Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's your birthday!

Dear Natalie,
Today is your first birthday. Last year, before you were born, things were not so happy and pleasant. I remember the feeling of contentment I had before drifting off to sleep the night before. It all came crashing down.
It was around two in the morning when the pain in my belly started again. My blood pressure had sky-rocketed again. I finally called your dad around 3, because I couldn't breathe very well due to the pain and I was scared. He didn't answer the phone the first time I called. (He is a pretty heavy sleeper.) I gave him a few minutes and called again, this time he answered. My nurses kept coming in and giving me different things to bring down my BP, but nothing was working. I was given some anti-nausea medicine when we were sure the only way to get me better was to deliver. It didn't work very well. Apparently, I throw up when I am in a lot of pain. Daddy finally got to my room around 4 a.m., and all I could do when he got there was cry, throw up and urinate all over myself. It was a mess...I was a mess. I had no control over anything. I tried moving in different positions to relieve the pain, but nothing was working. The NICU nurse came in around 6 a.m. to explain what would happen after our sweet girl was born. I was crying so hard, I don't remember what she said. Dad had to sign all the papers. Finally around 7 a.m., my nurse gave me some pain medicine, and I immediately relaxed. I just laid back on my bed and focused on breathing. Daddy went into the bathroom to say a prayer and shed some tears. This was really hard on him, too.
The pain meds were wearing off after only 30 minutes, and I begged for more. I received 3 doses of the mystery drug, about every half hour. They were only suppose to give me 1 dose every hour. I remember Dr. Smith coming in during my relaxing phase. He told Dad that I needed to be delivered. He was afraid of my kidneys shutting down, or my liver exploding. (Nice, right?) When the third dose of happiness started to wear off, I was being wheeled into the OR. Right then, in that moment, I finally stopped being mad at Dr. Howerton, who had insisted that Dustyn be a C-section. I was not afraid of this delivery. I knew what was going to happen, and I knew I would heal quickly and without much pain. Right then, I was so glad Dustyn was a C-section.
I will never forget the moment I heard you cry. It was the most beautiful sound in the world. Daddy took some pictures and video, and then carried you over to me and I got to kiss your little head before he took you into the NICU.
I slept most of the day. I was wheeled in to hold you later that night, and I couldn't get over how small you were, how perfect. You were deemed the champion of the NICU. You never needed a feeding tube or oxygen. You were strong...a fighter. I don't understand now, and maybe I never will, why you needed to come early. I do know there is a purpose for you on this earth. I only hope I'm qualified to help you reach your full potential.
Today, you are happy and healthy. You are so beautiful! I love the way your hair curls when it's wet. I love how your siblings still refer to you as "Baby Natalie". I love how they giggle every time you let out a loud scream. I love that you spit your tongue at me when I try to get you to say "Momma", but say "Dada" perfectly. I love you, baby girl. I am so grateful for your little personality and the sweet spirit you bring into our home. Happy birthday!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

False Hope

Dear Natalie,
January 4th 2011 was the best day in the hospital so far. My lab results were holding steady. I was taken off the mag the night before, and was feeling much MUCH better. Your dad brought the kids to see me, and it was a very happy reunion. I've missed them terribly. We all had dinner together; cuddled on the bed; played a game. Life was normal, except for the hospital part. The doctor told me that if my labs stayed steady, they would send me home when we hit the 34 week marker...only 9 more days!!! I was so positive that things would go my way. My doctor reminded me that things would probably get worse before they got any better. But, he was just the doctor. What does he know? Didn't he realize I was in control of my body and things would go my way? Your heartbeat has been steady and true, reminding me that getting you here healthy is most important.
I just can't describe the feeling when I was moved from a delivery room to a recovery room to wait out my stay. I felt as though I was on the path home, still pregnant and awaiting your arrival. I didn't even have any baby clothes washed or the cradle set up. I was NOT ready for you to come early, physically or mentally, and things were looking up.

Hind sight is always 20/20.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

KRMC Day 2

Dear Natalie,
Today in 2011 was pretty uneventful. I was kept on magnesium and given the second dose of the steroid shot. Being on the mag, I wasn't allowed to move around. Being in bed got old really fast. I had a few visitors. My lab work showed that I was stable, but not improving. My doctor came in and told me to continue to expect to have to be delivered within the next couple of days. He said it was very rare for women who have severe pre-eclampsia to get better without delivering. The biggest comfort was the steady beeping of your heart monitor. I was starting to feel better, and hoping and praying that you would get to grow in my belly for a few more weeks. Only time would tell.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dear Natalie

Dear Natalie,
Your birthday is in three days. Although you are a healthy, happy, sweet little girl, we didn't always know that life would go back to "normal". It was one year ago today I was admitted into KRMC, diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia. My blood pressure had spiked around 7:00 that morning, and as your dad and I drove to the hospital, nothing could have prepared me for the probability of your being born 8 weeks early. I remember that day was a Sunday. The doctor told us to "prepare ourselves". I fought the tears. Your dad gave me a blessing before I was officially admitted. He blessed both of us that we would be ok, and that everything would turn out for the best. After they moved me to my room, the nurses immediately started an IV and I was given a steady drip of magnesium to help control my BP, and a steroid shot to develop your lungs. Dad needed to go to work, and I was left alone with my thoughts to keep me company. I let the tears flow as I wondered what the immediate future would hold. I worried about you. I wondered if you would be healthy and strong if you needed to come now. I cried for your brothers and sister. I missed them so much and I didn't know if they would understand why I wasn't there with them. I was worried about getting to deliver VBAC, or if it was going to have to be an emergency C-section. Last of all, I wondered if I would get to stay on earth with you and Daddy and our family. I struggled all day with keeping my thoughts positive, trying to remember the blessings I had been given and the promises that were made.
Truthfully, Natalie, I didn't think today would be so hard. I thought I was getting over the trauma of your birth. But on Sept 30th, when Emily fractured her skull and needed to stay at KRMC over-night, I realized I was still struggling. I was just doing a good job of pushing it back. I think I slept 2 hours that night. Between worrying about Emily and thinking about you, there was little chance of sleep. The smell of the soap reminded me of when we would have to scrub in before going to hold you in the NICU. I kept waiting for her heart monitor alarm to go off, like yours did every time you forgot to breathe. I even recognized a few of the nurses who helped take care of you during those weeks until you came home. I watched movies all night, which kept me from drowning in the memories. The next morning, I called your dad and almost begged him to bring you to me. I needed to smell your skin, feel your warmth, see you smile. He couldn't bring you to me...I had the car with all the car seats. I was suffocating, struggling to keep my composure. I finally got to hold you at 3:00 that afternoon.
I'm going to write you a letter everyday until your birthday. Even though you are sleeping peacefully in your bedroom, this is meant to be more of a therapy session than a documentary. It's not something I would print and put in your scrapbook. Who knows, maybe one day you'll find comfort in the knowledge that even your momma's life isn't perfect and I do understand what you're going through. I love you, my sweet Natalie.

Until tomorrow.