Mother's are always asked what it feels like the first time they lay eyes on their baby. Mostly everyone says it is indescribable and well, it is. The closest I can come to describing it is almost dreamlike. "Is this really happening? That little human is really MINE? This is it?” It’s the “this is it” feeling like you’ve been blown away by happiness and love not the "this is it" feeling in a way that you were expecting more and were let down. :) It really is indescribable. The moment you waited for, for 9 months, finally arrived and now this little baby that had already consumed your thoughts and dreams and life is actually here, right in front of you, ready to take part in all the plans you made for him or her and the preparation you had done.
She is always so calm. This was about 5 minutes after she was born.
When the doctor brought Anna around the curtain to hand us our baby girl it was like everything stopped. I've never had that happen. I’ve had some slow motion moments (walking down the aisle to marry Blake, his engagement proposal, getting up from falling flat on my face in front of EVERYONE in the high school), but time-stopping moments, that has never happened. I just stared at her. My heart felt the fullest it's ever felt. She was crying that sweet, sweet newborn cry. Then, really quickly, everything went back in motion and the person holding her continued walking her towards us for a closer look. I peeked up at Blake and his sweet face was awe struck and tears welled up in his eyes. He was IN LOVE. I actually watched him fall in love with our baby girl. It was amazing. I’ve never seen someone INSTANTLY fall in love with someone else. It was, well, like I said, amazing. There’s no other word to describe it. I’ll never forget his face in that moment. I fell madly in love with him more than ever at that very second all the while falling madly in love with this tiny little crying baby in front of me. Amazing.
Another exciting part of our delivery was finding out what the sex of the baby was. Both Blake and I knew deep in our hearts it was a little girl, so much so that finally finding out wasn’t that big of a deal anymore. We just knew. But, when our doctor yelled out, "It's a girl!!!” it was such an amazing, happy moment. I can still hear how she said girl, all drawn out "Grrr-url!" So funny. “It’s a grrr-url!” Blake knew he “was meant to have a girl.” Little girls, including my four nieces have always been drawn to Blake. All little kids mostly, but his sweet and kind nature must attract girls. He’s going to be the best dad and I’m sure our little Anna will most definitely be a Daddy’s Girl. So precious.
What happened next was all too fast...they took her to the baby warmer thing, cleaned her up, wrapped her in the pink and blue striped hospital blanket and then gave her to me and Blake. I just held my head up against her and we both kept saying, "She's so beautiful" over and over and over and over. I threw in "She looks just like you!" (she's Blake's twin 28 years seperated!) every once in a while. She was so perfect. I was so happy she was here and all the health concerns and scares we had been through melted away. It was perfect.
How we got here:
The whole process actually started when I was 33 weeks pregnant, 3 weeks before Anna was born, when I went to the doctor and my blood pressure was high. She told me to watch and keep track of it and luckily we have a clinic at work so I’d waddle down on my lunch breaks to get it checked. A few times during that week it was higher than my doctor liked so she’d send me home for bed rest. I had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday, August 11th and we discussed my high blood pressure and she also asked me to take a 24 hour urine test to determine the exact amount of protein in my urine. High blood pressure and protien in the urine is a sign of pre-eclampsia which is dangerous for both the mom and baby. She asked me to talk to my manager about starting to work 1/2 days so I could be on part time bed rest to keep my blood pressure in check and we'd know more once the results of the urine test were back. So, on Thursday August 12th I started my 1/2 days at work. Friday morning the 13th I woke up with a terrible headache and I went to the clinic earlier than normal. My blood pressure was sky high and the nurse put me in one of the beds. Whenever I lay down on my left side it automatically goes down but when I got back up it would sky rocket again. So, that day I was put on bed rest full time.
My next doctor's appointment was on Wednesday, August 18th. Dr. Vanover wanted to do a non-stress test where they hook me and the baby up to heart monitors to see how the baby is doing and to determine how much the baby is moving. After an hour, and not a lot of movement, Dr. Vanover stopped the test and had me come back for my exam. She wanted to do an ultrasound to further determine the health of the baby. The urine test results were still not back so she popped her head into the sonogram room and said she had to go assist with a c-section but she put in a call to the lab to re-run the test and have her the results in 45 minutes. She told me she'd call me if anything was not right but if I didn't hear from her that she wanted to see me Friday. The sonographer said everything looked good with the baby. That made me feel good. Amniotic fluid was good, baby placement was good, heartbeat was good, we just had a really sleepy baby on our hands.
