Friday, November 18, 2011

Step Right Up

Has anyone else had a fear of feeling the blade cut them during surgery? Especially during a C-section when you're awake? Or waking up during surgery? I chalk these fears up to reality TV. 

Having a C-section is a helpless feeling. You lay awake on a cold table in a cold white room with your arms tied down out to your side. There is a blue drape angled up from your stomach over your head so you aren't able to see the operation. Lots of machines hooked up to the mother. You can't feel anything from your ribs down. I know the end result is the same whether a mom gives birth in a birthing room or in an OR. In the end, a baby is born.

But having a baby for me is about the experience. It's the process, the journey of this tiny being emerging from the warmth and safety of my womb, to the shock of the physical world. To me, it is the most connected I have ever felt to myself. Physically, spiritually and emotionally it is one heck of a ride. Very intimate and extremely powerful. I had a wonderful experience with the birth of our son and I wept what I was missing with my baby girl. Now we were focusing on saving our lives and getting through the pain.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's Been A While

It's been a while since I posted. I know the social media books say a blogger is supposed to post everyday, but frankly, it was getting overwhelming for me. That's because I have been dealing with Post Traumatic Stress from my delivery of Katie 4 years ago.

I have since learned it is common for mother's who have had a traumatic birthing experience to suffer from PTSD. Post partum depression is covered in the birthing books, but how to deal with post-traumatic birth isn't a hot topic. But nothing is normal with a premature birth so why should I expect this topic to fall within the same "this is normal" category.

Panic attacks, racing images of the day, triggered by sounds, senses and sights can lead me into feeling out of control and right back in the space of near death. Another learning curve 4 years later when I had thought I had healed and moved passed the trauma of the day leading up to and the day of her birth. But again, as life has shown me, nothing is normal when you have a premature baby.

How do you cope when your memories are as vivid as the day they occurred?

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's a Preemie Thing!

I want to share this wonderful site developed by another preemie mommy.

When Katie was born, I had drawers full of newborn clothes, but never imagined I needed preemie clothes. I found it hard to find clothes for her petite 3 pounds size and when she came home at a hefty 5 pounds. Only a few stores in our area carried smaller sizes. I spent too much time searching out preemie clothes stores and when I did find a store, clothing options were limited.

It's a Preemie Thing was birthed to allow families to spend more time with their little ones than searching the web for speciality preemie items needed in the NICU and at home.

We want all the time we can have with our babes. Happy shopping!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Itsy Bitsy

My husband Kent barely survived the birth of our first child. I give him huge credit for being present when he wanted to pass out. We all have our thresholds and I respect childbirth as a low one for him. As beautiful as it is to bring new life into the world, it's messy. The anesthesiologist made it every clear there was not enough space in the operating room for a mother who was having complications, a premature baby and a father who was going to pass out. Someone needed to be with me, in seconds it was my mother.

I knew life was not going to be the same after this moment. It was more than a second child. It was a strange combination of anxiety, peace, hopefulness and uncertainty. I had no concept of what it meant to have a premature baby. What would it mean for me emotionally, physically and spiritually? What would it mean for my family?

I remember parts of the conversation with my doctor before going into the operating room, other parts were a blur. The physician listed off a long laundry list of "What Ifs" including telling my mom if they needed to save my life due to complications, they would ask her to leave the room. The uncertainty of how much blood I lost when I hemorrhaged and if my uterus would clamp off were unknowns in this equation. I know, a tad more information than you wanted to know, but hang in there with me.

I never had surgery before my C-section. My greatest fear of surgery was feeling the blade cut through my skin. Whether or not our fears are based in reality, they are our fears. Mine ended up being real.
Quickly prepped for surgery, my mom gowned up, I kissed my husband and headed into the OR all in a matter of minutes. I had never been in an OR before, the whiteness of it all and the coldness of the steel was shocking. It was chilly and people were busily moving about in controlled chaos. My fear and anxiety were increasing, my prayers getting stronger.

Out of nervousness my mom and I sang children's songs, "You Are My Sunshine", "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and flirted with the anesthesiologist. "I can do this, I can do this," I kept telling myself.

The notes from our songs flew around the room, connecting a group of people working and anxiously anticipating the arrival of a little girl.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

No Going Back

The neonatologist never made it down to see us. Instead we were surrounded by a multitude of nurses, my OB doctor and the anesthesiologist. I felt a gush and thought I was hemorrhaging again. It wasn't blood, but my water breaking.

Now there was no going back. There were no more wait and sees, no more guesses what the next few weeks of my pregnancy would hold for us. It was safer to have her out in the vulnerable world then it was to keep her in my womb. Time stopped. I wasn't ready but was forced to realize it wasn't about me.

A tornado of activity began prepping us for an emergency C-section. I have always heard if a physician needs to get a baby out quickly, they can do so. Thankfully her heart rate was still strong and she wasn't showing any signs of distress. Just her mother, father, grandma and uncle.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Maddie's Of The World

My daughter's journey through prematurity is sadly one of millions in the world. My experience is one of the reasons I am passionate about fighting to prevent prematurity. As time has gone on though, my reasons for advocacy have expanded. Prematurity now has many faces, many stories, many outcomes.

I fight for the Maddie's of the world who did not get the chance to feel the warm sun on their face while riding a bike in the park. Who's mother Heather did not get the chance to celebrate her daughter's sweet sixteen birthday and dress her up for prom. And who's father Mike did not get a chance to walk his beautiful girl down the isle on her wedding day.

When I feel the fight is too huge or I think my voice is not worth being heard, I re-read this post and remember who I am fighting for.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Story Problem

Remember story problems in school? I was horrible at solving them. Still am. What happened next was like a story problem similar to this: a car and a bus set out at 2 p.m. from the same point, headed in the same direction. The average speed of the car is 30 mph slower than twice the speed of the bus. In two hours, the car is 20 miles ahead of the bus. Find the rate of the car. It makes my head spin.  

I thought I was getting discharged home to bedrest. I had one of two steriod shots to help her lung development and was suppose to get another one before I left. A nurse came in and said that she thought I should call my husband because they were sending down a neonatologist to talk with us. I asked her what a "neo-something" was and she explained it was a specialty doctor for the baby. Alright I thought. Must be protocol in these situations but I was a tad suspicious that something wasn't right. I called Kent and told him he better come to the hospital because a "neo-something doctor" was going to talk to us. Believe it or not, it was the first time I was really concerned the story in my head was not going to be solved the way I originally thought.

Kent arrived and not long after, my mom and brother. Story problem: if a pregnant mother has hemorrhaged less than 24 hours ago and the baby is not due for another 9 weeks, when will the baby be born?