Thursday, April 1, 2010

Let's Just Start at the Beginning

After writing this blog post last week, I thought that baby Ellie would only be a day old today. Little did I know what was in store for us in the week to come. Almost directly after writing that post I started feeling contractions. I spent most of the day Tuesday feeling very uncomfortable. By Tuesday night my contractions were about six minutes apart, but weren't extremely painful. Part of me was extremely excited!!

After being eight days late with Bradley and getting induced, I never thought that my second child would come early or on her own. Tuesday night I started cleaning everything. My breast pump supplies were getting sanitized. I boiled bottles, pacifiers, and finished packing my bag for the hospital. Chris started preparing to miss work, and we were wondering if this was it. After a LONG night on Tuesday I was feeling really uncomfortable. But, my contractions were very sporadic. They would be six minutes apart and then fourteen minutes apart. Again they weren't extremely strong, but I was really uncomfortable. I called the doctor, because my biggest concern was that I wasn't feeling Ellie move at all. I thought I felt her roll late on Tuesday night, but I didn't feel her for most of the day on Wednesday.

Wednesday I started feeling awful. I was worried about Ellie, and just felt very sick. I couldn't eat. I couldn't relax. I just didn't feel right. I went in for a stress test on Wednesday afternoon. There was her sweet heart beat, strong as ever. But, she wasn't having much change in her heart rate. After putting a vibration thing to my belly she started to pep up. I left the office with instructions to call if my contractions got closer together. I still didn't feel right. Deep down I was worried about her. I wasn't sure why. I just remember coming home and telling Chris that I was worried.

At two in the morning on Thursday my contractions woke me up. Now they were really hurting. I could hardly breath through them. Then as the sun came up they got closer and closer together. By eight in the morning my water broke. I noticed there was something in the water and I became concerned. We rushed to the doctor and he said that my water had broken, and there was meconium in the water. I also wasn't dilated AT ALL. After almost three days of early labor and seven hours of intense labor I wasn't dilated. It must have been God to make that happen. If I had been making progress I am sure that I would have continued with labor. Thank God I didn't!

Chris and I drove to labor and delivery and discussed everything. I just remember telling him that I didn't want a scary emergency c-section like we had with Bradley. I already knew this little girl was in distress, and I didn't want to labor for another six hours and put her in any danger. We made the decision to have the c-section. Uggghhhh...another surgery. I knew what to expect this time, which is a good and bad thing.

I walked into the OR. The nurses were amazing. They were all so excited..."What are you having?" "Do you have a name picked out?" All of the fun baby conversation. "This is a great day for a birthday!" They couldn't have been kinder.

Well, as soon as they opened me up all H$$$ broke loose. Ellie hadn't just pooped during labor, they believe that she did it a few days earlier. She was COVERED. The pressure of it was so intense. I will leave out the gory details, but it was horrible. They intibated her three times to try and remove it from her lungs. It was so scary. She wasn't breathing. Chris and I were watching it all from our spot in the OR. Chris kept saying over and over again, "She's OK, She's going to be fine" while rubbing my arm. We were both frightened, and we knew that something was not right with the whole situation. Finally she started crying and they brought her to us....


My sweet girl!!

A quick kiss


A quick picture. They told us that they needed to take her immediately. That she was OK, but the situation wasn't good, and it could change very quickly. Chris and I were so scared. I spent my time in the recovery room crying and worried to death. By this point I had gotten to feed Bradley and hold him. I wasn't getting to see her. She was being taken care of, but I was separated from her. It was a nightmare that was only getting started. Please excuse how horrible I look, but after the surgery they wheeled me in to see her in the baby nursery. This is the only time I got to see my sweet girl until the 10 that night. Almost directly after this photo was taken she turned purple and had an apnea spell. Scary. Horrible. Not what you want to see happen to your brand new baby.



Bradley came to see her after the surgery. He told me "Baby Ellie is scary, she has too many band-aids." I couldn't have said it more perfectly. What is going to happen to our sweet family of four? I spent the whole day wondering and worrying. I wasn't able to see her. I was begging them to put me in a wheel chair and take me to her. The nurses kept reassuring me. "You just had surgery. You need to recover. You will hold her soon." I kept asking if I should be pumping milk. "Don't worry, lots of babies don't eat right after birth." They had an answer for everything, except what was going on with Ellie. It was torture.


This is the only picture I have of our family close together on the day Ellie was born. Bradley looks concerned. I know he could sense that something was not right. The day drug on, and well into the night. Family stopped by and saw Ellie in the nursery. Chris went down to visit her a bunch of times. Always he came back with bad news...she is too pale, she stopped breathing, her platelets are low, they are trying to give her an IV, they couldn't find a good spot, it is in her scalp. I was terrified. I just gave birth, and sat in a hospital room for an entire day. I have heard dozens of newborns getting wheeled down the halls. I was the worst kind of torture to put a new mom through. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

By 9 pm the news was worse. Our pediatrician came down to break it to us. Ellie was not doing good at all. She was having apnea spells. Two of them lasting longer than 45 seconds. This is common for preemies, but should not be happening in a full term baby. She had pooped in utero days before birth. She was stressed about something in the womb. She may have an infection. She may be having seizures. She may have bleeding in the brain. We need to be concerned. We need to be worried. She may not be able to stay here. She needs more care than our community hospital can provide.

