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Monday, July 30, 2007

Today is the day

I am up early nursing, so thought I would type.

At this time, on this day last year, I was sitting in a hospital bed. I had been in the bed for over 2 weeks and was tired, but doing better than I had been a few days before.

I woke up really early that morning with what I thought was intestinal cramping. The doctor came around on his rounds at some point between 5 and 5:30, and he said something about it, as I had mentioned it to the nurse. I just shrugged. He said "Maybe today we'll get a baby." I looked at him like he was smoking something and rolled my eyes. No way.

He left and I spent the next hour cramping and feeling sorry for myself. I started texting my husband who was at home, just telling him what was going on. About 6:45 I texted him again, all the sudden the pain had changed a bit, and I realized something was up. I told him he should probably go ahead and come to the hospital. Five or ten minutes later he called me, seeing what was up, and by then, what I had finally figured out were contractions, were coming very hard. I did my best to keep calm as I basically told him "Oh my gosh, get your butt up here now!"

I buzzed the nurse, and she came running in. You see, when I am in the hospital, I don't ever use my buzzer. If I need something, I just wait until a nurse comes in to ask for it. I know it's their job, but I never can get past the feeling that I am bothering them if I call them. So I don't. My nurse that morning had been my nurse frequently throughout my stay, and she said she knew something was wrong because it was ME buzzing her for once. She took on look at me on the bed, called another nurse into the room and said "We need to get her to L&D." The other nurse made like she was going to get a wheelchair, but my nurse was like "No, we need to get her there now, we're taking the whole bed." And they took off the brakes and off we went to L&D.

They leave me in the hands of the staff there, and they hook me up to a monitor. By this time I am totally doing the huffing and puffing thing, so they call my OB and tell him he might want to get over to check me out kinda quick like. He shows up, I think around 7:30, and checks me. I'm at a 7! He then asks me if I want an epidural. I really didn't want one, but then he informs me that with how early the baby is, they can't give me any drugs to take the edge off. It's epidural or nothing. As the contractions start coming one on top of another, I start panicking a bit and basically beg for the epi.

They get a room ready for me and start to wheel me over, it's about 7:40. (I had been in a big bay of beds in L&D) My husband finally shows up as we get into the hallway. The pain by now is unreal, and I am gripping the sides of the bed. They tell me I have to move my hands to go through the doorway and I silently freak out inside because it felt like gripping the bed was my only link to reality. I found the strength to take my hand off, and they get me into my room. I got moved over to a new bed in a haze of pain and a flurry of activity. I have no idea how many people were in that room, and the rooms are pretty tiny. It was at least 5, because the anesthesiologist was there waiting for me. She has to insert a new IV line before she can begin. She tries, and it doesn't work, so she pulls out to try again. As she moves in for her second attempt, a sense of alertness and realization flows over me, and I look my OB in the eye and say "You need to check me NOW."

He checks, and sure enough. No time for the magic of an epidural. Baby girl is on her way! (we still hadn't decided on a name) With that, they flip the brakes off, and the OB and a couple of nurses are literally running with my bed down the hallway. They had to get me to a bigger delivery room so the NICU team could be in there for the baby. We get in the room and everybody is running. That's all I can really remember about that part. Running and lots of bustling. The OB is yelling for the NICU team, and someone answers that they'll be there in a minute. The Dr. says "We don't have a minute, this baby is being born now!" My body had totally taken over and I was on the brink of losing it. Out of all my deliveries, this was by far the most painful and terrifying. It hurt so bad that I remember my OB telling me to push and I remember feebly saying "No." But my body pushed anyways. The biggest thing I can remember, other than the pain, was that my husband's hand was there. I held on for dear life. As soon as it had started, it was over. She was here. I heard a tiny little catlike sound coming from the warmer, and my husband said something along the lines of "You hear that? She's crying!". The extra time inside of me had worked, her lungs were functional. I released the hand I had a death grip on, and had to smile as I watched him shake the feeling back into his hand. The NICU team finally arrived, looking a little stunned. I guess they figured being next door, they had time to get in there. Ha ha ha. It was 7:50, only about an hour after active labor had started.

They let me get a glimpse of her, and then whisked her away. They took me back to the room in L&D where I had only spent 5 minutes. I sat and chatted with the nurse and husband, while the nurse got me all cleaned up and taken care of. We waited for word on the baby. A familiar face popped in the door. It was one of the nurses from the NICU that had taken care of Logan 2 years before when he was there. She was the baby's nurse. Her news for us was not at all what we were expecting. The baby was fine. Completely breathing on her own, no oxygen at all. At 31 weeks, 5 days gestation. 3 lbs. 13 oz. I sent my husband down with the camera to get a picture of her so I could see her properly. He returned a while later and I stared at the little LCD screen for a while.

The L&D floor was really busy that day, so it was a long time before they had a room ready for me in the mother/baby unit. I sent hubby home to rest and check on the children he had just hurriedly dumped on a neighbor a few hours prior. I got settled in my new room, and the nurse that came in was one I had a few times when I was still on bedrest. She was so excited for me, and was ecstatic at the news of how well the baby was doing. It was about 3 in the afternoon, and she then found out nobody had bothered to take me to the NICU, and she was angry about that. So off we went to the NICU and I got to see my new baby girl and really touch her for the first time. So tiny I was scared to reach my hand in the incubator.

She was and is our little fighter. She does things on HER timetable. Being as early as she was, she should have been in the NICU for at least a month. She was released after only 2 weeks. She should have not been able to breastfeed, she latched on like a pro within a few weeks of being home, and we haven't looked back since. She should have been 2 months behind in her development until well after her first birthday. She totally caught up to her actual age before she was even 11 months old.

She is Princess Hannah, and I'm so in love with her I can't even stand it. Today is so bittersweet for me. I look at her and I am so proud of how far she has come. All the odds she beat. And yet, she is getting bigger, and there is nothing I can do to stop it. She will stop being a baby before I know it. And it is hard for me to think about.

But, today is a day for celebrating, whether I really want to or not, lol! Today is her birthday. Happy Birthday Princess Hannah, may you keep kicking the snot out of those odds.


The Mrs. said...

Happy 1st Birthday, little Princess!

Meghann, this story has me in tears. I remember my mouth dropping open in shock the day you emailed me announcing her very early arrival. A fighter from the start, she's truly a blessing!

Lots of birthday hugs coming your way for little Miss Hannah.

Lacey said...

Happy birthday Miss Hannah! You are a miracle baby indeed!

angi said...

I thought I already commented this, as I've read it (& cried) a few times!

I am SOOO glad that you ended up with a happy ending :)

Happy (belated now) Birthday Hannah, you are a very loved little lady!!

Michelle said...

I'm sorry I missed both of your birthdays! I can't believe that it's been a year already! Happy birthday to both of you!

aimee / greeblemonkey said...

Happy birthday to both of you!!!