The pregnancy progressed pretty well for seven months despite the fact that I was 36 and overweight. I even took a new job and continued working towards my Master's Degree.
In January my blood pressure started going up and becoming harder to control. I was ordered to monitor my blood pressure throughout the day. On January 16, they admitted me to the hospital because it had crept up to dangerous levels.
I ended up being in the hospital for nine days. During that time, it was decided that they would have to deliver the baby early. They planned the c-section for the morning of January 25. Those days in the hospital were hard on the whole family. We were scared to death of the condition that the baby would be in. She would only be 33 weeks and 6 days gestation when she was delivered. We were scared of what would happen if she wasn't delivered. The bigger kids missed their mom.
When Sydney was delivered at 8:59AM on January 25, she weighed 5 lbs and 2 oz. She was 18 inches long. Although she was a good size for her gestational age, she was not able to regulate her own temperature and her breathing was a bit erratic. They sent her to the NICU almost immediately.
As soon as I got to the recovery room they told me that I could call the NICU to check on the baby. I must have called 50 times in the hour that I spent in the recovery room. I can't even describe how I felt. I have never been so worried in my life.
After I got to the room, they told me that they would allow me to go to the NICU to see her as soon as I could walk. I was out of bed walking within the hour. If I felt pain, I didn't notice it. All I wanted in the world was to see that baby.
Something I had never considered before my experience, was how it felt to be a new mother with a baby in the NICU. It had just never occurred to me how much it must hurt to not be able to hold your baby or have them in your room. Even the simplest things like showing the baby to friends and introducing her to siblings weren't possible. The children were not allowed to even go into the NICU.
For the three nights I was in the hospital after she was born all I did was pump every two hours, visit the baby at least every three hours for feeding, and cry. If I heard another baby cry in the hall I would cry. When I would leave her to come back to my room, I would cry. When I would wake up and realize that I had slept more than two hours and I didn't even know if she was sleeping or awake, I would cry.
The worst part, was knowing that I was going to have to leave the hospital without her on Monday morning. When the social worker came in and told me that they expected for her to be in NICU for two weeks, I cried like a baby...more than my baby, because all she was capable of was sleeping. I kind of felt sorry for the poor social worker...it was almost like she didn't encounter sobbing mothers daily.
When Randy and I left the hospital on Monday, we went by the NICU and told them that we would be back later that afternoon. Walking across the breezeway, getting in that car, and driving home without my baby physically hurt me. I can't even explain it. Some of the emotions that I felt during that time, I don't even have words for. Hurt, worry, fear, heartbreak...they don't cover it. I had no idea how I would make it through the next two weeks without losing my mind.
......To be continued....