This is long overdue, but I'm finally getting around to posting the remainder of her birth story. This part continues on from the moments after her birth until the day we were able to take her home. Again, this is quite long so I understand if you choose not to read it or just speed read through it. Thank you all for being so patient with me:
After they were done stitching me up, I asked the nurse when I would be able to see you, my sweet baby. She told me the horribly difficult news that I would have to wait 24 hours from your delivery time to be able to see you because the magnesium sulfate combined with risk of stroke requires bed rest for the first 24 hours.
I was devastated.
Here I was, lying and waiting to see your beautiful face after months and months of anxiety over the pregnancy and hours and hours of labor, and yet I was going to have to wait even longer. I ended up falling asleep as my body was so exhausted it couldn’t stay up any longer, but sleep was fleeting at best between nurse checks, breathing treatments, and the pain from the tear.
|One of the pictures your daddy took to show me while I waited to see you in person.|
At some point during the early morning, your daddy and Grandma Murray went to go take a look at you in the NICU. Daddy took many pictures of you so that I could see you even if it couldn’t be in person. During the rest of that day, I worked on getting the needed sleep for my body and I cried while staring at your picture and realizing that you didn’t have me by you to comfort you.
As the day drug on I kept checking the clock to see how much closer I was to getting to hold you and kiss your sweet face. The minutes moved agonizingly slow, and I swore at points time was moving backward. As I fell asleep for the night, I reassured myself by knowing I would finally be able to see you the next day, but my heart was unable to keep me asleep for long. At 3:30 AM, I woke up and I stared at the clock for 55 minutes, until I paged the nurse to have them take my IV out so that I could go upstairs and finally hold my precious miracle.
Daddy grabbed a wheelchair, and I got myself all set to go see you for really the first time since the brief minute I got with you after your birth was not nearly enough. Daddy pushed me gently through the halls, and as he made his way up to the door of the NICU I felt my heart pounding heavy in my chest. This was it. The day I had dreamed about and longed for my entire life; I was going to really hold my sweet precious daughter for the first time.
As I approached your incubator, I saw the most gorgeous face I had ever seen. You had these massively adorable chubby cheeks and your eyes were so cute as they were so tightly shut to get the much-needed sleep your body craved after such a hard delivery. They had a cute pink hat on you, but I could see little tufts of bright yellow hair sticking out from underneath it. You were swaddled pretty well, but your long sweet fingers were sticking up just above the edge of the blanket, and I marveled at how beautiful they were. Then, I asked the nurse if I could hold you, and my heart leapt when she said yes.
|My first time holding you after birth.|
At this point, I should add that they made me gown, glove, and mask to be able to hold you since you were in the NICU, so while I was able to have you physically in my arms, I had yet to actually touch you with my bare hands. It would be another few days before I could finally stroke your sweet cheek or feel that soft downy hair on my fingertips, and waiting for that was terrible for me. I fought the nurses quite hard to be able to finally touch you.
At least I was able to hold you though, and I was able to feel just how light 5 pounds 14 ounces really was in my arms. I fed you a prepared bottle, and I just stared and stared at the miracle of you. I couldn’t fathom how such a perfect and beautiful baby had grown inside of my body which had always failed me in multiple ways before. Yet here you were…perfection.
This was also the first time Daddy held you as he waited for me to be there with him. From the second you were in his arms all I could see in his face was wonder and love. He stared at your perfect cherub features, and he could hardly get over everything we had triumphed over to get to this point. We were finally holding the biggest blessing the Lord could ever give us, and we knew we needed to cherish the moment because it was the most special day of our lives.
After an hour or so I was hurting so badly from sitting up that I had to make my way back to my room despite my overwhelming need to never leave your side. I sat with tears, both happy and sad, as your daddy wheeled me back to bed. I was over the moon that you were so beautiful and so healthy, but my heart was ripped apart at the thought of not having you right by my side at all times.
The rest of the day was a little bit better as I could technically go down to see you whenever I wanted. The problem was that I was still in so much pain that sitting up was very difficult to do so I had to watch the amount of time I was actually up and not recovering. I remember thinking often that if I didn’t have cystic fibrosis you would be in my room with me, and I wouldn’t even have to worry about splitting my time. I was reassured, however, by the fact that the NICU nurses expected you to be out of the NICU by the next morning.
Your second day of life was really such a busy day for you in the NICU. We were able to have your grandparents hold you, and your Aunties and Uncles came to see you as well. My heart was heavy that I couldn’t be in there to see their reactions upon seeing you for the first time (We were limited to two people in the NICU at one time), but they all came back to my room with overwhelming joy on their faces. Oh kiddo, they were just so happy to meet you for the first time!
As the day turned to evening, we settled in with the happy thought that we would have you in our room the next day. We fell asleep rather quickly as we were both exhausted, but I woke up to head into the nursery to feed you every three hours. Feeding you was (and is) such a beautiful time for us. You struggled with nursing, but even bottle feeding was just amazing. There is something that connects you deeply in your soul as you feed your own child regardless of what method is used. I sincerely pray that you get to experience this feeling once you are an adult.
|A picture of you with the NG tube.|
When the next morning finally rolled around, we learned the devastating news that you wouldn’t be joining us as you still had to regulate your blood sugars. We understood that the NICU was the best place for you, but it was so hard to hear this news. We ate breakfast and headed down to see you only to find that you had an NG tube placed after your last feeding as you didn’t take enough formula to maintain your sugars. We had been warned that this might happen, but seeing you with that tube in your nose was so overwhelming that your daddy and I stood there with tears. We were so very sorry that you had to go through this – that you had to handle this fight for the first few days of your life. You had such a rough delivery that you were simply exhausted and had trouble eating at all.
