Friday, September 14, 2012

Nora's story started back in May of 2010.  We knew that it would take some time to get pregnant since I have PCOS, so  Todd and I tried to get pregnant for almost a year and a half using fertility pills.  After an entire year we decided to take a break over the summer, and low and behold on September 9th 2011 we found out that we were pregnant!  My due date was May 14th 2012.  I was extremely sick for the first 17weeks and after that I felt great and was able to finally start enjoying my pregnancy, that was until week 25.  

On February 1st, I woke up for a routine doctor visit that was scheduled for 10:30am for my glucose test. Nora was 25weeks 2days gestation. As I was getting ready that morning I started noticing some slight cramping, I didn't think much of it and kept getting ready.  As I got in the car the cramps were getting a bit worse but I thought maybe they were braxton hicks.  I called Todd told him what I was feeling, told him I would run it by the OB but I was sure everything was fine and she would tell me it was all normal.  In the Dr appointment I told her, "ya know the only reason I am saying anything is because they are happening like every 15-20min."  So she checked me and said, that my cervix was softening but was not dilated.  So she sent me home, told me to take it easy, drink lots of water, put my feet up and call her if I have more than 6-8 "cramps" in an hour.  Well I went home, and in the first hour I had 8... I totally tried to downplay them.  I was in such denial and terrified all at the same time.  I thought if I ignored them, surely they would go away.  I was on the phone for most of that hour with Todd, I told him I had had 8, but 2 I could barely feel so we wouldn't count those <--- idiot!   Thank God Todd knew better, he left work, told me to call the hospital and tell them we would be coming into triage.  

By the time we had arrived in triage and I was checked it was 2:30pm and I was already 2cm dilated!!  WHAT???  I am pretty sure I went into panic mode at that point.  The Dr told me I had a slight UTI, he would put me on antibiotics for that, jack me up on Magnesium sulfate (worst crap ever!) and send me to the special care unit.  They did an ultra sound to make sure she was head down, which she was, and to check her weight.   They predicted her at being 1lb 14oz.  I could not even fathom what 1lb 14oz's looked like...I mean seriously...a 1lb baby??   This is where my memory gets fuzzy and I have to rely on what my husband tells me happened.  At 6pm I got my first steroid shot for Nora's lungs followed by my first dose of Mag.  When they gave me the mag it made me sooo sick and it caused me to basically black out.  The mag is a huge muscle relaxer, so I couldn't move my arms, my legs, I couldn't even barely lift my head.  Poor Todd, every time I had to puke he had to run over and completely sit me up.  The nurses told Todd that they had never seen someone react to mag as badly as I did.  They planned on giving me the first steroid shot at 6pm that night and then the second at 6pm the next night, then they realized they didn't have that kind of time, so it turned into 6pm and 6am, then they realized they didn't even think they had that time, so i got the first one at 6pm and the second one at 3am... I am no doctor but I know that it was ultimately God, but also those shots that saved Nora's life.  I know I complain about the mag and how much it sucked, but it kept Nora in long enough to get the shots, and let them be in my system for a while to actually start to work.  I know they tried all through that night to stop my contractions but to no avail.  At 3:30am I was wheeled into labor and delivery and they started making preparations for delivery, even ordering my epidural (which I never received that night).  At around 6:40am Todd sent out a desperate plea for prayers on Facebook, and by 8:30am my contractions had finally stopped, and I was 3-4cm dilated!  They told me then that I would be on hospital bedrest until Nora was delivered and that they would do everything they could to stop it, but she would most likely be here within 7days.  

Over the next few days, we had consults with a MFM (maternal fetal medicine), and with one of the Doctors from the NICU.  They were trying to prepare us for what to expect with the birth of a 25weeker.  Let me tell you, those are the scariest conversations I have ever had, and thankfully I don't remember most of them because of the mag.  Apparently I straight fell asleep in the middle of one conversation I had with my MFM.  The nurses thought it was hilarious that the doctor put in my chart "patient fell asleep, continued conversation with her husband."  haha like I said...the mag and I did not get along!  But I do remember praying to God saying, I will lay in this bed for the next 15 weeks...just please don't let her come early,please!!  God had other plans though... 

Two days later on February 4th, they decided that I was finally stable enough to wheel back out of labor and delivery and back to the special care unit.  They wheeled me out at noon, and at 12:10pm my contractions started again.  This time they were not able to stop them.  I labored, panicked, terrified, and sick to my stomach for hours.  They jacked me back up on more mag then I was on the previous few days and told me to try my best to relax...right.  Todd's family was there, but all I wanted was my Mom and/or sisters, who were all at my other sister's baby shower.  The nurses kept asking me if the contractions were strong and I kept telling them no, I thought if I told them how bad they really hurt that they would give up on trying to stop my labor.  Because Nora was so small they couldn't even track most of my contractions on the monitor.  How they knew I was having a contraction (with out me telling them) was because Nora's heart rate would dip with every contraction.  Todd could see it all over my face every time I had a contraction, but I don't think he quite understand my insane logic of thinking at the time.  He kept saying, Renee I know their getting stronger, you can no longer talk through them.  I just really remember thinking, if I can keep lying about how strong these contractions are, they will keep trying to stop my labor.  Finally around 5pm my Mom got there, and around 6:30 my water broke and they finally told me they were not going to be able to stop it this time, I was dilating way to fast.  I absolutely broke down... I lost it.  I was terrified for Nora, terrified that she would not make it.  They started preparing me, telling me that she would not cry when she was born, she would not be placed on my chest, that I would not see her when she was born, and  they would be rushing her to the NICU right after birth.  I was supposed to have a joyful birth, full of fun, excitement, and anticipation.  Not one of fear, terror, and horror-stricken panic.  Around 7pm they finally turned the mag off, in hopes that I would be able to start to feel my legs and arms, and be able to lift my head for delivery.  As soon as they turned the mag off, my labor progressed rapidly.  By 8pm I was 6-7cm dilated and had just gotten my epidural in a last ditch effort to stop them.  By 9:50 I was 8cm and by 9:55 I was 10 and ready to go!  I have never in my life been more scared than I was in that moment.  I remember just crying in shear desperation, just begging and pleading that she stay in, I kept repeating over and over again...its too soon...she's to small!  

