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?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Avoidance of Words

I have struggled to write this post for a while now. I started it a million times only to rewrite it a million more, closing the post paragraph to avoid it. It is one thing to remember something in your head but I am finding it another to see it in words.Yet the words are helping me tell our story if not for the sake of Katie, but in hopes of building a supportive network for others across the world who are traveling similar paths.

We are one family, and know we are incredibly blessed to have a spirited child who survived being born 9 weeks early. But others do not have their sweet one to hold in their arms like we do. Some children and families are experiencing a whole array of hardships because their babe was born too early. Mothers just like me have done everything right in their pregnancy but still had to experience the pain of not going home from the hospital with their baby.

I can now say having a premature baby and almost losing my life was one of the best and at the same time the worst things to have ever happened to me. What a dichotomy and a genuine wake up call most people never experience in their life.

My father taught us it didn't matter how hard you fell, but how well you got up. And now I was being tested with how well I was going to listen to my father's words.

It was now early morning and I was wide awake. Angela, my angel nurse and I talked about our families, dreams, funny stories we remembered about our crazy Italian family and my fears. She held my hand, comforted me when I was overwhelmed from the day and educated me about what she saw on the monitors.

Kent left to go home to get sleep. He worked night shifts in Alaska and did not sleep much before he got the call to hurry home. We figured one of us needed rest in order to face the next day. We had no idea what it would bring but knew bed rest was part of the equation.

The hosptial was still, the night dark and I was alone with my thoughts. The sound of her heartbeat finally lulled me to sleep. I slept for a few hours and awoke with anxiousness to learn when I could go home. What transpired throughout the next few hours changed the course of my pregnancy, my heart and my life.

I wasn't prepared to have a premature baby and I certainly wasn't prepared to almost die.