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My OB had been watching me carefully because I have a history of developing pre-eclampsia with my pregnancies (I had it with Della but it didn't get bad until the end). My OB appointments consisted of NST's (Non-Stress Tests) 2x a week but all signs pointed to trouble, Edward was showing signs of distress and my blood pressure and protein in my urine kept getting out of control.
The Friday before Edward was born (June 1st) my OB did a blood draw and 24 hour urine test on me and urgently called me to enforce strict bedrest until the following Monday where she could see me again for another NST. She said that I was diagnosed with SIPE (super imposed pre-eclampsic) and I was to do NOTHING until Monday afternoon.
Upon arriving for my NST, my blood pressure was 160/110 (this was with blood pressure medications) and my face/hands/feet were swollen. Dr. Rice pulled up a chair and said, "Enough is enough, you are going to deliver TONIGHT!" Shock can't even begin to accurately describe how I felt! I made a ton of phone calls and meanwhile my OB states that she wants me to go to the hospital by ambulance (OMG)!!! My parents had come up to Nebraska a few days before to help me out with the kids while on bedrest had dropped me off at my OB's while she did some shopping, imagine that phone call I had to make!!!! I convinced my OB that I really needed to go home and pack my bags, so I went home 2 blinks shy of hysterical unprepared for Edward's arrival.
6 hours later Edward was born via c-section at 8:41 pm. He was 7 lbs 2oz and 20 1/2 inches long. I only got to see a quick glimpse of him while they worked on him (he was delivered 5 weeks early). After he was cleaned up Bill brought him to me, he was sooo beautiful but alas they wisked him back to run a few more tests. Once I was moved to my room I was informed that he was moved into the NICU because he was having trouble breathing and I was placed in a recovery room for 24 hours and placed on a magnesium sulfate drip (to help me from having a stroke because my blood pressure was so high) and there I stayed until 9pm the next night....strict hospital protocol. Agony, pure unadulterated agony can only begin to describe the despair I felt not being to see my precious boy.
Up until they took me to see him (24 hours after I delivered him) I only had pictures to go by, I wasn't even able to touch him which broke my heart. Those first moments of seeing him were truly frightening, he was hooked up to the CPAP, NG tube, IV's and machines and lots of sounds and buzzers and all the unfamiliar was going off like fireworks right before our eyes. After being there for only a short about of time I became very dizzy and pale and started to shake so they made me sit down and my B/P was still high so they made me leave the NICU and been seen by my Doctor, it was an overwhelming experience to say the least.
Early that morning (Wednesday, June 5th) the Charge NICU Nurse woke me up at 3:00 a.m. telling me that Edward had become critically ill and was being placed on a ventilator. My heart broke in a million pieces at once ~ there I was in a hospital bed unable to get out on my own and my precious Son is fighting for his life....then they tell me that I would NOT be able to see him until they could stablize him. I called my Husband and begged him to come to the Hospital to be with me but he was sooo exhausted that he decided to stay put unless it was 911 ~ all I could do was cry and cry there alone. ( A very special nurse named Marie came in a held my hand, gave me hugs and told me that everything was going to be okay.
I think one of the hardest things with my hospital stay was.....when they moved me to a post-partum room they placed me directly across from the nursery....for any other Mom I think this would be a joy but it was just heartbreaking for me ( My baby was in there, so each time I wanted to go see him I had to pass by babies that were going home with their Mommies in soon. I found out later that they put me there b/c it was the biggest PP room they had so the other 3 kids could come with my Husband and my parents and have room to sit and the kids could run around w/o problems...and it was the closest room to the hallway that lead to the NICU. Some blessings are disguised!
A few hours later when I saw my precious newborn fighting for every breath I prayed to God to save my little boy, nothing in my life mattered more. Seeing him cry w/o any sounds was heartbreaking ~ I will never forget the first time I heard him cry when he came of the vent, it was true music to my ears and I can still hear it in my head to this day.
Going back to see Edward was very different again, seeing him just hours before all the equipment had changed in his room....new sounds, frightening alarms. I had to take in all the different modes of treatment (IV, Ventilator, Surfactant, NG Tube, etc). Talk about feeling helpless One night I was having a pity party and just couldn't shake this feeling that something was wrong....I called the NICU to check on Edward and found out that his IV had kinked and it took 6 times to reestablish it ~ it broke me and I felt like I had let him down.....my poor baby being stuck repeatedly and Mommy couldn't hold him or wipe his tears away.
The following day I was to be discharged ~ I felt like my heart was going to explode with grief, going home with empty arms was the worst feeling no Mother should ever have. Everyday I would go and see Edward a new Mother was always in the process of taking home her new baby and I couldn't help but feel jealous, I felt betrayed but thinking about those Mother's and never got to take their baby home put perspective and understanding right back where it needed to be for me.
Each day (which seemed longer that the first) lead to days where Edward would make a few improvements and then take a few steps back, he was finally fed my breastmilk at 13 days old which was a big hurdle for him, everytime previous attempts to bottle feed he would desat and it would take a long time recover so he stayed on the NG tube. A week before he went home I was able to breastfeed him, it was very difficult and he once again would desat and the SSB just wasn't completely in place.
27 long days later we were able to bring home our precious bundle, I can't recall in my life a period where I had cried so much, so long....I felt torn between our children at home, my loving Husband who sometimes just (bless his heart) couldn't be there everyday and myself who wanted to be there every waking hour.
I thank God for letting Edward choose me to be his Mommy, he was my true blessing.....his birth has brought about a new awakening in me which is hard to explain but I know that other NICU Mom's have felt the same way. Anyone that has gone through a NICU stay short or long "knows" what it is like....before if anyone had told me that their baby was in the NICU, I could sympathize on some sort of level but it was relevant to me ~ now being in those shoes I can honestly say that I've been there and like to help/listen/pray or just be there for anyone who is currently going through it.
Oh Amy, reading what you wrote really brings all those awful feelings back to the surface...especially about how hard it was seeing all the other moms taking their babies home, and having to go home without him. I'm so glad to hear that Edward is home with you now! Thank you for sharing your story!
I was totally taken back in time by your story, thank you for sharing! I was on the same page with you in so many ways, and can't imagine how scary it was to see your little boy on a ventilator like that. I am SO glad he is doing so well now!
Heidi, mama to 4 kiddos and an lost 11.25.13 at 11w5d
Wow you story is so touching and I totally have tears in my eyes. I just happened upon this board, just started posting on JM here recently and didn't know about this board. Our son was born at 35 weeks in May and he was in the NICU a week, I cannot imagine any longer. It definitely does change you. Hugs to you and I am going to check out the other stuff here on the preemie board!!
Brooke (27) & Adam (25)
March 9, 2002
Miles Williams - February 3, 2003 ~*~*~* Ethan Andrew - May 23, 2007
Thank you for sharing your story, I am going thru all the same things right now with the exception that my son was finally taken off of O2 on Monday... he's breathing on his own but it still seems stressed. Your words are encouraging and helpful to say the least. Its hard to believe there are other women in the world going thru or have gone thru this horrible, scary ordeal. I am glad your son is doing better... thank you again.