By 10pm my entire labor and delivery room was full of 10 NICU staff (nurses, Nurse practitioners, neonatologist, and respiratory) and then 5 more labor and delivery nurses and a doctor.  You could barely move in that room there were so many people.  With me was Todd and my Mom.  I needed my Mom in there so that Todd could leave if he was able to be with Nora and she could stay and comfort me.  After just 2 short pushes, Nora Katherine was born at 10:38pm weighing only 1lb 14oz and 13in long.   When the doctor held her up for a split second for me to see, I lost it again.  She was tiny and pink but did not cry at all.  I knew she was going to be small, I knew she was going to be beyond small, but you can never begin to prepare yourself for that.  I had no idea how something so small could ever survive.  She took my breath away and I began to pray like I have never prayed in my life.  I must say though, she was tiny, but she was perfect.  Todd stood by my side, listening to everyone working on his precious daughter.  They intubated her right away in my room and tried to get her as stable as possible.  All I remember Todd saying over and over was, "they said she took a breath...they said she is breathing, babe she is breathing...shes breathing"  I knew it was all machine/vent breathing but I just kept thanking God that she was alive.  They worked on her for about 20min before they put her in her isolate, wheeled her next to me so I could get one good look at her, and then they rushed her to the NICU.

Todd was able to see her an hour later, and I was able to finally see her at 1am after my epidural had worn off.  She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  She gripped right onto my finger, opened her eyes and looked right at me.  That paired with the first time I got to hold her were some of the best moments of my life.  

We didn't know until months later how critical her first 12hours of life were.  The neonatologist told us there were several times they did not think she would make it, and every time I think about that I cry.  Nora was born with an infection called Chorio, also within the first few hours of life she had a blood transfusion (within 6hrs of being born) and developed a bilateral grade 4 brain bleed (the most severe brain bleed you can have, that we would find out about 10days later).

They are still not positive on why I went into labor so very early, it could be a number of things, or just 1 individual thing, but unfortunately there is no way for us to know.   I have a bicornuate uterus which can sometimes cause pre-term labor, but I came into the hospital with a UTI and Nora was ultimately born because of a sever infection in my uterus.  There is no way to know if the UTI started everything, which then would have caused me to go into labor, and then being dilated caused the infection, or if the infection came first, if the bicornuate uterus caused the pre term labor etc...  We were told that when a women goes into labor early, if caught very early, a lot of times the doctors can stop it, but when there is an infection the drugs will not work, and the baby knows its uninhabitable and it has to get out.  Which is exactly what Nora did, and I thank God everyday that she did, less she could never have survived in there with the infection.

What she has been able to overcome is nothing short of a miracle.  Everything that happened on those horrific scary days is nothing short of a miracle.    The fact that I had a Dr appointment on the day my contractions started, (I would never have gone in because i didn't think they were contractions), is a miracle.  The fact that they were able to stop my labor if even for a few days, so that the steroids could take effect is a miracle.  The fact that Nora was born alive, even though her blood count was severely low, she was not breathing, she was magged out, and had a potentially fatal infection.... an absolute miracle.  The fact that Nora had a bilateral grade 4 brain bleed... that could not be identified just a few short weeks later... miracle.  The fact that she would later overcome 2 more potentially fatal infections...miracle.  The fact that Nora is a happy, healthy 7month old right now....  MIRACLE!!!   I would never have imagined the very worst, most terrifying day of my life, would also turn out to be one of the best...  I can't imagine having a worse start to your life, but she is a fighter and she is our little miracle.  We thank God everyday for her.  Todd and I are forever grateful of all the miracles God has performed in our lives and especially with our sweet baby girl.  My life changed the moment I had her, in ways I never ever imagined.  I walked into that hospital on Feb 1st one person, and back out May 10th a completely different person.  Nora has taught us more in the first 5months of her life so far, then she will ever know.  I could not be more proud and in love with my little miracle.


Rachel Beer said...

Truly and miracle and such a blessing. Thanks for sharing your story. How big is little miss Nora now?

Kit Gana said...

In everything that happened into our life God has a purpose. We can't fathom the plans of God into our life. Thank you for sharing your very inspiring story to us. Just continue to believed God that He has a great plan into your family. I know He will perform His miracle to your baby Nora. I pray that all is well. God Bless!! :-)

Muscle Relaxers

Precious and priceless so lovable too, the world’s sweetest littlest miracle is, a baby like you.

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