Monday, August 17, 2009


After my daughter was born, she had to spend a few days in the NICU. It was one of the most difficult times of my life. It was hard to see my little baby in the ICU connected to all of those machines, and I felt so utterly helpless and inadequate. There was nothing I could do to help her, I just had to wait for her to get better on her own. The worst part was that my husband just refused to go see her in the NICU. I think it was too hard for him, he couldn't handle it. I faithfully showed up every 3 hours where the nurses would help me try and feed her with a bottle. My milk hadn't come in and she needed badly to gain weight, so there went my hopes of a smooth start to breastfeeding. Even with the bottle, she was so weak she would barely eat anything before passing out. They kept her on IV nutrition for the first couple of days.

Once she started eating, things got better quickly. They took out her IV. She was able to maintain her blood sugar and her temperature. The NICU staff was very optimistic and ready to discharge her when she came down with jaundice (which apparently is quite common in preemies). They kept her an extra day and put her under the light. Once the jaundice was gone, they did another thorough check up and discovered that she had a heart murmur. So a cardiologist was brought in for a consult. After doing a sonogram on her heart, the cardiologist told me that she has a hole in her heart. At this point, my heart dropped, time seemed to have stopped and I was about to pass out. The cardiologist noticing this, proceeded to tell me that she is still considered perfectly healthy and in all likelihood the hole will close in a couple of month and it is not a cause for concern! I'm not sure how I started to breath again, but somehow I managed to get myself outside where I had a good cry. All I could think about was that my baby had a hole in her heart! And it was somehow my fault! I was totally and completely irrational.

Anyway, my baby was released from NICU the following day. I still couldn't believe they were letting us take that tiny little baby home with us. How were we going to care for her? In addition, my support system had totally fallen through. My Mom was very ill (arthritis, I thought - more on that later) and couldn't help out. My mother-in-law had saved her one week of vacation for the time that I was actually due and couldn't help us then. So it was just the two of us.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Birth Story

It all started on a Saturday night. It was the night before Easter Sunday and I was at a party at my cousin's house with friends and family talking about my impending baby shower. The baby shower was scheduled for the following weekend. I told everyone that I had a hunch that I wouldn't make it to my baby shower and will give birth before then. They all laughed it off.

Well, that night around 1:00 a.m. when I was laying in bed, all of a sudden I felt all wet down there. I got up and rushed to the bathroom not knowing what to expect, thinking that I may be bleeding only to see and feel lots of water gushing out! I was in complete shock! There were no contractions! No pain! Nothing but lots and lots of water coming out of me. My husband was still awake working on his computer. I came out of the bathroom and announced that my water had broke and we most likely will have to go to the hospital. Then I called my OB's answering service and waited for him to call. While I was sitting on the bed waiting for the call, I felt my bed getting wet, even though I was wearing double pads and underwear and Jeans. At that time, I told my husband, let's just go to the hospital. So we were in the car, when the OB called back and told us to go to the hospital and he'll meet us there. I quickly called my parents house to tell them what's going on. They thought I was kidding at first, since they had just seen me a few hours ago and there were no signs of labor, but when I started crying they believed me. I told them that I will update them when I get to the hospital and I know more.

So we got to the ER, and they sent us directly to labor and delivery to get checked in. The nurses were so calm taking their time getting my information, weighing me, etc. And this whole time, I was terrified and visibly shaking. I was so not ready for this! We hadn't painted the nursery or assembled the crib or anything.

Finally, after what seemed like a very long time, my OB came and examined me. Yes, indeed the water had broken, and no I was not dilated at all. The cervix was closed! They put the fetal heart monitor on me and started me on IV antibiotics. The doctor said that since I'm 35 weeks along if labor were to start they wouldn't stop it, but they would like to keep the baby in there as long as possible as long as I don't show any signs of an infection (which sometimes happens when the water breaks early). Basically, I would have to stay on bedrest until I go into labor, it could be a few hours or a few days. But one thing was for sure, I wasn't leaving the hospital until I had given birth. I was somewhat relieved that I wasn't having a C-section that night. I thought since my water had broken and I had no contractions, they would have to perform a C-section.

