Please welcome guest blogger, Tifani.
Okay, so this is my first attempt at “blogging” so hang with me. I honestly don’t know where to start. I could start from the beginning of the year and a half of trying to become pregnant. I can start with going to a fertility specialist only to realize that we could not afford to have IUI or IVF. I could start with April 19th 2010, the day we found out we were pregnant against all odds. But, none of that has to do with my dear little one and her early arrival.
My husband and I (dare I say this) prayed our little girl would arrive before Christmas, as she was due on December 30, 2010. We only wanted her to come a little early due to the fact that my grandmother died unexpectedly in July and we wanted to have something to celebrate and to help ease that empty feeling of the first holidays without her. We will be very careful what we pray for from here on out.
On September 13th I was starting my bout with student teaching and excited because the end of it marked a life with our new little one. After the first week of this venture my blood pressure would sky rocket. I would go to the hospital for monitoring and the go home. Next was the diagnosis of Pre-eclampsia, however I was missing some symptoms so they weren’t concerned. I was put on modified bed rest and quit student teaching. On October 11th my husband and I were going to go eat with his parents. Before we left my blood pressure went up to 154/107 so I sat down for a while to get it down and we went out. While out eating I got this terrible pain in my stomach. I was doubled over in pain and we came back home, my husband went to the store without me, when he returned it was not any better. The pain continued and at 3:00AM I begged him to take me to the hospital. They did an ultrasound and determined that my gallbladder was acting up and after the pregnancy they would need to remove it, they also decided that I would stay in the hospital for observation for a few days.
On Thursday my doctor came in and said to me that she was going to send me home the following day, and everything looked great. I had no issues with blood pressure and no more pain. My mom made me ask (even though I knew the answer) if I was going to deliver that weekend and she said there was a 1% chance. That night everything went down hill. The pain came back; I was vomiting, and have never felt that kind of pain in my life. They ran blood work and said it was just my gallbladder and I would have to push through it. At 5:00AM Friday morning they walked in to do more blood and test my urine. At 7:52 AM my nurse walked in with several others and told my husband to gather our stuff we were moving to Labor and Delivery. All the sudden things started moving quickly. They said they would have to deliver the baby as soon as possible and an emergency c-section was necessary. I did not know until afterwards how dire the situation was.
Little Haven Grace was born that day October 15th at 10:10AM and weighed 2lbs. 8oz. and was 15in. long. I remember waiting to hear her cry and being so relieved when I heard her. I got to see her as the doctor held her up and then she was taken from the room immediately and my husband followed. I did not see her again for 36 hours. I was told I developed HELLP syndrome, which is in a nutshell where your organs start to shut down.
I was not prepared for the first time I saw her with all the machines. I wasn’t prepared for the fact that it was a week and a half before I got to hold my baby for the first time. I wasn’t prepared to watch other mothers leave with their babies, and to be wheeled out to the car empty handed. I wasn’t prepared for the roller coaster that the next 2 months brought. I wasn’t prepared for all the alarms. I wasn’t prepared to watch 16 NICU babies come and go before I finally got to bring her home.
I found comfort in being able to find information (although ignorance can be bliss at times) and support through the March of Dimes website. There was no other NICU parent there like me so I had no one to talk to. The MOD website gave me valuable information and guided me to know what questions to ask, let me know what my rights as a parent are, and most of all let me know that I wasn’t alone. I learned that if you sit at the hospital like I did, you need to have a hobby you can take with you or you will go crazy. I taught myself to crochet. Even if it is just writing in a journal, you will need it to keep your sanity.
Haven was a lucky little girl. She never had any serious complications, of course there were good days and bad days but each day was a gift. On December 5th she was released from the hospital and has been thriving ever since. She is now just over 5 months old and weighs over 11 lbs. Whenever I think that things are difficult I look at her life and the little miracle before me, I remember that I too was close to death and almost never got to see her. Had I not been at the hospital that night I would have died along with her the next day. Each day is a gift and every minute a blessing.
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