08 May 2011

The day I became a Mum...

Firstly, Happy Mother's Day to all my "Mummy" readers...I hope you've had a lovely day. We didn't have a great start to the day, someone collided into the front-end of our car this morning :(  Luckily no-one was hurt, but unfortunately our car has a little pringle in the right corner....other than that it's been a gorgeous crisp & sunny mountains day. We had a picnic lunch at the park (of course!) then coffee & cake at a cafe in Glenbrook.

This post was originally going to be about my 18-20 week scan which I'm going to on Wednesday, but then I thought why not write about the day I first became a Mum. It is quite long and descriptive as I wanted to try and remember everything that had happened, and its also been therapeutic.

I originally wrote down our story back in September 2010 after watching an episode of the SBS documentary "One born every minute" where parents were watching over their tiny miracles fighting for their lives inside a British hospital's NICU ward, this episode brought back lots of memories for my hubby and I as our little girl, who is now 28 months old, was born 11 weeks prematurely.

"Popette" (which was the nickname we gave our daughter when she was in my tummy) weighed a tiny 1.148kg. I wasn't booked in to have her until March 2009, but at 28 weeks gestation I was admitted to hospital with high blood pressure, and was bed ridden until she was born at 29+3 weeks gestation due to me developing severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome brought on by pregnancy-induced hypertension from polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Unfortunately I didn't get to have my little girl at the hospital of my choosing or by my OB, because there was no beds available in the NICU, so I had to be transferred  to another hospital and had an emergency ceaserean where she was delivered by a Dr I didn't know.

When she was pulled out of my tummy, all I saw was a tiny little baby lifted over the top of my head and given to the NICU staff who patiently waiting behind us. My hubby quickly took some photos and was able to cut the umbilical cord. During this time all I wanted to know was, "Is it a boy or a girl", finally my hubby told me it was a girl and I cried tears of joy. The Drs didn't say a word to me. The NICU staff whisked my baby away, and the Drs quickly sewed me back up.

I was then whisked away to recovery for over 2 hours, and leaving my hubby waiting anxiously in a waiting area with my parents for what seemed like forever. They sat and waited patiently for a nurse to give my hubby an update on how his two girls were.

Afterwards I was moved to Acute care, which consisted of a small room in the ICU where I was monitored for 24 hours by a nurse. I was hooked up to several machines, one an automated blood pressure machine that took my blood pressure (b/p) every 30 minutes, a drip containing magnesium sulfate to reduce the risk of me going into seizures or full-blown eclampsia, a cathata, and of course the epidural, which made me believe that I wouldn't be able to walk again and which I wanted them to get rid of immediately!

That evening I was given a Polaroid photo of my little girl, her first photo, which we stuck onto the bed so I could see it. When I couldn't sleep I would turn the light on and stare at my new baby who still didn't have a name or who I hadn't seen.

My first photo of Popette

27 hours later I was finally moved into a private room in the maternity ward. It was so hard being in maternity without my baby. From my room I would hear the newborns crying, or see people visiting the proud new parents and their baby...unfortunately my hubby and I didn't have that same joyous experience. While we had our families visit, and a couple of rele's and close friends drop in to see us, it wasn't the same joyous experience as those parents in the rooms near mine were experiencing. While we were happy that we had a gorgeous little girl, we feared that she may not come home with us.

My first time visiting Popette

Popette holding Daddy's little finger....
at 9 days old my hubby's wedding ring was worn by Popette as a bracelet.

My hubby visited me in hospital everyday where he spent hours on end with me, even when I had the worst migraines and needed to sleep, he sat their quietly reading his book. I didn't realise how tired it made him coming and seeing me everyday, and that he wasn't getting much sleep at home as he was so worried about me, and later, both me and our daughter.

The day I was sent home from hospital was the hardest, I just didn't want to leave our daughter. I contemplated staying close by in a hostel so I could be close to her, but also wanted to be with my husband. In the end my husband said that he would drive me "any time of day or night" when I wanted to visit her, and that he could look after me much better at home than staying at a hostel.

The first night I was home I cried for hours. I think the trauma from being in hospital at 28 weeks gestation, then having the emergency ceasar at 29 weeks gestation finally got to me....it was the worst thing I had ever experienced and couldn't believe the pain I was feeling. My hubby was my shoulder to cry on. He too cried some tears, but couldn't say enough to stop mine. I wasn't only crying because I was home and she was still in the hospital, but for the time I was away from my hubby and dog for 2 weeks (who were my world before she was born).

At the time of my breakdown I had become delusional due to not enough sleep. I wasn't believing things that nurses were telling me. I kept laughing when I should have been crying...I think hubby knew I was going through it tough, but didn't realise it until I broke down in tears. While in hospital I hardly had any sleep as nurses were taking my b/p every 2-3 hours, then a couple days after my daughter was born they got me to start expressing milk every 3 hours as well as take my b/p.

We spent many hours sitting by our little girls beside watching her sleep and listening to the different alarms going off, wondering if she was alright. Seeing the tiny little cords and tubes connected to her would upset us and make us wonder why it had to happen to us.

Popette being treated for jaundice

We were lucky, she wasn't on a ventilator for very long only 40 minutes after she was delivered, and spent four days on CPAP. She didn't have anything wrong with her apart from being out in the big wide world too early. All the nurses would say "she's just a premmie growing up".

There were days where we'd sit next to her reading "Winnie-the-Pooh" stories, or would just cuff her head in our hands and tell her that it was alright and that "Mummy and Daddy was here", my hubby and I found it hard saying goodbye and leaving her every day.

Sometimes when I would visit, I'd sit next to her and express milk, so not to waste the precious time I was there. But then there were times I would feel guilty if I didn't stay that long, and wanted to go home. I'd always return at night with Daddy to see our little angel again. When she was still in the humidicrib we could only hold her when it was time to do her 'cares' - changing her nappy, taking her temperature or bathing her, which was 3 times a day, so whenever we were running late and missed 'cares' as the nurses had already taken care of it, was hard for us.

Our darling girl finally came home at 36 weeks gestation, she was in hospital for a total of 50 days. She was still so tiny, only 2kgs, especially in the new car seat we had fitted the day before. As she was so small my hubby had trouble strapping her into the car seat, and was scared that she'd fall out so I sat in the back with her holding her hand.

When we finally got her home we laid her in her new bassinet in her room, then after a while, moved her out to the lounge room so we could keep an eye on her and be close to her. We kept looking at her in amazement, saying "I can't believe she's ours".

Finally at home in her brand new bassinet
It's hard to believe that was 28 months ago, and that we are now having our second baby. We're hoping that this baby will be born big and healthy, and at full-term. I missed out on my 3rd trimester with Popette so hopefully I'll get to the end of the 3rd trimester this time round.

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