I haven’t blogged in forever and it is mostly because I badly injured my wrist last fall and since then have had surgery and a ton of pain. I’m slowly starting to type more and I hope to get this blog going again shortly. Wrist injury or not though, I had to blog about something special this week.
This is a VERY special week because my little Katherine turns four. I’ve been so full of emotion as I can’t help but reflect on every aspect of her little life. I remember it as if it happened yesterday, yet there are some things that seem quite distant as well.
I can say that we’ve been blessed to the point where she hasn’t gotten sick often in her toddler years. We’ve struggled with growth and developmental skills but overall she is amazing. She has always tested ahead of her actual age group with speech and cognitive skills.
The past six months she has grown to be in the 55th percentile for everything. Recently physical, and occupational therapy appointments have been cut to a minimal schedule because she is doing so well. The only rule from the docs and therapists is that she has to stay very active in her ballet school.
While I missed out on what should have been a fun first year of marriage, a normal pregnancy, delivery, and infancy, I found that we grew as a family more than I ever thought possible. I also grew so much in my faith. Nothing like a situation like this to bring you even closer to God and to teach you what faith is all about. I’m not perfect by any means but I try harder than I ever have before to grow. I think maybe at times I would almost find myself too busy it seemed to take the time out for that growth (spiritual, emotional, and in relationships). Being put flat on your back and pretty much locked in a room…it has a way of getting your attention focused to where it should be.
I look at Katherine and I am amazed by her and when I see her running around, I am moved by God’s grace and love. God gave me a wonderful gift through the birth experience of Katherine. Yes I have a beautiful angel of a daughter, but I have a living reminder that miracles do exist. How blessed am I?! How can I doubt the impossible? Any time I start to question or waiver, I just have to look into the eyes of my daughter. What an amazing gift she is. When I see her eyes light up as she tells me about all the different colored sparkles on her shoes, I think about when they told us that if she lived to 23 weeks, she’d probably be blind. When she listens to the birds in the morning and tries to mimic their songs, I think of when they told us she’d probably be deaf. And when I see her dance ballet and try her best to point her toes, I think of them telling us she’d probably have severe cerebral palsy. She has recently tried to learn how to swim so that she could have a mermaid birthday party. She keeps learning new things daily.
God has done great things in our life. I thank Him for both the gift of our daughter, and even though it felt like the worst thing in the world, I’ve now come to the place in my life, where I can thank God for the experience. I promised God that I would forever tell of the miracle he gave us. When I’m ninety, I’ll still be sharing about the goodness God showed with her birth. 🙂
I’ll probably end up tearing up at her birthday as I always have. I’ve found though that the tears have changed from tears of happiness mixed with tears over grieving normalcy, to tears of joy and thankfulness.
I am so proud of everything she is becoming.
Thank you Katherine for making me a mommy! You are my favorite oldest daughter! 😉
Happy Birthday to: Mommy’s Kat
Happy Birthday to: Daddy’s Monkey
Happy Birthday to: Juju’s Katy
Happy Birthday to: The NICU’s Squeaker-Bean
A Copy Of Her birth story (Most of you have probably heard the detailed story but I figured I’d attach it anyway for my new readers.) ~
First Family Photo While Holding Her
On May 21st, 2008, my life changed forever. I had been reassured over and over by my doctor that my pregnancy was fine but upon getting a second opinion to ease the fears of my family, found out that both my daughter and I had a life threatening condition. I had packed my lunch in preparation to go to work that day, and had driven myself to the doctor because I was certain nothing was wrong. I was told I couldn’t leave for home, and had to immediately report to the hospital. I didn’t fully grasp the gravity of the situation and was frankly stunned. I remember so vividly the doctor telling me that I had a complete anterior previa, two large blood clots under the placenta (and a tiny third one) that could cause abruption at any time, and I was in pre-term labor. I think it started to sink in a bit when I arrived at the hospital and wasn’t allowed to stand to even sign the forms. I was forced to a wheelchair and then to a bed where I was confined till delivery. I remember the doctor handing me a packet entitled, “Babies Born Before 23 Weeks.” I still have that packet tucked away in a box. I remembering being like a stone as he told me that the perinatologists had sent him to talk with me, because they were about 95% sure my baby would be born before 23 weeks. He wanted Chris and I to tell him whether we wanted him to try to resuscitate her or not…so there wouldn’t be any confusion at delivery. He wanted the form by the next morning… He told us that they would just wrap her up and put her in our arms to hold till she passed.
I remember crumbling into my mother’s arms when he left the room. Luckily she happened to be visiting me at the time. Chris hadn’t been there to hear the news so I had to break it to him on my own. I vividly remember cuddling with him in my hospital bed that night…praying…pleading with God. We had made an impossible decision.
Each day, each hour almost…I waited for that moment to come where we’d probably say goodbye to our little one. I tried to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. God had other plans though. I remember waking up the morning of the start of my 23rd week with the old hymn “Peace, Peace” in my head. It was a song that was sung to me as a child. From that moment on, I knew no matter what happened, everything would be okay.
