Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Our baby is here!

She is my heart. She's so beautiful and sweet. She was born November 28th at 10:13 a.m. and weighed 6 lbs, 14 oz. A big girl compared to the other babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU).

We had a lot of problems since I last posted...I spent 10 days on bedrest and in the hospital because my amniotic fluid kept dropping no matter how much Evian I forced down. I was in the hospital for Thanksgiving and for my birthday, so that was a little sad! But my darling husband brought me a carryout Thanksgiving meal from a local restaurant, so it was not that bad. Madelyn is worth anything!

The danger with low amniotic fluid is that without a lot of fluid to float in, the baby might get tangled in the umbilical cord and strangle, so they put me on IV fluids and kept the baby monitor on us a lot. Madelyn sailed right through...her heart rate was always good.

But, between low amniotic fluid and gestational diabetes, my wonderful OB finally decided we could wait no longer, and Madelyn seemed good-sized. They measured her at 5 lbs 14 oz and she came out a pound heavier, so it shows that those ultrasounds aren't always accurate. Yet my OB said there was hardly any fluid when they delivered Madelyn by c-section, so we made the right decision to let her be born early. Madelyn had no premie issues at all even though she only got a 7 on her Apgar. (My OB said the neonatologists were being "stingy.")

I was very afraid of the c-section and the needles in my back for the spinal...and wouldn't you know it, the spinal didn't work at all! About 15 minutes after it was administered I could still wiggle my toes and feel them sticking me with pointy things, and the anesthesiologist said she never tries twice, so I had to be put under. They kicked my husband out, and he was so disappointed because that meant he wasn't there for the birth of either of his babies. But the operation went fine and I was awake and talking in full sentences and looking at the digital camera within 5 minutes of them finishing. The OB said, "We pumped you full of stuff and could hardly keep you wanted to see your baby!" I told her it was my Irish liver. :D

I got to see and touch my sweetie just once after the birth, when they wheeled her out for transport to the Children's hospital NICU. I sent my parents and my husband with her and dozed the afternoon away with my morphine drip, but by 6 p.m. they took out my catheter and hoisted me into a wheelchair, and then my parents and my husband somehow got me downstairs and into and out of a car so I could go see her. She could not be picked up but I got to hug her and touch her. I cried of course, and I only lasted 45 minutes before the pain and sleepiness got to me, but I did get to see and touch her the same day she was born.

I spent 3 days in the hospital after surgery, and got to see her each day, and I've been to the hospital every day since then for at least half the day. I have been able to pick her up since a couple of days after her birth and have even breastfed a bit, though my milk is slow in coming in (they say that is common after a c-section and when your baby isn't with you to stimulate breasts and hormones). And just as I wrote, that moment when I could lift her to me and kiss her sweet head was the most perfect moment of my life. I can't believe I wasted one instant worrying that I would not love my baby! She's mine, and I love her more than anything. It's a tidal wave of didn't grow filled me in a rush that was both sweet and painful.

Madelyn had her back closure surgery and her shunt put in, and she did perfectly fine for both surgeries. The opening in her spine was very small and she moves her legs vigorously, and her hydrocephalus was so mild they waited over a week before deciding she did need the shunt. The only big setback we've had is that right after her birth, she was able to void urine on her own and we were ecstatic...but after her back closure she totally lost that ability and now has to be catheterized every 3 hours. We have learned to do it although it scares me -- I'm afraid I'll hurt her though the nurses say it's impossible -- and I'll do anything I have to for my sweet girl.

Last night my husband's mother got out some old albums of him as a baby and it is Madelyn's face in those 41-year-old pictures! She is such a pretty little baby, though my husband said, "I hope she doesn't look exactly like me. I'd make a really ugly woman."

Unfortunately my breastfeeding hasn't gone so well...I can only produce about 2 ounces a pump. But my baby is a champ...if there's food in it, she doesn't care if it's breast or bottle, Isomil or Mommy milk.

Right now, I have to go to Bethesda hospital because I've gotten a high fever and need some antibiotics. I'm crushed I can't see my girlie for a couple of days...but of course I need to protect her. More after I bring her home, and Love to all who are still interested in our story.

We have truly had a "happy beginning"...not an's a new life for Madelyn and me, and her father and brother too.