Leia’s Birth

Wednesday, 8/23 I went back to work for the school year and I could tell my blood pressure was up. I had an OB appointment that afternoon and sure enough, my bp was 170/97 and I was spilling protein in my urine. He took me off work and said that he needed me to take it really easy.  We scheduled weekly non stress tests and then I headed over to the hospital for some bloodwork. He said that I’d probably deliver a week or 2 early but we’d see. I came home & took it easy. I hated that I was off work (I love my job! Who can say that?) but was looking forward to 6-8wks of taking it easy, catching up on some things at home & finishing the nursery.   I went to bed like normal that night. I woke up around 2:30 and thought I was peeing my pants. I’m very pregnant so didn’t think too much of it, lol. I soaked through my pants walking (waddling) to the bathroom and I had more trickles while on the toilet. It was odd but pregnancy isn’t glamorous so I went back to bed. I did put a pad on though, just in case it happened again. I fell asleep and about 45m later I felt another huge gush. I jumped up and went to the bathroom. Soaked the pad and my pants, again. Okay...this isn’t normal. I’m only 32wks. This has to be pee, right? I decided to wake Mike up because I wanted his opinion. We decided we needed to go get checked out. We called Mike’s mom and she headed over for Luke. I can’t remember exact times at this point but I know we got to the hospital around 4:30. I called first so they knew I was coming & I got into a room rather quickly. Typical stuff happened at this point. I got into a gown, peed in a cup, got labs done, etc. She tested my pad that I was wearing for amniotic fluid and it was a faint positive. She then did a more accurate test and the lab called up almost immediately (when it usually takes 45m) and said it was an instant positive. Crap. My waters broke and I’m 32+3. Not good. My doc was making his rounds rather early so he came in after a little while and told us our game plan. Initially we thought immediate c/s (she was breech) but he wanted to get a round of magnesium and 2 steroid shots in me before anything else.  If me and baby looked good, he’d hope to get us to 34wks. They started some antibiotics and magnesium-sulfate around 8 or 9 I think. This is when it got real. Mag-sulf is from Satan himself. It made me feel so horrible. I couldn’t leave the bed, had a catheter and couldn’t eat. My entire body felt like it was on fire and I just laid there and cried. That first 24hrs was a bit of a blur. I felt horrible, was scared & just wanted to be home with Luke (who was having a rough time). Fast forward to Friday. I was able to get up and shower & eat. I felt a lot better but was getting so sore from laying in that hospital bed hooked up to monitors. She was doing great on the monitors though so I knew it was worth it for her. Saturday was about the same although I was having some more intense contractions and they started to get painful.  I continued on with the IV fluids & antibiotics. I spent the afternoon/evening with Mike, Luke & my parents. It was getting late so I told them all to leave as nothing was happening and we all needed sleep. They were instructed to keep phones close though as I was contracting a bit more regularly and it was starting to hurt.   I’m fairly certain Mike had just drifted off to sleep when I decided he needed to come back up. They were coming fast and consistent. He called my parents and within the hour they were all back up to the room.  We had a scan earlier in the day which showed she was head down so as long as she looked good, I was going to be able to labor her naturally. Before things got going I told my nurse Kelsey that I needed to pee. She helped me to the bathroom and once I sat down I felt the weirdest thing ever. I began to hemorrhage. I pulled the call a nurse cord and she was back in within seconds. I believe her words may have been “oh shit” which was exactly what I was thinking. There were clots the size of baseballs and the toilet was full of blood. It just kept coming. I was so scared. She immediately got me back into the bed and from there it got crazy. 3 nurses came in to prep me for an emergency c/s and that was before they even got the call back with the go ahead from the doctor. They just knew. My parents and Luke stepped out while they put the catheter in and did all the fun pre c/s stuff. Shortly after the doc was there and I remember it being maybe 12:30-1am? I signed consents, talked with the anesthesiologist and they were ready to take me back. Man, I was terrified. I gave Luke a huge hug and kiss. I told my parents bye and I was off to the OR. Mike gowned up while they put the spinal in. The CNA was amazing, y’all. He kept me so calm through it all. I’m not sure what I would have done without that man! Haha!  I was freaking out. Mike came in and they got started. I remember just feeling tingly all over, all the way up to my neck. I couldn’t feel the incision & was shocked when she said they were already in. Here is where things get crazy. The room gets quiet for a minute & I feel like someone is literally standing on my chest. I remember moaning in pain. I knew something was wrong. Because my water had been broken for 3 days, Leia had managed to lodge herself up under my rib cage transverse with a hand presenting. No matter how hard my OB tried, she could not manipulate her to get her out. She cut my uterus again (T incision) but that didn’t help. At one point there were 3 people pushing & pulling to get her out. Then I hear what no mom wants to hear. “Get me Doctor Bradley! Get me anyone! I need help!!” I’m laying there, wide open & the OB is panicking and its 2am. There aren’t any other docs there that can help. This is when I knew if I didn’t start deep breathing, close my eyes & go somewhere else- I would hyperventilate & pass out. By the grace of God, a few minutes later she’s out. I know she called for the vacuum so I assume that’s what helped. 