Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Forgotten Blog

Below is part of a blog I started a long time ago on the March of Dimes site, Share Your Story.  It is not very long but I had completely forgotten about it until accidentally finding it quite by accident. I guess, reading though it, I didn't have much to complain about, especially compared to many of the other stories on the site.  Reading it served two purposes however:

1. I began to feel justified in my anger about having to go through so much...right from the pregnancy with Jack.
2. It also made me realize how much I can get through if I have to.

I am sure the emotions of these two ways of thinking will fluctuate with my hormones and the changing of the wind!  But at least there will be times when I will remember I can get through anything:)


Feb 23, 2007 05:56pm (EST)

I have never really considered sharing my story until recently. My friends and family know how lucky I am to be the proud mother of two healthy children; many also know how painful the road to this point has been.

We were so delighted when our sonogram gave us the news we were expecting a boy. All the measurements were normal, all the toes and fingers were there, and he definitely was a boy! 9/11 had just happened and I began to feel dread about bringing a child into the world, but I was still optimistic and cherished the feelings of being a mother.

Then, on November 11th, I walked into the bathroom to discover severe bleeding. I was just 24 weeks pregnant and had been feeling slight butterflies that 'rolled' in my stomach...perhaps the beginning of the wonderful movements my baby was making? No. Those were the first contractions. These feelings would continue throughout my pregnancy, getting more severe as time went on. "But I'm only 24 weeks!" I kept
telling my husband as I lay in the triage room at the hospital. I was being pumped with magnesium and terbutaline...not at the same time... and my doctor was trying her best to reassure me. I was admitted...not the reassurance I was looking for.

I was numb. I had been told what might happen if I delivered. Some babies could survive but usually faced many problems. I felt like every inch of me was crawling as the magnesium worked hard to keep my son in the right place. I was angry. Why me? I had been so careful. Then I remembered walking my in-laws' dog and being pulled so sharply by that I felt a pain in my side. Now I blamed me. I should not have walked that dog knowing how he could pull on the leash so much.

I managed to put all those thoughts to the back of my mind; I had to pay attention to what was going to happen next. I had to stay in the hospital for two weeks while steroids were given to strengthen Jack’s lungs. (We had chosen the name and he became even more real and even harder to consider losing). The contractions were strong; my monitor looked like the Rocky Mountains. Thankfully, they did not hurt; they were, however, constant reminders of what was happening to my baby.

When I was sent home, I was put onto a Terbutaline pump and monitor. I was on total bed rest; no getting up except for the bathroom. Now I began planning again. If I went this far, maybe I could hold out and make it all the way with my Jack? I imagined holding him and putting him in the new crib we had ordered just days before my contractions began. My mind began to refuse to think about the bad stuff. Everything was going to be okay.

I sent my monitor readings into Matria twice a day. Sometimes my contractions needed an extra bolus of medication to bring them down to a safer level. All in all, the time went by fairly well. I kept busy doing online courses, reading books and attempting crosswords. My in-laws brought lunch or Brian, my lovely husband, left a cooler of food and drinks by my bedside. I developed a craving for milk, drinking liters each day. I was certainly settling into a routine. Jack was still safe inside.

New Years Eve. Of course we didn’t go out…until exactly twelve midnight! As the fireworks began and the ball dropped, Brian and I had to make our way back to the hospital. My contractions were not being controlled by the medicine. I had 3 boluses and still they were coming fast and strong. I was not even 30 weeks yet, Jack was still too early. I was placed into a delivery room but hooked up to the magnesium again. Doctors returned to explain how life might be if I delivered. They even showed us video of breathing and relaxation techniques as I had not been able to go to classes. I guess they felt I may not hold out.

Three days later, I was back home with my” pump and bump”. I had managed to come through the New Years ‘celebration’. Jack was safe and I was shaken but still determined. We had a couple more scares but nothing that required hospital. Friends and family were supportive from a distance. My family was in England as I moved to America to be with Brian. His family was working and did what they could. We felt okay, but a little alone.

It was February. I was still pregnant. My doctor couldn’t believe I had come this far. “Just a few more days will help…” She had being saying from the beginning, way back in November. I felt so proud; I had managed a few more months. I was about to reach 36 weeks and, while not full term, this had been the major goal. After this point, I was going to be taken off the pump and allowed to let nature take its course. My placenta previa had gone…perhaps all those contractions had moved it? “Something good then,” I thought. I was so excited that I would be able to have a natural birth, my son would be safe and my life would be back to normal. I even sat on the couch instead of in bed!

February was not a long month for my pregnancy. On February 5th, I called my mother-in-law. I needed a ride to the hospital. Brian had left for work and I was bleeding heavily. This time I knew nothing was going to happen except the baby, my Jack, was going to be delivered.

Brian reached the hospital in record time. I think my call helped, “Brian, I’m hemorrhaging, please meet me at the hospital!” In retrospect, not the words I should have used. I was in the operating room within an hour. The idea of giving birth was gone, an emergency C-section was needed. Things began to whirl around yet stay still at the same time. Slow motion, warp-speed, crazy thoughts. I was scared.

I kept holding onto the fact that Jack was okay now. He had gotten another dose of steroids for his lungs as the results from his test showed a need…not good! Yet he was 36 weeks so it would be okay?

The operation was strange and surreal. The baby was out but we heard nothing. The doctors were talking but we felt that they were uneasy. What was going on? Still nothing. I saw Jack being carried to the table where the doctors from the NICU were gathered “just in case”. They were busy. Why was this taking so long? He had been in me for 36 weeks, not 24! It should be okay. But his chord had been caught up and there had been a great amount of bruising and complications as he was delivered from my stomach. He had gone through all that fighting inside me, only to have a birth that left him fighting for life.

Jack cried. I cried. We saw him for a moment, a quick kiss, them he was whisked away to the NICU. He would spend five days in there. My enormous preemie. He was 7lbs 1oz!!!!

Life for my Jack was not easy for him during his time in the NICU, but he was okay. He was strong and his damaged lungs were quickly working on their own. I struggled to breastfeed, didn’t do too well but in the scheme of things, that was nothing. I also struggled to bond. That took much more of a toll. Yet looking at my lovely strong (slightly asthmatic) five year old now makes we jump for joy. He is fine, truly fine. My contractions were no match for him and neither was the umbilical chord that had a good try at getting him. I consider myself to be very lucky indeed.

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