Saturday, June 4, 2011

Isabelle's birth

Isabelle is here!!
Isabelle shortly after the delivery.  She is very swollen!
Mommy and Isabelle before she is transported.
Monday, May 23rd, was a whirlwind.  I went to work for about 45 minutes to get as much work done as I possibly could because I had a feeling I would not be returning for 6 weeks.  At 9am, I went to my doctor's appointment for my 38 week check up and found out that I was almost 7 cm.  I thought I was so ready to hear that today was the day we will meet Isabelle but when I heard those words, I began to panic.  I was told that I needed to go straight to the hospital.  I began to make my calls to Ryan and my Mom to get to the hospital quickly.  I didn't want to be by myself for long.  I walked into the hospital alone but the nurses quickly made me feel welcome and took great care of me.  I was set up by 10:30am and found out that we would start pitocin to get things moving a bit faster.  Even at 7cm, I was walking around town like normal (well, I did have a slight waddle).  I really don't think my body knows how to go into labor on its own. 
By 12:30, I had the epidural and at 1:30 Isabelle was here!  That was one quick delivery.  Needless to say, the epidural didn't have time to fully kick in but I survived.  She weighed 8lbs. 15 ozs. and was 20 1/4ins. long  She definitely didn't want to be left out so she had follow in her brother's footsteps by being big!
Ethan didn't know what to think about his sister hooked up to all of the wires.
 My emotions were raw after the delivery.  I cried uncontrollably as they placed her on my chest.  I already loved her so much but I was so scared.  There was no more denying anything.  Isabelle was here and she is mine.  I knew from the moment she was placed in my arms that the doctors were correct and she had Down Syndrome.  Although, if you asked me to describe what she looked like, I wouldn't have been able to.  I held her only for a few moments before she was whisked away to be worked on.  The only thing I remember was that she was purple from head to toe.  I had never seen a baby look that way and it terrified me.  I didn't realize how touch and go things were until later.  After a few minutes, I heard her cry and I thought we were in the clear now.  Her color had returned to pink and other than being pretty swollen, I thought she was doing well.  From my understanding, due to the delivery happening so fast, Isabelle had too much air in her stomach and her lungs could not expand to get her the oxygen that she needed.  So the nurses took Isabelle to the nursery to try and regulate her oxygen levels.
Daddy and Isabelle having some bonding time.
 A few hours had passed and the Pediatrician came in and asked everyone to leave except Ryan and I.  I had a feeling what I would hear next... They were going to transport Isabelle to the NICU in Pensacola.  They couldn't get her oxygen levels to regulate and they had done all they could do at this hospital.  They were sending the transport team to pick her up.  Our biggest fear was happening.  I was going to be separated from my baby.  I never realized how difficult that would be until that moment.  She had been with me for 9 months and now the day that I finally get to meet her, she is taken to a hospital over an hour away and I can't be with her.
 Ryan, Mimi and Papa decided that they would go ahead and leave to get things ready to meet Isabelle in Pensacola.  Thankfully, my Mom and Stephanie stayed with me so I wasn't alone.  I don't think I could have handled that.
The transport team brought Isabelle in before they left to explain everything and it was very hard to hold it together.  The team was very encouraging and supportive but she looked so fragile in that bed and I wasn't the one that was going to be there protecting her.  I felt helpless.  That night was very rough- my mind was spinning and my emotions were all over the place.  I didn't get much sleep even though the nurse had given me a sleeping pill.  I woke up every few hours in tears and longed just to hold my baby.
Thankfully, Dr. E came in bright and early the next morning to discharge me so I could get to Pensacola and be with Isabelle.  As soon as they released me, Mom and I got on the road.  We rushed around to get things for our trip since we didn't know how long we would be staying in Pensacola.  It seemed like I couldn't move fast enough.  I felt Mom was driving way too slow (which she wasn't) but I am sure even if we were driving 100mph, I would have felt that I couldn't get to Isabelle fast enough. 
By 2pm, I was sitting with my baby in the level 3 area of the NICU.  This was an eye opening experience.  My first thought after seeing Isabelle next to the other babies was that she sure didn't look like she belonged here ( I think the other parents were thinking the same thing).  My baby was a giant compared to these other tiny infants.  Her little neighbor was a 3lb. preemie! 

Ryan and I learned a lot in this short week.  We had many visits from social workers, doctors and other agencies.  We quickly learned what our new life would be like.  During that week we had to take CPR classes and complete a "room in" with Isabelle.   We passed both!
This week was so hectic and the days seemed to fly by but also time stood still (if that is possible).  Ryan would have to remind me to slow down and rest since I did just have a baby.  I didn't feel like I had time to rest, I needed to spend every waking moment with Isabelle. I felt guilty when I had to leave or just needed to rest. I didn't want Isabelle to be alone.
The nights remained the hardest since I couldn't be with Isabelle.  I was completely exhausted and overwhelmed with emotions.
Most days, I was sure the nurses and other parents thought I was a a bit crazy. I was fine one moment and then crying the next. A lot of times, I would excuse myself just so I could find a quiet place to cry and let everything out. That first week was so emotionally draining and I never knew I had that many tears.
Slowing Isabelle gained her strength and was taken off of oxygen.  Then she was moved to the level 2 NICU.  This was a huge accomplishment and proved that she was getting better slowly but surely.

 Before Isabelle could be released, she had to pass a car seat test.  She was tested in her car seat for 90 minutes to make sure her oxygen levels and heart rate did not drop.  I got her all set up on Friday night and gave her a little pep talk and then Mom and I left for the night.  I was so nervous for her and so ready to get home but when we arrived Saturday morning, we learned that she had failed her test twice.  My heart sank.  Then I was told that they were going to test her in a car bed and if she passed, she would be sent home with the bed until she was able to sit in the regular car seat.  Mom and I left during her test to grab some lunch.  The entire time, I was praying for her.  We finally got the call that made me want to do the happy dance.  Isabelle had passed and we were going home!!
By Saturday evening, Isabelle and I were back home with our family.  Our new family of 5!!
Isabelle sleeping in her own bed
Ethan feeding Isabelle
Isabelle trying to get some beauty rest!


Becca said...

I'm so very glad you and Isabelle had such a short hospital stay!! Whew! Happy you're all home together. Enjoy your sweet, beautiful new baby girl!!! Can't wait to hear more, but in the meantime, get lots of rest! :-)

Patti said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! She is beautiful!!!! Your post reminded me so much of my delvery and Lily's transfer to the NICU an hour away. I am so sorry, as I know how very difficult that can be :( So glad you are all home now- baby Isabella is just the sweetest thing! Welcome to the club- you will love Holland :)

Stacie said...

she is precious! thank you so much for sharing your story and so many pictures. congrats to you and your family.

Ilisa Ailts said...

I have tears! I can relate to this so much! I am looking fwd to following your journey! It is a blessing not because it is all sunshine and lollipops, but because it is not and you will know just who you are because of this one little person AND you will cherish her for it. Congrats!