4 pounds 8 ounces. 17 3/4 inches long. No cries. No “it’s a healthy baby girl!” No celebrating. No holding her above the curtain. Instead what my husband saw was a white, lifeless baby girl ripped from my stomach & a massive pool of blood all over the floor. People are scrambling. He recalls the bloody footprints. I’m sure that image will forever haunt him. She was whisked away & and I just laid there in shock as they stitched me up. I was shaking so bad my teeth were chattering. That didn’t stop for quite sometime. I remember Mike asking how she was & they told us she was intubated. My heart sunk. He kept pressuring them, asking to know more. To see her. Anything. That’s when the OB looked at him and said, “If you believe, just pray.” So that’s what we did. They finally got me closed up which felt like forever and Mike went out to let my parents know what was going on. My mom knew something went wrong because it took so long. She said Mike walked in, white as a ghost, with his hands behind his head. She had to help him to the chair and sit him down. He was so traumatized & still in shock. Luke was sound asleep on the chairs & they knew there was nothing they could do right then, so they took him home to sleep. Mike came back & I was in my room. We still couldn’t go see her but our nurse Amy was sweet & took Mike’s phone in and snapped some pictures. While it was hard to see her with all those wires & tubes, she was still the prettiest thing!!  She was also already extubated at this time. She only needed to be intubated for around 45 minutes before she fought the tube & was breathing on her own! Mike was finally allowed to see her & she just had the cpap on. I finally stopped shaking and itching about 2 hours after she was delivered & was begging to see her. My nurse Brittany said that we could try but it might not happen if I was too weak to stand. I knew I had to pull it together for Leia & I did. I was so dizzy & shaky when I got out of bed & into the wheelchair but I acted fine so I could get to my girl! She was so sweet. I just talked to her, held her little finger & knew from that moment on she was a fighter. My princess warrior. My recovery wasn’t easy. I was in quite a bit of pain but I didn’t let that stop me. Between pumping every 2 hours (day & night), seeing Leia & sleeping- I was a busy girl.  It was physically, mentally & emotionally draining. Add to that a son at home who was having a very hard time with mom gone...the tears never really stopped. On 8/30, I woke up with a 102.7 fever. Headache, chills, etc. They did some bloodwork, chest X-ray & started me on some IV antibiotics.  The worst part is that until they knew what was causing it, I couldn’t see Leia!  It was definitely a setback, but I tried to stay strong. Once my fever broke, I kept pumping & taking what little milk I was making to the NICU. At one point the sweet NICU nurse held her up so I could see her and she could hear my voice.  It definitely helped me get through that 24hours. They said it was a bad UTI although I had zero symptoms. Her placenta pathology also came back around that time with a chorio infection so maybe that was some of the issue too? We will never know.   2 days later, 9/1, I was finally able to leave the hospital. It was bittersweet. I wanted to be home with Luke SO bad but I hated leaving her. It tore my heart into a million pieces. I cried so hard as we pulled away from the hospital. I also cried so hard seeing Luke get off the bus & run into my arms. My heart was in 2 places but so full of love for my kids! My story doesn’t stop there. Leia struggled with weight gain & bottle feeding. Luke continued to struggle with school. I battled a post-op wound infection (on my birthday!) which needed drained in the ER. Mike proceeded to irrigate it and pack it daily for 2 weeks. We struggled with daily trips to the NICU, getting homework done, etc etc. Adjusting to this new life was hard.   After a few more weeks in the nicu, our little 5lb5oz girl was ready to come home. We had to room in with her for one night to make sure her temps stayed up & she would take a bottle. I was like a kid at Christmas heading to the hospital to get our girl!  It finally felt real. She was my baby & I was her mom. No nurses to watch our every move. No wires and monitors. No looking back. Once we got to the room, I was determined to breastfeed her. We were never allowed to try in the nicu because they said it would wear her out, she’d never latch, etc.  I sat on the bed, grabbed a pillow & guess what that little girl did? She latched. And she ate. She ate for 30 minutes which shocked all the nurses. We could hear her gulping & swallowing!  I was so proud of her. Of us. I still continued to bottle feed her my milk as well because we needed to make sure she was still gaining, but every chance I got, we nursed. That first night was rough. I didn’t get a drop of sleep. She grunted a lot, as preemies do. She was having quite a bit of belly pain/gas so we just tried to get her through that. We brought her home the next day & the rest is a blur. ❤️