Days passed, so did weeks, …and eventually a couple of months. I did magnesium treatments over and over and was constantly in non-stress tests and biophysical profile tests because she wasn’t doing well in her “hostile environment” as the docs put it. They told me every day that they didn’t know when they’d have to “take her” in order to save her life.
I remember the hours leading to her birth. The nurse was doing a non stress test and Katherine went off the monitor as usual. She didn’t rush back to get her on again because this was a daily habit of our little munchkin. When the nurse finally came into my room to find her heart rate, we were chatting and she seemed to be taking a long time finding the rate. She would take my pulse and then look at the monitor…back and forth. She kept talking to me but then looked up at the wall above my bed and pushed the code button. Within seconds it seemed, about twenty doctors and nurses were in my room. I had oxygen, lines being started, they stripped off my pajamas in prep for surgery, and they called the OR, and I remember just laying there silently. It was one of those moments when you swallow hard and know in your mind that the events to follow are not going to be good at all. I was completely alone at the hospital…it was so fast that no one could even be called. It was just me and my faith…
At two months
Finally on our way to the OR, they found her heart rate and it was 40-60 bpm rather than the usual 120. They chose to wait one more minute and we sat, her heart rate came back to normal. The doctors kept me in the room by the OR because they felt she was going to be born that day. Chris arrived and we found I was starting labor on my own. They tried magnesium again but this time it didn’t work. I went to toxic levels and Katherine was doing poorly on the monitor. The amniotic fluid had dropped and she only had one pocket of fluid left (I didn’t know it has leaked). I asked to be taken off of the medications since labor wasn’t stopping. As soon as the pulled the drugs, almost miraculously, my labor seemed to stop, and Katherine seemed to improve. I remember thinking that we had dodged it again!
The nurse was confused and let me eat even though I found out I wasn’t supposed to. I guess the peri was afraid I’d eat and then they’d have to do surgery. As soon as I finished my dinner, labor started again and it was not stopping. I had had about two hours of a break. The doctor asked me if I had eaten anything and I replied, “Only a Chipoltle burrito”. He didn’t seem too happy. 🙂 Hey, I hadn’t eaten in two days by this point! The anesthesiologist was looking for any good vein but because I had been stuck so many times, I didn’t really have anything left to choose from. He ended up putting a large IV in the underside of my wrist and told me my only job was to make sure I didn’t move my arm because if that IV blew, he’d have to put one in my neck.
The baby was coming fast and because of the previa, there was no time to wait. The nurses came in and started stripping my clothes and prepping me to go back for surgery. The doctor, whom everyone told me was the best I could have, had a very concerned look on his face. This didn’t help my nerves at all.
I had been in so much pain, for so long (37 hours labor), I was relieved at the prospect of no pain. I was confused and scared out of my mind. I knew that delivery was supposed to be very dangerous with my previa because it was anterior (in the front). I remember asking a nurse if there was some other way and she said, “Sweetie, babies are only born two ways and one of those ways is not an option for you…so nope…sorry.” 🙂 All of a sudden her heart rate was lost again and before I could almost blink, I was back in the OR.
I remember thinking that we were going to die and it freaked me out a bit. I tried to be brave and eventually calmed down. Everything was such a blur and it all moves so fast during an emergency. I was aware of when they started the surgery but by the time they delivered her I had hemorrhaged so bad that I don’t remember seeing her in the OR. They had to cut through the placenta to get her out. Chris went with Katherine to the NICU. I remember the anesthesiologist saying to me that they couldn’t stop the bleeding and that they were going to give me meds to go to sleep. I remember simply saying, “Okay”. And again, it was just me and my faith…
The next thing I knew, two more hours had passed and I was waking up on the operating table. I woke up and said, “Looks like a war went on in here but I’m the only one that got hurt!” Gotta love morphine! The doctors didn’t want my family seeing me that night because I was too critical but I had to see my mom. I remember drunk dialing everyone on my phone and telling them that I had, had the most beautiful baby girl in the world. They asked me what she looked like and I said, “I don’t know, I haven’t seen her yet.”
Chris said I cried in and out of my sleep that night saying that “they” had “taken my baby”. The next morning I struggled to make my toes wiggle enough so I could go in the wheelchair to the NICU. It wasn’t till that night that I got to go. I remember him wheeling me up to her bed and showing me my daughter for the first time. He could have told me that any of the babies there were mine because I had no idea what she looked like. 🙂 I remember looking down at her and though she wasn’t the typical picture of newborn beauty, she was the most gorgeous thing I had ever seen.
Her NICU stay was plagued with a lot of issues where at times, we were once again told that she might not make it. We had both lost a ton of blood and then she developed NEC, sepsis from group b strep, and many other things. Yet she proved she was still a fighter and blew our minds in her recovery.
We brought her home when she was four pounds, and that day was one of the happiest days of my life.