Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day Six: The March of Dimes

It's November 6th and most people are captivated by the election and exercising their right to vote. While my constitutional right is important to me, I decided to be thankful for an organization near and dear to my heart: The March of Dimes.
As you may or may not know, premature birth runs rampant in our family. Lucas was born eight weeks early and Ellie was born six weeks early.
I remember those days incredibly clear. My water broke while I was at work - January 10, 2006. I remember calling the hospital and the woman asked me if I was positive that my water broke. She then asked me if I "peed" on myself. Um.......................pretty sure I wasn't sure what to say to that one.
My hospital stay was horrible. I received antibiotics because my water broke early and Lucas needed to stay put for as long as possible, I was allergic to the antibiotics, I received an amniocentesis to check his lung function (which wasn't good), and to top it all off...Just wasn't allowed to spend the night with me because I had a roommate.
On Friday the 13th, I remember crawling to the bathroom so that I could get sick. I was also bleeding and 5 cm dialated. Thank goodness my mom decided to come early for breakfast. She found me on the floor and called the nurses. Thus began the delivery from HELL.
I'll spare you the gory details of his birth. lol. You can go ahead and thank me now...or later. Which ever is convenient for you.
Anyway. When Lucas was born, he was blue. Or so I was told. I didn't see him. All I know is that he was wisked off to the NICU and I received some much needed pain meds.
I remember the nurses telling me that he was the fatest baby in the NICU - he weighted 6 pounds 1 ounce when he was born.
When I saw him for the first time, I didn't even recognize him - he was attached to a vent, had all sorts of tubes connected to him, was under the bili lights and was being extensively monitored. I couldn't even touch him - his body was too sensitive.
I remember feeling hopeless and helpless. Why was this happening to my baby? When I look back...he was the healthiest baby in the NICU - I just didn't see it at the time.
Fortunately for us, we had a great support system with the NICU staff and the local March of Dimes chapter. As a matter of fact, Lucas only spent eight days in the NICU and was finally able to come home on January 21, 2006. One of the happiest days of my life.
Then three years later, our sweetie girl decided to make an early entrance to the world.
I went for a massage on March 21, 2009 and was told that they didn't have my appointment on the books. I remember feeling completely heartbroken because the girl that I was talking to booked the appointment the week prior.
I got in my car and cried the whole way home. Stupid hormones.
I called my mom in the afternoon and told her that I thought that I was having contractions, but that I wasn't positive. Like any amazing mom, she told me to call the doctor. And like any stubborn daughter that didn't want to have a baby in March, I didn't.
Justin was working that evening and I decided that I wasn't going into labor. She wasn't due for six more weeks.
I watched the same Discovery Channel special about Abraham Lincoln six times. I paced, and paced, and paced some more.
Finally, Justin called the doctor at 5:00 am and we were told to get to the hospital! Naturally, that meant that I should take my time. lol.
When we arrived, I was 7 cm dialated and the nurse asked me if I was having the baby naturally! Um...HELL NO!!!!
Again...I'll spare you the details of her birth. I know...I know. You're welcome.
When Ellie was born, she was so red that she was almost purple. Her bilirubin was through the roof and her sugar was low.
Despite those facts, she was sent to the regular floor and I was able to take her home two days later.
Unfortunately, that didn't last. She was re-admitted to the hospital and placed in the NICU.
Her liver wasn't expelling blood platelets, her bilirubin was still through the roof and she had a broken clavicle.
Again...I felt helpless. I couldn't fight this battle for her. And yet we had a support system that helped us through her hospital stay.
Her dedicated nursing staff was amazing. They always took my calls, answered questions, and took the best care of her when I couldn't be there.
And for a second time, we were re-acquainted with the local March of Dimes chapter. It's amazing to feel the support of others that have a passion for helping babies and their familes fight the fight.
With a little help from our friends and family, we made it through five days of what seemed like an eternity. Ellie was released from the hospital on March 30, 2009.
Lucas, age 6 and Ellie, age 3
Everybody's story is different. Yet we all share one common denominator - our children didn't get their full nine months.
With the help of the March of Dimes, babies are getting their full nine months, families are receiving much needed education, and support is being offered to all of those who want and need it.
The March of Dimes helped my family through those dark days of uncertainty in the beginning. I encourage you to check out this article and learn more about how they are helping those who need it most. http://newsmomsneed.marchofdimes.com/?p=12353

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