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I'm sort of a lurker, but I thought I'd post anyway. I'm a first time mommy, and I always have been a perfectionist so when I found out I was pregnant, I did a lot of research, and more research, and read every book out there. I did review checks of every toy and blanket on my registry, and checked daily on recalls. I made sure I was eating as well as I could, and followed doctor's orders to the T. The biggest problem was the vomitting. I had SEVERE hyperemesis, to the point where I was sent to the ER for fluids a few times. I had 5 months of Morning sickness everyday. But I didn't want any medicine because I didn't want to find out in 5 years it creates infertility in babies. So that was tough, as I was working at Circuit City still. But I pushed my way through it and made sure I still gained weight. I ate a LOT of Ramen broth. Not the healthiest but at least it was something. Once that was over, it was awesome. I never got really big, and I loved being pregnant. My baby shower was on March 1st. A Sunday. I had a very swollen face the friday before and I thought it was an allergic reaction so I checked to make sure I could take Benedryl and slept the night through. I awoke to a still swollen face and swollen hands. I asked DH if that was normal, and if it happened when he had my stepdaughter. He said it was probably just normal third trimester stuff. I google'd it. And I called my OB right away, he called back and said take the weekend off, and lay down as much as possible and call on Monday to make an appointment. Monday was almost blizzard conditions so on Tuesday I went in. I was nervous but I thought they'd just stick me on bed rest or something. Come to find out I had gained 15 lbs over two weeks and my bp was 170/124. The doctor did everything she could to keep me calm, and sent me to Labor and Delivery at the hospital they deliver at. I called DH's boss in hysterics and my mom picked him up from work and drove him down. The second I got into L n D they put me in a bed, poked me with needles got me Med'd up, and told me I'd have the baby by Saturday one way or another.
THAT did wonders for my bp. And I don't like needles either. I got poked every 1/2 an hour and had my first IV. DH showed up with my Mom and I told them we would have the baby in a couple days, so go home and gear up. I was about 32 weeks so they said Danica had good chances. The magnesium made me shake all night. It was my first hospital stay ever, and all I did all night was cry and tell Danica I was sorry. I felt so guilty, I could hardly stand it. It didn't matter what the doctor's said or what DH said, it was MY body that was to blame for her early delivery. I didn't even get to go to my labor classes. I must have said that a million times. "Sorry I don't know what I'm doing, my labor series is next week."
Wednesday came, and so did DH, and my Mom. She brought me this huge bear named Courage from the gift shop. We all had a nice cry. They put in the Miso pill and things went really slow. So I didn't start the Pitocin until Thursday. I was tired, the magnesium made me shake nonstop so I ached so bad. I was friustrated beyond belief when they told me that I hadn't made enough progress so I would have to wait until FRIDAY. But I did. I got something to help me sleep and woke up Friday ready to go. I had gotten all the steroids for her, the NICU head doc had come down and explained everything to me. I was as ready as I could get. I had even called work and told them I wouldn't be back there. It bothered me that I hadn't taken my classes to prepare me for this. But I did good, I think. I thought the contractions would hurt more. But everytime one hit I squeezed DH's hands and tried to think of the Ocean and breathe in time with the waves. It sounds so silly now, but it made so much sense then. I was still shaking terribly, I had been bedridden for 3 days, wasn't allowed to even sit up straight, let alone go pee. It all felt so surreal. This wasn't happening. I made it to 4cm before I had to stop the conversations and have everyone leave the room, except DH as we had discussed. When they came in to check me and saw I was at 4cm already (3 hrs) they asked if I wanted the epidural. I knew enough to make sure it wouldn't wear off before the pushing started. They gave me the epidural during two contractions which was fun. I got to sit up which made the contractions fade to something completely bearable. Oh I was in love with the anasthetiologist (sp?) the epidural made the magnesium shakes go away! My hips felt amazing, and I was happy, itchy, but happy. I dozed for a little bit and then Danica's heart rate was dropping nastily so it was go time. I just wanted to sleep more, but that's not what Momma's do. So I was pushing and groaning, and the doctor told me: "Hey, hey, look here, see me? Alright, I don't mind listening to you yell, but it's doing nothing for you. Ok? Breathe in and hold it and push down." I was taken aback, but did what he said, but they turned down the Pitocin too much, there were no contractions, so they sent the NICU away and turned the Pitocin back up to get contractions going, and my doctor said "I'm going to go down the hall and grab a coffee and when I get back we'll have this baby" Again, here I was, oxygen mask on my face, pushing, and he goes for a COFFEE? I let it slide though, and kept at it. He comes back and I push her head out, and everyone yelled at me to stop. So they could call people down. Are you joking? I yelled "GetheroutGetheroutGETHEROUT" And pushed her all the way out. I was in the wrong bed, so she didn't need to be caught. She plopped onto the sheets.
