our lives completely changed on a tuesday. june 24th we welcomed our sweet baby girl to our family. everything started the day before. just a normal monday....
i had just returned from a trip to utah for work and to visit family. a couple of weeks before my feet, hands and face started swelling. my dr wasn't too worried about the swelling but noticed my blood pressure was a little high at my previous appointment. i honestly didn't think too much about it.
monday june 23rd i woke up and planned to get to work early. as it turns out i wasn't feeling so great. i worked from home for a bit and headed downtown when i started feeling better. i decided to drive. i had big plans to clean out my office and get prepared "just in case" baby decided to come a little early. haha
i had my normal 35 week drs appointment scheduled for 1:30pm. spence was able to get an hour lunch break so we decided to do a quick lunch before my appointment. i took my time getting to my appointment because last time i rushed and i had the high blood pressure. i was trying to avoid that scare (haha). i met up with spence and we grabbed a quick lunch at the hospital (luckily the hospital has a pretty great italian lunch spot that is great...my last meal for a long time). spence didn't have a ton of time but decided to come up with me to my dr.'s appointment. at least to hear baby girls heartbeat. looking back now this was a little blessing that he was able to come with me.
we got in pretty fast and the nurse took my urine sample (tmi???) and my blood pressure. it quickly became clear to us that she wasn't happy with my results. she rushed out and told us the dr would be in soon. my normal dr was on vacation in italy (so jealous) but luckily for us our favorite back up was available! dr chaudhari came in just a few mins later. she was worried about my high blood pressure and the protein in my urine. both signs of preeclampsia.
some background....my mom had preeclampsia with my brother. it can sometimes run in a family so it had been in the back of my mind my entire pregnancy. when i started swelling up and gaining weight like crazy i started to think this might be an issue for me.
we asked dr. chaudhari what this all meant. basically we were to go to triage and get monitored. depending on how things looked we could have our baby in 24-48 hours. honestly i felt fine. i really didn't expect us to have our baby girl. plus we were so not ready...our house was a mess, we didn't have hospital bags packed, we didn't even have a carseat (which ironically was our family home evening activity scheduled for that night). basically we were not ready for baby girl. i still had 5 weeks (at least).
on our short walk to triage i turned to spence and asked him if he really thought it was possible for us to have a baby in the next 24 hours. his response...."yeah i think it's a good possibility". mine...."yeah right".
to make a long story not as long we spent the next 7 hours in triage. my blood pressure was checked every 15 mins (i'm surprised i still have an arm after all of that) and baby girl was monitored. luckily she was doing great. me on the other hand not so great. they officially told me i had preeclampsia with severe features. basically things were not getting better. i honestly felt great though. i just wanted to go home, pack my hospital bags, stop at target and pick up some diapers and then go back. apparently the dr.'s didn't feel the same way.
while in triage our sweet bishop came down to visit and he and spence gave me the most beautiful blessing. even though the situation was not great i was filled with the calm assurance that everything would be okay. at this point I knew our little girl was coming and that she would be okay.
they finally decided to take us up to labor and delivery. at this point my mom had booked a flight and was on her way to chicago. the dr came in and quickly decided that baby girl needed to come out. we were so not prepared for this. i had big plans to have a natural birth. we had bigger plans to be prepared haha!
at this point both of our phones were basically dead. spence was still in his scrubs and white coat and i had left our car at work. our good friends came to our rescue. they brought us phone chargers, a hair tie (my hair was driving me nuts), and picked up our car. what a blessing having friends that are basically family to come to our rescue (thanks david and katie!).
we settled in for a long night of labor. i was scared to have them induce me. i had heard stories of how intense the process was and the pain involved. because of my high blood pressure i was put on medicine to avoid seizures. the meds were so intense that i was put on bed rest. this meant every "comfort measure" i had planned on went out the door.
they started me on oxytocin about 10pm on monday night. it honestly wasn't as bad as i expected.
my mom made it to the hospital around 12:30am. i had started progressing but just slowly. we spent the next few hours just passing the time. i tried to sleep but of course couldn't sleep. my nurse finally came in and told me they were going to break my water. at this point i decided to get an epidural. my contractions we getting more intense but honestly i was more afraid of having my water break without it.