I didn't cry. I just sat on the edge of the bed (I thought I was going to see her finally). I just sat. He said he was taking her right down for a cat scan and a chest xray, and then I could come see her. He is a wonderful man and so calm. He looked VERY worried.
After he left, Chris and I sobbed and sobbed. Our worst nightmare just got worse. It didn't seem possible. I told Chris that I just wanted to go home and crawl into bed with Bradley and hug him. I felt so far away from everything. From Bradley, from Ellie, from getting better. It was too much. I couldn't do this. I wasn't strong enough. I fought so hard to get her and now look at what happened.

We started to call family. We needed support. Sweet Cali watched Bradley and my parents were on their way. Shawn was in the car on the way to the hospital from northern, va. If this was going to get worse we needed support. I was still hooked up to IVs and couldn't hardly get out of bed.

They said she was back and we headed down to see her. Our doctor was all smiles when we walked in. Everything was clear, but he had made a call to UVA to ask for more information on how to proceed. At first we thought she would stay there and just be monitored. But, UVA felt that she needed more testing. That she needed an MRI and lots of blood work. They were coming to take her. I held her sweet hand. I cried and cried. I rubbed her little arm. She was hooked up to so many things. I cried. Then UVA NICU transport came. My parents came. They packed her up in this...


She left a little after 11pm on Thursday night in this transportation unit. I tried to be strong. But they wheeled her out of the nursery and I lost it. This couldn't be happening to us. She was leaving me. I haven't even held her. I have barely even touched my child. It was all so wrong and unfair. She was going to have mounds and mounds of testing. What would they find? What was wrong with her? Was she going to get better? Would we be able to get through all of this?


Megan said...

oh my Clare. I am so sorry to hear that you have had such a hard time. I hope she is better now. Please keep the updates coming. I will be thinking of you all and praying for you. She sure is beautiful though!

paige said...

i am so sorry you had such a scary time. & when your emotions are at their most are such a sweet mama
she is just beautiful clare
honestly, i think she looks like your hubby
please keep us updated with how she's doing
& my prayers continue

amanda said...

oh clare, oh clare - i just can't even begin to imagine! i am just so happy that you are all home safe and sound now! and i am so sorry you guys had to go through all of's to lots of lazy, snuggly, stress free days at home!


Jodee Leader said...

Congrats on your new bundle of joy! She is absolutely adorable! So sorry to hear she had a rough start. How scary!

Hope both of you have a speedy recovery!

laura said...

oh clare...

i am teary-eyed as i type...i know too well the emotions ya'll have felt this past week...and i hate that you and your family had to go through something like this too.

but, i am so, so happy that things are better, that ellie clare is home, that ellie clare is healthy and that your family of 4 is FINALLY complete.

thinking such happy and healthy thoughts for you!


Julie, the mama said...

So glad you gave us the good news post yesterday. Even knowing the end, this story was so scary to read. Sending up extra special prayers of thanksgiving tonight for your sweet baby girl. May those scary memories fade with each sweet moment you spend with your precious gift.

Terra said...

Life is so so precious and each day we get is such a blessing. I had chills and tears and smiles while I read your post. Give that baby girl an extra hug from Colorado for me.

Bonnie said...

So glad everyone is home and well. I am a bloggy friend of Lindsays and had to come over and see Ellie! She is beautiful and I love her name.

Lindsay said...

Love you! You are so strong! Ellie has a great mama! I am so thankful that she is doing so well now.

Katie said...

It was so great talking with you yesterday. It is so heartbreaking to me that you all had to endure this. Praise the Lord for the happy ending!!
And you will be so glad that you're getting this all down now. I know it really isn't a priority when you are so sleep deprived and busy, but you'll be thankful to have her birth story recorded. I even wish that I had blogged more just to capture all the first moments that go by so fast.
Love to you!

Krystyn said...

Clare, how absolutely terrifying. I'm so glad everybody is okay now.

Iz pooped before she was born, too, and we were lucky they were able to clean her up. I don't think I realized how severe it could have been until now.

So glad she's okay!

Christy said...

I can't even imagine how you felt. So sorry friend. Porgie had apnea, and it was soooooo scary. She was on a monitor for 4 months.

Heather @ Cancer Mommy said...

I cried reading this! I am so sad that you had to go through this, yet I am so happy that you are all home safe and sound now. Give those kids lots of hugs and kisses.