Anyway, my contractions started around noon on Sunday, but they were very mild and hours apart. Again we waited as I was constantly monitored for fever and signs of infection and laying there listening to the fetal heart monitor. On Sunday afternoon my Mom and my sister came to stay with me while my husband went home to quickly clean out the baby's room and put together the essentials.

This went on for another day. On Monday morning, I had a mild fever. My OB said that if it doesn't clear by the afternoon they would induce labor. I asked about the risks to the baby, he said the baby should be fine, but he'd ask the neonatologist on staff to come and talk to me about that. The first question the neonatologist asked me was whether I knew the sex of the baby. When I said I'm expecting a girl. She expressed relief and said that baby girls are usually more mature and this stage and have less of a chance of developing complications. Anyway, she went over the risks of delivering vs risks of possible infection if we waited any longer. After talking to her, it was clear to us that we were having the baby that day. So finally, since my fever didn't clear at around 4:00 p.m. the OB started inducing labor by using the vaginal gel. At that time, I asked him when I can get the Epidural injection and he (the sweet man that he is) said that I could get it whenever I wanted. He said that just bear in mind that it will slow down labor if you get it too early but it is totally up to you.

Around 8:00 p.m I couldn't take the pain anymore and asked for the epidural (I was only 1.5 cm dilated). So the anesthesiologist came in and asked me to sit with my back curved towards him so that he can give me the shot. I had heard horror stories about the epidural injection and had prepared myself for the worst, but the doctor was so skilled at it that all I felt was a little pinch from the local anesthetic that he gave me. Almost immediately the contraction pain got less intense and within 10 minutes the pain seem to have completed gone away. The nurse told me that I should try and get some rest now before the labor starts.

I actually managed to sleep for a couple of hours I think which was great. By 10:00 p.m, I was fully dilated and felt a strong urge to push. That's when the real labor started. The nurse coached me as my sister and my husband were holding my hands on how to push and how to breath through the contractions. I pushed for two hours and I was exhausted, specially since they had me on a liquid diet for the past 24 hours (just in case I needed emergency surgery) and since I was diabetic that meant only broth and sugar free jello. I had no energy left.

The OB at this point recommended putting Pitocin in my IV to speed up the labor. So I pushed for another two hours. Finally, I was ready to give up (but didn't want to have a C-section either), I told the OB that I have such low blood sugar that if I close my eyes I will pass out. So she sent the nurse to get me some apple juice. I drank the juice and pushed with everything I had and closed my eyes. The nurses said, open your eyes, your baby's here. And there she was around 2:00 a.m. she made her entrance into this world! Unbelievable! The neonatal team took her away to examine her and that's when I heard her cry. It was surreal! They brought her back and put her in my arms. She opened her eyes and looked at me, seeming to say "Who are you?". It was incredible. I had her for a few minutes, and then they took her away to NICU to get her on IV antibiotics. The OB finished delivering the placenta and stitching me up (I had some minor tearing) and we were allowed to go and see our baby in NICU. It was heart-wrenching seeing that tiny baby (5 lb 6 oz) with two IV lines (one for meds the other for food) and hooked up to all these machines that were monitoring her heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. They told me that the baby had low blood sugar and they had to give her IV nutrition. I was like, no kidding! I had low blood sugar, since you hadn't fed us for the past 30 hours.

My husband and I went back to my room exhausted both physically and emotionally. There we were, parents at last!

Friday, August 7, 2009

I'm Still Here!

I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted. For sure, I have lost most of my readership by now. But for those of you who haven't given up on me. I'm alive and so is my baby girl. She is 3.5 months now. She was born early at 35 weeks. I will do another post on the birth story.

My life has been so busy beyond belief and I've had so much going on, I haven't really had a chance to post anything. However, last night (or early this morning I should say) around 2:00 a.m. The baby was fussy and I got hysterical and started crying and couldn't stop. My husband had to take the baby away and give me a sedative for me to calm down. This morning while driving to work, I contemplated my break down and realized I so badly need an outlet. I need to talk to you ladies who have supported me so fully throughout my journey.

I will write more and bring you up to speed as to what's been going on with me later. I just wanted to let you know that I'm back and I intend to stay.