Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Birth of a Princess

Twelve short years ago, my dear and few readers, a very special birth took place. 
I remember that day like it was (literally) yesterday.
I had been sick for some time.  It was during this pregnancy that I had been diagnosed as having type 1 diabetes.  My body wasn't doing so well.  All my internal organs had started shutting down.  And I was sick as a dog. 
I woke up that morning with really high blood sugars and I wouldn't stop vomiting.  I wasn't even due till April 30th of that year, but I knew something was horribly wrong.  John was on the phone with my OB/GYN, who after hearing my symptoms, told us not to wait, but to go straightaway to Philadelphia (Pennsylvania Hospital) where my specialist was. 
I started to cry for the millionth time that morning and we packed up our belongings and called our parents.  John called his and I called mine.  We knew it was time. 
It didn't feel like it was time.  After all, I wasn't having labor pains or contractions.  I mean, I was feeling sick, but not at all what I thought labor would feel like.  But, something huge was about to happen, and John and I knew it.  John later told me that I had started to turn a yellow-ish color.  I didn't feel any color, but green - because I must've thrown up at least two dozen times that day.
So, after the hour's commute to Philadelphia, I was admitted immediately and assigned a labor room.  I am telling you that not only did I feel like I was dying, I looked like I was dying.  My feet were the size of bowling balls, my body had a very strange yellow hue to it, I remember feeling as though I wasn't going to make it. 
The nurses came in and wanted to start an IV right away.  But I was so blown up that they had a hell of a time finding a vein.  First, they would give me a numbing needle, then poke around to find a vein.  They poked me, without exaggeration, at least 50 times trying to get this IV in me.  I felt like I was in hell.  They also had me hooked up to the monitor to see if I was having contractions.  All I could hear was my daughter's heartbeat. 
thump.  thump.  thump.  thump. 
Over and over again.
Good.  I remember thinking.  She's still kicking.So, as they were still trying to get the IV in me, a nurse pulled John out into the hall.  I had no idea what the nurse was saying to him.  But when John came back into the room, he took my hand and he had tears in his eyes. 
I wanted to ask him what was wrong, but at that moment I heard a nurse say, "Yes!  We got a vein!"
So, with IV hooked up and meds kicking in I was placed in a room to await the news as to what was going to happen.  By this time, my folks and John's folks had made the trek to Philadelphia.  I saw my parents first.  The look in their eyes told me that whatever they had heard wasn't good.  I still hadn't heard anything.  I was too busy puking and feeling bad. 
My mom was crying, but in a way that she didn't want me to know she was crying.  Behind my mom, my mother in law had walked in. 
Unbeknownst to me, my mother in law was celebrating her birthday.  I had no idea!  But, kind as she is, she just sat there with me for hours on end!  She crocheted and hummed to me and held my hair back for me while I puked. 
So, I spent an awful night in that hospital room.  Didn't eat anything, although to be honest, I don't know if I wanted to eat.  Nurses came in and out all night long, giving me this, replacing that.  I was so out of it, I wouldn't have noticed a tornado if it had come through. 
I was told by my specialist that I was going to have a C-section the next day. 
I protested, saying that it was too early. 
He looked at me and said it was the only way to save my life.  And that they were going to give me steroids in three injections to try and jump start my baby's lungs.  But, if they were to wait any longer to take my baby out, I was surely going to die.  All my organs had started to shut down.  Which is why I had turned yellow.  Which is why I had ballooned up.  Which is why I felt so very sick. 
So, it was either, stay pregnant and die or have a C-section too early.  I obviously picked the latter.  We live in a good medical age, where I knew my baby's chances were good, even it I was two and half months early. 
I remember John coming into my room, wearing scrubs.  I almost didn't recognize my own husband.  But all I need to do was look into his loving and worried eyes.  John sat there with me, smoothing my hair away from my face and holding my hand.  We didn't say much.  What could we say?  We knew the situation was bleak.  But, there wasn't much to do but wait for the nurse wheel me into delivery. 
By six o'clock that night, the nurses had started the procedures for an emergency C-section.  Sign here, initial there.  I had no idea what I was signing.  But, was too ill and worried and scared to even care.   I must've looked like death because the look on everyone's faces was just a look of pure concern.  John was as white as a ghost.  My parent's faces were red and tear stained. 
So, in the delivery room, I was given another IV, a huge needle in the back and then strapped down.  I looked over at one of the nurses and ended up throwing up a final time before they had started to cut me open.  The doctor called John around to look all my organs. 
I remember him saying to John.  "Hey, you hunt right?  Take a look at this!" 
There was blood everywhere!  I couldn't believe that I could lose so much and still be alive. 
The doctor said something about me feeling pressure on my chest, and then I heard John say, "Here she comes!"  
And then at 6:57 pm, my daughter Olivia Joy came into this world.
And oh my goodness.  What a beautiful and tiny miracle she was!
She "tipped" the scales at three pounds, five ounces.  John was holding her, crying.  I kinda stretched my head to get a look at her.  One of the many nurses in the room kinda held her to my chest, and my first words were, "She's perfect."  
As I muttered those two words, my baby opened her eyes in recognition of my voice.  That's all it took.  I was in love. 
Then I could feel the doctor doing something "down there" and he explained that I was being "stapled back together." 
Olivia was taken to the hospital's NICU where she would be hooked up to monitors and breathing machines and kept warm till I could muster enough strength to visit with her later. 
John kissed me and off I went to recovery. 
I fell asleep in the recovery room, and had heard later that this is when the rest of my family had shown up at the hospital.  The rest of John's family had shown up as well. 
I was in the hospital for another week or so and then released to go home   Olivia, unfortunately couldn't join us.   She was too tiny and fragile to come home.  She stayed in the hospital for another 6 weeks before she was released. 
But, there you have it.  The birth of a preemie princess. 
That was 12 years ago. 
And what a magnificent (and sometimes scary) 12 years it's been. 

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