***TMI (too much info) warning****
One day should you decide to have a family you will need this information.
It has been a little over three years since your abrupt entrance to this crazy world. We weren’t expecting your arrival until the end of August, the 28th to be exact, however you my little love had other plans and decided to arrive on June 9, 2008 at 28 weeks 5 days gestation. Your start to life was rough from the time we found out I was pregnant to the day you came home from the NICU. But here you are 3 years later and doing so well.
As I said we knew right from the start, at my 8 week 1st pre-natal appointment, that I was sick. I was the earliest case of PIH my ob/gyn had ever seen. The odds were against us and I was told so on January 8th 2008. I was put on medications to try and control my blood pressure and we hoped for the best. Visit after visit my blood pressure crept up and the doctor and I grew more and more concerned. We would up dosages, add medicines and try to figure out ways to lower this blood pressure. I remember every appointment because most ended with me in tears in the doctors office just praying and hoping that you would hold on. Things got worse around 17 weeks when my kidneys started having some issues and shortly after I was withdrawing from school and leaving my part-time job again to hope you would hold on for a little while longer.
Dr. L at my 8 week appointment said the goal was 37 weeks, obviously my goal and naivety hoped for a full term pregnancy. At 21 weeks I had more kidney issues, at 24 weeks was my first overnight in the hospital to see what was going on and if I had to deliver then. Luckily I didn’t have to deliver that night but the next couple weeks were rough. My doctors were scared and had me on weekly appointments with my ob/gyn and mfm for scans, ultrasounds, bloodwork and urine tests to see what my protein levels were.
The day I had you is still fresh in my mind as I am sure it will always be. The weekend before you came we lost power at home, as used to happen all the time, so daddy and I packed up and headed to mom-mom and pop-pops for the night. I was sick and tired but always put on the happy face since I didn’t want anyone to worry. When we got back Sunday night we thankfully had power and I slept and slept. I tried to drink a lot of water and noticed I wasn’t really using the bathroom at all. Monday morning I woke up and again was not using the bathroom so I took my blood pressure and it was HIGH. I took again a couple minutes later and it was higher yet. So I called Dr. L’s office and they immediately got me in to see my mfm. I drank on my way there knowing they would need me to urinate to test for pre-eclampsia (as they did every week!). When I got to the office they got me in right away, a small feat 😉 , and as I suspected asked for a sample. I could not do it and that sent the nurses into a panic, no exaggeration. I was soon in the office with the doctor doing scans to see what was going on and told to go to the hospital. I was allowed to go home first but told to go immediately back to the hospital and plan to stay there until I delivered in a couple weeks.
I drove home in a daze and when I walked through the door your dad was so confused. I hadn’t told him any of the events of the day since he was working and I didn’t want him to worry. I sat on our bed and cried. I cried while I packed my hospital bag, cried while I kissed Cherokee good-bye, cried on the drive to the hospital and then went into full blown panic.
After I was all hooked up to the iv and other random things the nurses tried taking my blood pressure. They used several different BP cuffs with all different readings one higher then the other. They couldn’t believe my blood pressure was so high and I was still walking around feeling ok. We were in a holding pattern to see if the meds they put in my iv would bring my blood pressure down. SO I sent Dad home and told him to get some sleeps since he had been at work all day. The last thing I said to him was “no worries the baby isn’t coming today.” He felt assured as did I so off he went to get some dinner and sleep. About an hour later all hell broke loose with my bp going even higher, the nurses putting me on mag so I didn’t seize and the decision was made that you had to come out now. Dad got back to the hospital as soon as he could, I was again in a full blown panic attack and tried to leave the hospital. I also apparently called people and was text messaging friends right up until they wheeled me out to the OR.
Once we got to the OR I was knocked out, daddy was kicked out of the room and I guess shortly thereafter you arrived. The doctors did not know how things were going to go for either of us. I woke up in recovery, alone, confused and not sure on how you were. Luckily for me daddy did get to see you rather quickly and knew to take pics to show me. You had a lot of tubes, wires and you were in a freezer sized ziploc type bag to keep you warm. My mom and dad arrived soon after and were so helpful with decisions and everything. The NICU at our hospital was full, thanks to a bunch of twins (ahem Cameron and Evan 🙂 ) and you needed a lot of help to stay alive. The decision was made to transfer you to Children’s National Medical Center. I didn’t think I was going to get to see you. Around 4am the transport team arrived and Mamie (my mom) asked them to bring you into to me so I could see you. I am to this day so grateful that she did this because it helped me in so many ways.
You had a long NICU stay, 58.5 days to be exact, with ups and downs which were all documented on this blog for you one day to see how far you have come.
So that is how our story and journey with prematurity began. Prematurity isn’t like a virus it doesn’t go away. Prematurity is that thing that you sometimes forget about and then BAM it smacks you in the face. 3 years out from his birth and NICU stay and I still struggle with things about how everything went down. Every struggle he faces now I blame on prematurity and that my body failed him. Prematurity is the reason I will worry every time a friend or loved one is pregnant. Prematurity is the reason my blood pressure will never be the same. Prematurity sucks, plain and simple.
You all know the struggles, albeit minor, we have had with Brendan over the years from his exorcist style reflux to his severe speech delay. We got lucky in the grand scheme of this preemie thing. There are so many preemies born at earlier, the same and later gestational ages that never get to leave the NICU, that spend months and months in the NICU and face many other challenges over their lifespan. As usual the report card came out a couple weeks ago and we as a nation are ranking a D. How is that possible!? So many medical advances have been made but we still have a far journey to go with prematurity.
Please if you have $1, 5, 10 or a million donate to the march of dimes. The March of Dimes is a great organization that was very helpful while Brendan was in the NICU and does much to help the fight for preemies.
If you are new to our blog thanks for reading and we hope you come back.