Thank you all for the kind words on my original pregnancy post! Sorry for the delay in getting up the rest of the story – it’s been a busy couple of weeks adjusting to life with baby!
Last time I left off, we were walking over to the maternity wing of Piedmont Hospital. We checked in and were escorted to a room in the antepartum wing of the hospital. I put on a hospital gown, a sweet nurse took my vitals and hooked me up to the monitor, and I “settled” into bed – anxiously awaiting news from our doctor.
Our doctor came by and explained that I would be getting two doses of steroids – one that day (Monday) and one the next day – because I would be 34 weeks on Wednesday and they don’t recommend steroids once you hit 34 weeks. The steroids would help boost the baby’s development if she came early, so it was good that I could still get the shots before the 34-week mark. She also said that I would need to be monitored continuously so they could keep an eye on the baby. If at any point, her heart beat started to dip or anything happened that made them worried about her well being inside, they were ready to deliver at any time. However, she was measuring about 3.5 lbs on the ultrasound so they wanted to keep her inside as long as possible so she could continue to grow.
By Monday afternoon, when it was clear I would be spending the night, Brian ran home to get a few of my things since we hadn’t exactly pre-packed a hospital bag. We let our families know that Baby O. would likely be born any day now and Brian’s parents started making their way down to Atlanta from Virginia Beach. That first day in the hospital is still kind of a blur because everything happened so fast, and then we just had to wait.
After getting hardly any sleep on Monday night, we headed up for our ultrasound on Tuesday morning. I was mentally preparing myself for delivering that day. The ultrasound results showed that everything was still status quo – no worse, but no better than the day before. The baby was still sending more blood to her brain (“brain sparing”) and the amniotic fluid was still much lower than they would like, but they weren’t ready to pull the little miss out. Our doctors still couldn’t explain why this was happening, but were pointing to IUGR.
After a couple more days of bed rest and uncertainty, by Friday (my fifth day in the hospital), things started to actually look a little better on the ultrasound and they said we should expect to settle in. Maybe she wasn’t going be super early after all. Maybe I could make it to the magic number = 36 weeks. Maybe every day she spent inside and every day I spent on bed rest was helping. We knew that every day on the inside counter for less time in the NICU on the outside, so we just waited.
I kept downing my milk shakes and tried to take my mind of things by binge-watching shows on Netflix (OMG Reign Season 2!) and online shopping for all the last minute baby items (and preemie clothes!) that we hadn’t had time to get. I couldn’t wait for my daily shower, where I got about 20 minutes of peace and freedom off-monitor before the nurses started to get antsy.On Sunday, I even Skyped into my baby shower taking place a mile down the road. Thank goodness for an excellent wi-fi connection in the hospital – technology really is an amazing thing.
Monday marked my 8th day in the hospital with more of the same. We let Brian’s parents go back to Virginia Beach as they had a few things scheduled for the week and it didn’t look like she was coming anytime soon. Tuesday night just after Brian had left the hospital for the night and I was trying to get to “sleep” (hospital sleep does not count as real 8-hour-a-night non-interrupted sleep), the little girl had a pretty drastic dip in heart beat. The charge nurse rushed in to my room and flipped me on my side, and we got baby girl back on the monitor. We were all a little excited at that point and let’s just say the doctor on call was keeping a very close eye on things throughout the rest of the night.
Welp, Wednesday morning, just after I had started eating my breakfast (the hospital breakfast was actually decent!) my doctor came in and said today was the day – October 14, 2015. I was exactly 35 weeks and she didn’t want to wait around any longer and risk an emergency situation – it was time for our little one to enter the world. Of course because I already had food in my system, and I was having a C-section, we had to wait until later in the day to schedule it. A few LONG hours later, I hugged my parents and sister goodbye and we headed into the operating room….
It wasn’t until I heard our little angel scream her bloody lungs out that I was completely overcome with so many emotions and the tears started to flow. She was okay. I was okay. Everything was okay. She was a little peanut weighing just over 4 lbs, and she was headed straight to the NICU, but she was okay. Everything was okay. After weeks of worrying and praying and crying, everything was okay. Our angel baby was going to be just fine.
Kathleen Elizabeth spent two full weeks in the NICU, and it was probably harder than anything we have ever gone through. Going into the hospital expecting that you’ll return home with your new baby was hard to take at first. I stayed in the hospital as long as they would let me so I could easily walk over to see her at any time (during visiting hours that is). But, modern medicine (and amazing nurses) are a remarkable thing and she got to come home on her two-week-old birthday. Every day I thank God for our healthy, happy baby girl. And, thank you to all of our families and friends who were with us every step of the way as we waited for Kathleen to come home. Our new life is NOT easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!