After this day, the remaining time in the NICU seemed to blend together. You were in there to heal for a total of nine days, and your Daddy and I hardly ever left your side. We had to head home for a few hours to take care of bills and grab my treatment supplies since unfortunately life doesn’t stop even when your own world has temporarily halted. We immediately came back up to see you, and we refused to leave you other than for meals.
We truly believe it was our dedication to staying by your side that got you out of the NICU as soon as you did. You struggled immensely with feedings as you were too tired to suck and swallow efficiently. We often had to strip you naked and tickle your toes or sides to wake you up enough to eat, and even then you wouldn’t eat enough to keep your sugars stable. Because of this, most of your feeds continued through the NG tube. Thankfully within another day your sugars had stabilized, but you continued to have trouble eating enough to maintain your weight.
Since we were the ones always feeding you and watching you, however, we noticed that you started taking less and less through a bottle and requiring more food through tube feedings. Your nurses fought with us that this was because you were a daughter to a diabetic mom, and you would struggle with eating for quite some time. They assured us you might be in here for months before heading home, and we found ourselves outraged as we knew you were perfectly healthy (aside from having trouble eating).
At one point we came back from a meal to find that you had only taken 10 ccs of milk (you were taking 30 ccs by yourself at birth so this seemed odd to us). Your daddy and I prayed and talked in depth about what to do because we couldn’t believe that you were regressing in your feeding abilities. The nurse again told us this was because you were too exhausted to eat (due to my diabetes), and she told us to let them tube feed you the entire night through. We had such a hard time believing this, but we allowed them to do this as we knew this would tell us if it was truly you being too tired to eat or not.
As the next morning rolled around, you were well-rested and the most awake we had ever seen you. You were staring at us with your beautifully large and innocent eyes, and you stayed awake for such long stretches that we were stunned. Yet you still wouldn’t eat. You took only 11ccs, and that confirmed our instinct that you had become lazy. You never had to eat (which was a lot of work for you) in order to feel full, so you chose not to do the work. You were quite smart right from birth, Munchkin.
We then fought terribly hard to be able to get the NG tube out of you so that we could try feeding you without the tube helping you. The physician’s assistant told us that our “little experiment” wouldn’t work, and you would have to be back on the NG tube by the next day. We didn’t care as we knew we had to try. We also felt in our hearts that you were perfectly capable of taking enough food, but you simply didn’t have to with the NG tube in.
|Your first pictures after the NG tube was removed.|
The first feeding after the tube was out was another meager 11ccs, but we expected this as we knew you were waiting to feel full from the tube. When you didn’t receive that supplement through the tube, you were actually trying to suck on your hands to show us you were hungry a mere two hours later! We could hardly believe it as you had never shown a single hunger cue until then! The next feeding you managed 20 ccs, and then a few hours later you ate 30! From there you maintained 30-45 ccs at each feeding!! We were so very proud of you because we knew you could do it!
The next 48 hours were quite important for you as we had to watch and wait to ensure you would continue to take enough each feeding. There was one feeding that you took about 15 ccs, and I found myself in tears as I worried this would make them put the tube back in. They reassured me, however, that as long as you maintained an average of 32 ccs per feeding then they would leave the tube out. Well Angel, you did it! You maintained the average you needed just fine, and over the 48 hours after the tube’s removal you managed to eat on your own and gain weight!!
The doctor’s told us that you would be able to come home as long as you passed their car seat test (a test to make sure you could handle being in a car seat for an hour and half without having any breathing problems)! Oh we were so happy, Sydney! We found ourselves holding our breath throughout the car seat test, but of course you passed it with flying colors! When the physician’s assistant (a different one than from before) asked if we wanted to take you home, I sat and cried. I had prayed and longed for this day since your birth, and it was finally coming true!
|During your car seat test!|
We dressed you in the sweetest pink outfit, and we wrapped you in the two blankets that I came home in as a baby! We then waited so patiently so that we could complete all the discharge paperwork required by the NICU. As we walked you downstairs in your car seat, we were stunned at how much we had gone through and you had gone through to get to this point. And here we were finally heading home with the most precious package we had ever been given!
|Your going-home outfit. It was different than we anticipated because of how small you were, but you looked beautiful regardless!|
|You were so tiny in the car seat! Here you are coming home for the first time in the same blankets Mommy came home in.|
Your car ride home and the whole first day home were quite uneventful. We spent the entire time staring at you, feeding you, and cuddling you. In fact, that’s pretty much all we did for the next month!
Sydney, carrying you in my body and birthing you was truly the best thing I have ever done in my entire life. I cherished every single moment I could of the entire experience, and I am trying to cherish every moment of your infancy as well. I find myself ignoring chores just so that I can sit and stare at your beautiful face. I hold you, and tears roll down my cheeks as I sit and think of just how blessed I am. My life has never been more perfect than it is now that you are here, and every single day that I wake up and get to see your gorgeous face is another blessing that I intend to enjoy fully! Thank you, baby girl, for changing my life so wholly and wonderfully. You are incredible, and I look forward to every single moment we will be lucky enough to share together as the days, weeks, months, and years go on. I love you, Sydney, more than words will ever convey.