For the first entry, I thought I would document how it all happened.
We found out we were pregnant the Saturday before Thanksgiving, 2005. We had been trying for about a year and a half, and were THRILLED. Our son had just turned 2 at the time. Everything went pretty smooth, other than more morning sickness and fatigue than when I was pregnant with our son, until our 19 week checkup. We went in for our sonogram hoping to find out the baby's gender (even though I was SURE it was a girl!) and instead got a scare--I was already 50% effaced and 2 cm dialated! The doctor was very concerned about this and sent me to a perinatologist to get a second opinion. The perinatologist (Dr. B) agreed with my OB (Dr. P) and reccomended placing a rescue cerclage, stitches in an already opening cervix, that weekend. So, off to the hospital we went for 48 hours of intense antibiotics (to ward off any possible infection) and then the cerclage. That went well, and we didn't have any more major problems for a while. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in my 27th week, which I didn't have with my son, but was all set to manage that. Then when I was 28 weeks and 4 days, my water broke unexpectedly. No contractions, no warnings. She was kicking really low (we had found out that we were expecting a girl) that evening, and it felt like she was kicking the cerclage, to the point of causing me pain. I stood up and felt a couple small gushes, so off to the computer I went to do a small self-diagnosis before I determined whether to call the doc at 1:30 am. I googled "preterm amniotic fluid leak" to see if that was indeed what I was experiencing, and it sounded like it was. I stood up to go call the doc, and there was a HUGE gush. Yep, no question about it, my water had broken.
I called Dr. P's after hours number and they patched me right thru to him. He said to head to the hospital immediately, so we called my FIL to come watch our son and my mom to come with me in case we had to deliver. We knew we were having a c-section because my son had been a c-section (he got stuck b/c of his big chubby cheeks) and because she was still breech, and my mom was going into the delivery room with me. Scott, my husband, does not handle OR's very well and the last thing we needed was for him to get sick in there. Anyway, as soon as they arrived we left. When we got to the hospital they hooked me up to monitors to check for contractions and to listen to the baby's heartbeat. They also gave me the first of 2 shots of steroids (got the second one 24 hours later) to help speed up the maturation of her heart, lungs and brain. They said 2 shots were equivalent to 2 weeks of gestation, but that we would need 48 hours to maximize that benefit. Then I was told to stay in bed as much as possible and rest.
I had a sonogram the next day and Dr P said that the fluid level looked good, and that it was pretty much a waiting game. They were planning to leave the cerclage in until 32 weeks unless there were ANY signs of infection or contractions. They had me on heavy duty antibiotics to ward off infection, and were monitoring my vitals very closely. Things went OK for the next few days (I was admitted Wednesday night/Thursday morning) until Sunday night. My husband and mom had just left, after meeting with a rep from the NICU to answer any and all questions we had. Dr. B and Dr. P had said that the absolute latest we would deliver was 34 weeks, but were doubtful we would even make it that far, and so it was certain that our baby would end up in the NICU for at least a little bit of time, possibly several weeks.
About an hour after my family had left, I was in the bathroom and noticed that her umbilical cord had come partially out and was hanging down. I immediately pulled the emergency help cord and nurses came running. They helped get me back into bed and hollered for a doc ASAP. They had to try to put the cord back in to keep blood flow to the baby, which caused me considerable amounts of pain, almost similar to what natural childbirth would be like. (Why on Earth anyone would do that without meds is beyond me!). The doctor, one of Dr. P's associates who happened to be the on call doc for the night, came in and when he saw what was going on he said "Oh Shit!" Let me tell you, that is NOT something a patient wants to hear from the doctor! Then he tried to put the cord back in, and after a few seconds said "Oh my God, do you have STITCHES!?!?!" and I said "yes, a cerclage they put in at 19 weeks!" and he swore again as he tried to maneuver around it. Apparently, I had effaced enough and my uterus had deflated enough that there just wasn't enough tissue for the cerclage to hold tight to, and enough space was left for the cord to prolapse. They rushed me to OR, with the doc riding on the bed with me trying to keep the cord in. While they were examining me in the room I had found a few seconds to put in a frantic call to my husband "her cord is out, they're rushing me to OR, get up here NOW" and that was all. In the OR they had 2 anestesiologists working to get an IV in me, I have very thin deep veins that do NOT like IV's and they always have a hard time putting one in. I was screaming in pain and begging to be put out, but they said they couldn't do a thing until they got the IV in. Meanwhile, they were asking me quick questions to determine exactly what had happened, what was going on, and medical history. I told them all the info I could, and that the baby's name was Meghan. I remember begging them to save Meghan, and they said "don't worry, she'll be fine." and then they got the IV in and I was out in seconds.
The next thing I knew, I was waking up to my husband stroking my hand and hair, telling me we had a beautiful but tiny baby girl. Apparently they were able to deliver her in under 4 minutes, which was good because they said she would not have lasted another couple minutes. When she was delivered she was a little limp and her 1 minute apgar score was only a 3. At 5 minutes it was 7 and at 10 minutes it was an 8, so she perked up pretty quickly.
The following entries will all be about her progress in the NICU. Hopefully this journal will help with all the update requests we get from friends and family. I will be posting photos also, not sure if I will be able to right away or not (they aren't loaded on this computer) but will as soon as possible so you can all see our tiny miracle.