of other things that I will never know about because I was passed out on perkaset (spelling?) and back on the mag drip. This time though it was a 24 hr. mag drip, so I was stuck to that bed and that room until at least 4pm the next day. It was another rough night. I sent Jared home because he was going to work on Monday, and he wasn't going to get any sleep in that hospital room. Thank goodness I did, b/c the nurse came in every hour to check my blood pressure and other such things. At least this time the mag drip didn't make me so sick! I was just in a ton of pain from the surgery, wishing I could be with my daughter and desperately wanting to sleep for more than an hour at a time.
Monday, September 27th
They took me off the mag drip at 4pm. I was excited because after making sure I wasn't going to have any averse reactions to it, they were going to move me up to my regular room and when Jared got there that night he was going to wheel me down to the NICU so I could finally spend some time with my daughter. In the hospital it seems like you can wait around all day with nothing happening, and then all of the sudden everything happens at once. Apparently the nurses decided that I needed to go see Janae right then, so they got me up, got me cleaned up a bit, stuck me in a wheel chair and wheeled me down to the NICU. Can I just tell you.. the first day after a c-section is not the best day ever. It pretty much hurt to do anything: laugh, sneeze, cough, stand-up... it was incredibly painful. But totally worth it when I was able to touch Janae for the first time and spend a few minutes with her. It is so amazing to me how much I can love her, even though I'd just met her. Having a child is such an incredible experience! The nurse gave me an update and told me that she was doing well enough breathing on her own that they were going to unhook her from the ventilator and when we (we meaning Jared and I) got back later that night, we were actually going to be able to hold her. SCORE!!! Here are a few pictures from when we went back later and were able to hold her for a few minutes:
Here are the pictures of her right after she was born:
I honestly don't have a clue whose hand that is, but it shows you how small she is!
She had blonde hair! I was so shocked when I saw that. It actually took me a few days to get used to it. I guess I thought that since my hair was so dark, it would be the dominant color or gene. Guess not! She is a total blondie. I'm kinda hoping it stays that way. I guess we'll see though, since she'll change so much in the first year.
We had kind of a setback in her progression that Monday night, but I'm not quite ready to talk about that. We almost lost her, but that's another post for another day. The good thing is that she's now recovering, and is getting better everyday. She will be in the NICU for quite awhile, we're thinking she'll be home around what her due date was. It's really hard that we're home and she's not, and I'm suffering from some pretty awesome separation anxiety. But hopefully the next two months will fly by, and she'll be home soon. After Janae's scare Monday night (or rather, early Tuesday morning), Jared was able to take this whole past week off and this week coming up. We go see her twice a day, and it seems that with every visit there is some kind of improvement. I would spend every minute up there if I could, but right now the best thing for her to do is to sleep and to heal, and it seems like when we're there she gets pretty wiggly. It's comforting to know that she knows who we are.
Right now it's all about the small things. This morning she was awake enough (she's been pretty heavily sedated for the last few days) that she opened her eyes and looked right at me. I don't know how far she can see, and I got as close as I could to her. It was so awesome to be able to look into her eyes, and to think maybe she could see me. A few nights ago I had my finger in her little hand and she squeezed it. I was so happy, I got a little teary eyed.
I'm recovering well from the surgery, but I guess my "baby blues" are taking the form of that separation anxiety. I'm trying really hard to be patient and to be upbeat and happy about everything. Some times I fail miserably, but Jared is there to lift me back up again. We have had some wonderful spiritual experiences in the last few days, and we have never been closer in our marriage than we have since Janae's birth. We can't wait for the day when our little family is all together and home, where we are supposed to be! Jared and Janae are my whole world, and I love them with every fiber of my being. Even though this is not how we envisioned everything to go, for some reason this is the way it's supposed to be. I'm not sure if we'll ever find out why, but we have the faith and knowledge that everything will be okay. But you better believe that when I'm standing at the bar after I die, I'm definitely going to be asking why it had to happen this way!!
We decided not take anymore pictures while she's still recovering, but once all the tubes and IV's are removed, I'll be a picture takin' fool. We probably will always vividly remember the last week, but didn't want any visual reminders. Hopefully, if she keeps going as she is, we'll be able to take pictures and hold her again this week. Cross your fingers!
Whew. Sorry for the long post, but like I said.. it's been quite the week. Welcome to the family Janae!