i got the epidural and they broke my water and at this point i was only at a 3. i think this was around 5am. honestly time didn't really exist for me. they came in to check me again around 7am and i was only at a 3.5. i asked the nurses how long it could take and they said maybe by late afternoon. i so did not what to be in labor that long.
shortly after though i started to feel some intense pain. i had the urge to push and decided to call my nurses back in. of course they thought i was a little crazy and told me that if the pressure was constant to call them again.
after about 3 more minutes i couldn't take it. the pressure was intense and constant. i called them back. they called the resident in and sure enough i had gone from a 3.5 to a 10 in just a short time. i was ready to push.
pushing was nothing like i expected. i guess i didn't know what to expect but it was hard, intense and wonderful. i felt so much more than i expected to feel with the epidural. my wonderful nurse counted me through each contraction. because of her i was able to stay calm and push my little bug out.
after about 20 mins of pushing baby girl came right out! the nicu team was in there ready to check her out. i had wanted to do skin to skin but because of how early she was and her size they needed to take her first.
i remember just watching them on the side of the room with my baby girl. she finally started crying and so did i. spence and i just watched as they checked her out. i sat there just waiting to hear how big she was. finally they wrapped her up and brought her over to us. i was able to hold her for just a few mins. she was so tiny and so perfect. i couldn't believe our sweet baby girl was in my arms. they finally told us she was 4 pounds 8 ounces. i couldn't believe our gwen was so little but so perfect.
we could only hold her for just a few minutes. they were worried about her breathing and needed to get her to the nicu. because of all the medicine they had me on i was kinda out of it. i didn't really know what was going on as they took her away.
finally spence got word that she only had to have help breathing for 10 mins. her little lungs were doing great!
because of how sudden everything had happened we didn't have anything with us (expect two borrowed phone chargers). after all day monday in triage and labor all night i felt like a mess. i wanted a shower to wash my hair. sadly i couldn't shower because of the meds and everything else that had happened. but, my two sweet nurses figured out a way to wash my hair. they wheeled me into the bathroom and together washed my hair for me. they combed it out after and helped me brush my teeth before heading up to the recovery room. i am so grateful for my incredible nurses who would take the time to wash my hair for me! it made me feel so much more alive and normal!
we were able to stop in the nicu on our way up to recovery to see baby girl one more time. i didn't have a ton of time with her but it was such a miracle looking at our tiny bean! we were both completely in love with her from the first second.
i had to stay on the meds for the next 24 hours. this meant i wasn't allowed to get out of bed. because of this i couldn't see my sweet baby girl again. she was on a floor down in the nicu and i was stuck in bed. the next 24 hours were some of the hardest i've had to experience. with a little scare because of a
hemorrhage (long story.....we'll go there another time) i was watched even more closely and they made sure i didn't leave my bed...ugh!
spence and my mom were able to go down and be with gwen which made me feel a little better. luckily i had some more incredible nurses who watched out for me and hung out with me during those long hours.
finally i was able to get off the meds, stand up, shower, eat and see my baby girl!
we spent the next two days going between my recovery room for my blood pressure checks and pumping sessions (oh the joys) and visiting gwen in the nicu. we had big hopes that she would be able to go home with us but sadly our little one needed more time in the nicu. i was discharged late thursday night (you know i stayed till the very last minute!)
baby girl spent the next 11 days in the nicu. it was a long couple of weeks but also pretty amazing. we had some of the most spiritual moments in our little nicu room. the spirit was so strong in her room. we knew she was never truly alone when we weren't there to cuddle her. gwen needed to come when she did and she made it clear she was going to be okay for us :-)
in just a matter of a day our life changed completely. gwen became the most important thing to us. my job didn't matter anymore, school didn't matter anymore. it was all about our baby girl and making sure she was okay. (and luckily both my job and the mr's school felt the same way and were SO great to us in letting us just be with gwen).
the past 2 and a half weeks have been completely life changing and beautiful. i can't imagine my life without gwen. she is our family. she is our little fighter and all star. she was the most popular little bug in the nicu and honestly couldn't be more perfect.
so our life changed on a tuesday and we couldn't imagine it any other way!
thanks to the amazingly talented amy jo for capturing some of our first moments with gwen. these pictures mean more than you can ever imagine!