And no one did anything at all.
Well, I did. I kept asking "Is she breathing?" Over and over and over. Even when DH said she's breathing I kept asking. Then 100 hours later, NICU crashes in with their cart and whisk her to the other side of the room. I vaguely remember DH saying "You did it Steph, You did it. She's here..." But I honed in on the NICU team. She never cried. I was so scared. I gave birth to the afterbirth and said "Thats ***** nasty," which made the doctor laugh. They washed me down below the belt and changed sheets and all. Then a wonderful lady came over with a bundle of blankets and a very grey looking baby. She put her on my shoulder and I froze. I didn't know what to do, she was so tiny. She took some pictures and we got our first family portrait. I just remember saying "My baby, My baby, My baby" I was really repetative that night. And then, then! Someone asked "When was she born" No one had looked at the clock! Except me. DH went up with Danica and I stayed in my room, my MIL, Mom and little sister came in to keep me company. I got the pictures to look at, at 6:50 pm I gave birth to a 3lb 13oz baby girl. I didn't get to see her for 2 days. I was still in bad shape. The first time I saw her I cried the entire time. I didn't get to hold her for 2 days after that. The day I went home, Danica was 5 days old. I made it home before crying. I bawled my heart out for hours. I felt so lost. I didn't have my baby belly, and I didn't have my baby. I was an hour's drive from my daughter who was fighting her way through Respiratory Distress. I went to see her every single day though. I pumped for a month, but got barely anything, which made me feel worse. Not only did my body make her come out early but I was failing to provide the most basic nourishment for her. I felt like a failure and made up for it by spending probably 10 hours a day at her bedside. I learned everything I possibly could about her. And everyone said she was spunky. She gained weight bit by bit, and Daddy got to give her her first bottle of breast milk! She was a good eater and was doing so good! Then she had a bloody stool, and everything went backwards. They put back in a feeding tube. put her back on IV fluids, and I couldn't feed her. FOR A WEEK! I thought it was bad just watching her in her isolette but it was a million times worse to hold her while she was crying for food, and being unable to feed her. But we made it through, and we brought her home at one month old, 5lbs even. Our NICU was the best I could have imagined it to be, everyone was amazing, the hospital staff from the cafeteria to the Head Doctor in the NICU were amazing. Danica is now my little buddy, she still has the personality of a baby three times her size, she's still a little fighter, and more than I had ever hoped for in a daughter. She's amazing. I can still watch her sleep for hours and hours. I burst into tears when she held her head up for the first time, and when she rolled over for the first time. She smiled at me for the first time today, and I sat there making funny faces for hours just to see that beautiful smile again.
As tough as it was and is, having a preemie, I wouldn't trade it for anything, because who knew I could be so strong? Who knew Danica could be this tough? It has shaped and molded my family into a better, stronger thing than I could have known we were previously.
Sorry this was long, but I wanted to put it all into words. If you made it this far, then thanks for taking the time, and I hope our story helped you out in some way. Feel free to PM me if you want, and Good luck on your journey.