I made my appointment for Friday and headed home. Blake and I had dinner and I was laying on the couch dozing in and out of watching whatever was on tv. My phone rang around 7:45 pm and it was a private number. I never answer calls from private numbers but this time I felt like I should. I'm glad I did. It was Dr. Vanover. "Do you want the good or the bad news first?!" she asked. I opted for the good. "You're going to have a baby tomorrow!!" she said. "What?! Tomorrow? What are you talking about?" I asked. She got serious and explained, "Holly, your urine test showed the protein at too high a level for me to feel comfortatble enough not to start the labor process especially with today’s unsuccessful non-stress test and since 3 days has already passed since you actually took the urine test the protein counts could be even higher at this point. So, come in tomorrow morning and we will get the process going.” We got the info on where to go and what to do and for a few minutes Blake and I just stared at each other. This was pretty crazy. Tomorrow we're going to have our baby. This wasn't supposed to happen for another 4 weeks. We have NOTHING ready to go. We called family and our close friends and started packing. Needless to say we got very little sleep that night.
When we got to the hospital the next morning they hooked me all up to the monitors and started the medicine to induce labor. The day drug on with a few random and sporadic contractions. Most I couldn’t even feel. Blake would look at the strip of paper running from the machine and ask me if I felt that one and most of the time my answer would be no. It mostly felt like the little baby was rolling around inside me. Throughout the day my blood pressure still remained elevated. I'd roll to my left side and it would go down but each time I'd lay on my back or sit up it would go back up. The medicine they gave me was to soften my cervix and get it ready to start the "real stuff" petocin. I wasn't dialted or anything when I got to the hospital and they can't start the petocin until my cervix was ready. Around lunch time the doctor explained it probably wouldn't be until tomorrow until the baby was here.
Around 4 pm our nurse came in with the strip of paper that had been printing out all the contractions and baby's heart rate all day and started to show us how little Anna wasn’t responding well to the medicine that was being used to induce labor and that my blood pressure was also not good for myself or the baby. She showed us how Anna’s heartrate was dipping after each contraction instead of elevating like it should. So, it was showing them that she was in distress. The nurse also said that she wanted to prepare us for when the doctor came in because one of the options might possibly be an emergency c-section depending on how she felt the baby was doing. She left us to discuss everything and said Dr. Vanover would be in around 4:30. I broke into tears and just felt so terrible. First for Anna. That she was in distress and not responding to our best efforts to help her. Second, because I was scared TO DEATH of having a c-section. This isn’t what we planned or wanted but Anna’s health and my health were in danger and that wasn’t good either.
When Dr. Vanover came in she showed us the same thing that the nurse had showed us and said she just couldn’t justify not performing the emergency c-section and that she had counseled with two other doctors in her practice who also couldn't justify not performing the c-section. She didn't want to perform a c-section (we had talked about the possibility at an earlier appointment, because of the possibility of pre-eclampsia) and she knew how much I was against it. So, I felt like she wasn't just jumping to the c-section. I have been seeing her for over 15 years, alnong with my mom and sister. She had delivered two of my four nieces so I trusted her decision. I didn't like it, but Anna was at risk and my health was at risk. So, with that the anestesologist and nurses were in my room and getting me ready for surgery. Within 15 minutes I was walking back to the operatating room. Another 15 minutes passed and I was out on the table numb from the chest down. It was a weird feeling and breathing was hard. I was so relieved when they let Blkae come back there. He wasn’t allowed back there while they were “druggin’” me up. But, once I was good and laid up he was by my side.
So, that's basically what happened that day. It was full of all kinds of emotions. Happiness that our baby was joining us and we'd actually be able to hold her. Fear for my health and Anna's health. Anxiety about everything that was happening, all so fast. It was a bunch of emotions! But, Anna arrived and all teh worry and fear melted away. She was here and she was perfect.
Anna's stay in NICU:
Since Anna was 4 weeks early and was under the 5 lb mark she was automatically taken to NICU. We thought it'd be maybe a one or two night stay but it's turned into an almost two week stay. The first night and day she was fine but once they got some of the results of routine tests back it showed that her glucose levels were very low and she wasn't regulating them on her own. They asked if I had gestational diabetes but I had passed the three hour test. They had to instert a PICC line because of the amount of fluids that hey needed to pump into Anna so her little arm veins wouldn't burn. This was a "mini-surgery" as it was described. It had to be in a sterile environment and it is a tiny IV tube that is inserted into a main artery close to the heart. This was a hard and scary day for us. Little Anna is also having trouble not zonking out mid-feeding. And, obviously they won't let her ocme home if she isn't eating. So, they are giving her her every other feeding through a tube and trying to bottle feed at the other feedings. I am praying SO hard that "the light" will just switch on. It is up to her now. She also had jaundice and had to stay under the lights for a couple of days.
This is the funniest picture to me! Anna under her lights for jaundice. Those little foam "Sunglasses" were so funny! This was her third day in NICU. She only had to stay under the lights for a couple of days.
At this point I am going up there during the day and then coming home to go back up at 8 when the NICU re-opens with Blake. It was been a very tiring week of travel back and forth to San Antonio. But, I am so thankful that our baby is healthy and is here with us. I just wish she was here at home with us. It is getting harder and harder to leave her!!