Monday, May 07, 2007

Manic Monday – Survive

This week’s Manic Monday word really inspired some powerful memories.

This is my little survivor Eli on the day he was born – July 8, 2002.

I would like to say it was one of the happiest days of my life, but it was actually the scariest day. My happiest day fell on July 23, 2002 – the day I took him home from the hospital.

Let me preface all of this a little bit. As I’ve mentioned before, I have Lupus, so I actually had to wait several years before I was able to go off of my medication in order to get pregnant. We tried for seven months before I finally got pregnant with Eli.

He scared me right from the start. I spotted the entire first trimester of my pregnancy, and had numerous ultrasounds, but Eli was perfectly fine. The doctors were very careful. I felt like I practically lived at their office. Besides all of the ultrasounds, I had all kinds of testing, including non-stress tests twice a week.

Eli was due on August 19, and everything was moving along fine up until I hit 34 weeks of pregnancy. I left work on the morning of July 8 to go in for a routine ultrasound and doctor’s appointment. When they did the ultrasound, I could tell something was wrong. At my 30-week ultrasound, they estimated Eli at about 3 ½ pounds. At this ultrasound at 34 weeks, they estimated him at about 3 ½ pounds. He hadn’t grown at all. Not only that, but there was absolutely no amniotic fluid whatsoever.

It’s never fun when you see a look of panic on the face of the ultrasound technician. They went to get a nurse who had me do a urine sample – lots of protein in my urine, and she took my blood pressure – about 230 over 115. I had developed a severe case of pre-eclampsia, which had caused my placenta to shut down.

At that point my doctor came in and told me I was having the baby now. I have never been so scared in my life. They put me in a wheel chair and wheeled me from her office over to the hospital and started prepping me for an emergency C-section. Eric was in so much shock, I was afraid he was going to throw up. And to top it all off, we couldn’t get a hold of anyone. We were trying to call our parents to tell them what was going on, but no one was home.

They got me into surgery as quickly as possible, and put me completely under. I had been on heparin injections (blood thinners) my entire pregnancy, so they couldn’t give me an epidural because it was too dangerous.

I had walked in for my doctor’s appointment at 12 noon that day, and Eli was born at exactly 2:00 p.m. They were quick. Eli was 3 pounds, 9 ounces, 16 ¼ inches. He was in perfect condition. He was just small. I was glad they got him out safely, but I think I will always be bitter about the fact that I was not awake to see him being born. I didn’t even get to meet him until about 12 hours later.

Eli couldn’t regulate his body temperature, so they had to put him in an incubator. I had a very nice nurse who went and took pictures with a Polaroid camera, and brought them to me so I could see what he looked like. That part was not easy. It was very difficult getting all kinds of visitors who told me how beautiful my baby was when all I had seen was a picture of him. But because I had just had an emergency C-section, I couldn’t go to him, and they couldn’t take him out of the incubator to bring him to me.

It was about 2:00 a.m. that a nurse brought him into me for about 30 seconds so I could meet him for the first time. He was perfect. Tiny, but perfect.

There are so many stories I could relate that happened over the next two weeks while Eli was in the hospital. For someone so tiny, he was very strong. He never needed help breathing, and he had his own personality right from the start. I didn’t know anything about babies, and I was scared to death what kind of a mother I would be, but I never could have imagined the overwhelming all-consuming love I felt when I looked at my son. All I wanted to do was hold him, but I was only allowed to do that for moments at a time before I had to put him back in the incubator.

It hurt so much to think how long he was fighting to survive after my placenta shut down. But with the strong karate moves he was doing in my tummy, I never had any indication anything was wrong until we went in for my doctor’s appointment that day.

Two weeks and one day after he was born, we were finally able to take him home. By then, he weighed a whopping 4 pounds, 2 ounces. I don’t think I put him down the first month I brought him home. I never wanted to stop holding him. This is us right before we left the hospital.

And this is us almost five years later.

My strong, perfect, beautiful little boy! What a survivor!!


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, what a great post! Although you had a scary beginning with Eli, he is an adorable little boy :) Congratulations!! Have a great week.

ian said...

Wow, very heartwarming story you shared, Neila. It reminds me of the craziness and fear surrounding the birth of my oldest son, with an incompetent doctor who since lost her license to practice in our state. I'm glad to see the two of you have recovered so nicely, even with the addition of an, um, noisy younger sister. ;)


Gattina said...

Loved reading your story and I can tell you he choose the best birth day ever ! I can tell that, because I also was born on July 8 only a "little" later ! And I too I saw my son only the next morning when everybody had seen him already ! I had to have a cesarian because he decided to go out with his bottom first and there was no other choice. But ! both of us survived, lol ! and he has become a big nice man.

Travis said...

What a wonderful story! I can't imagine how frightening it must have been.

From tough beginnings, he's growing into a handsome young man.

Donna said...

That's an amazing story. I wasn't aware of your medical issues. By the way, Eli's birthday is one day after mine.

Pendullum said...

Hope that you print this blog out and keep it in his memory box, so he can hear how strong and brave both of you were/are.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

wonderful story, thanks for sharing and great take on survivor too!

smiles, bee

Morgen said...

Oh Neila, what a story!
Way to make me smile and cry first thing in the morning!
Thanks you for sharing your story - what a SURVIVOR your entire family is!!!


maggie said...

Great Great Post on Survivor. Your story sounds similar to mine. Maybe someday I'll get around to putting it into words.

Happy Monday

Comedy + said...

Wow, what a wonderful story of survival. Thanks for sharing such a touching part of your life with us ♥

Crazy Working Mom said...

Wow, what a breathtaking story. I read it with tears streaming down my cheeks. My sister had a preemie baby and I know exactly how scary it can be! I am so glad that you both survived. GREAT story on the theme.

Desert Songbird said...

Evocative post, Neila. Brought tears to my eyes as I could relate to many things. So happy that Eli is thriving!

Sadie said...

That is a very good story for today. You made me all teary-eyed!

lisa said...

thanks for sharing that great story. so happy both of you are strong survivors!

Mz Jackson said...

There are few things more terrifying than seeing your newborn baby in an incubator and I understand how you feel. My little miracle just turned 17 in March and is happy and healthy. Hats off to your little survivor!

Meloncutter said...

It's amazing really how strong the little ones are when so small and early.

Great post. Touching.

Later Y'all

Julie said...

Neila, that brought tears to my eyes! What a wonderful tribute to your precocious little fighter! :-)

jdoriot said...

Oh thanks for sharing this! My son, Gus was born early too because of low amniotic fluid...not due to pre-eclampsia though. I'm so glad things went well for you all..he's a cutie!