How about with this little bundle...?
It all started on the 27th of January. Our power had gone out the night before during a snow/ice storm, and we woke up to a cold, dark house. Daycare and work had been delayed, so we were getting a slow start to the morning. I was just starting to make Tessa breakfast when I felt it. My water broke right there in the middle of my kitchen. I quickly did the math in my head -- 33 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Way, way too early for this to be happening...so, naturally, I freaked out. I called my wonderful friend Neala who lives only a few minutes away to find out if she had power, thinking that we could drop the kids off at her house on our way to the hospital. She didn't have power either...and I think I really started panicking then. Amazingly, she was perfectly calm and said "Don't worry, I'm coming right over." She was at our house in what seemed like only 5 minutes, and after frantically packing my bag in the dark, we were off to the hospital.
Luckily, the roads were not too bad, and we got to the hospital quickly. After parading through Labor & Delivery with a nurse who kept saying "This lady thinks her water broke", I finally saw my OB who confirmed that my water had, in fact, broken. Dave and I were both surprised (and relieved) when he informed us that I would not be delivering that day. Instead, he was admitting me to the High Risk Perinatal unit for a 2-3 week stay. Oy. While I was thrilled that it wasn't necessary for me to deliver that day, I was not super excited about spending the rest of my pregnancy on hospital bedrest. But...you do what you have to do. The plan was to pump me up with antibiotics to avoid infection and try to keep me pregnant until at least 36 weeks. I was also given a shot of tributalane (sp?) to stop the very mild contractions that I was having and steroid shots to develop the baby's lungs in case I did end up delivering earlier than planned.
Fast forward 3 days and 3 sleepless nights (why, exactly, do nurses and doctors need to come in at 8, 10, 1, 1:30, 4 and 6?) The family had come to visit that evening and to have dinner with me. I wasn't feeling bad...but I really didn't have an appetite, so I passed on dinner. At 7pm, an hour after they had left, I started feeling some cramping that I though might be mild contractions. I called my nurse, and she hooked me up to the monitor to check. The contractions were barely registering on the monitor, and the baby wasn't reacting to them. The resident OB seemed to think it wasn't a big deal, but they decided to give me a fluid rush (i.e. ice cold saline pumping through my IV at a rapid pace) to try to stop the contractions. That didn't work...and the contractions started becoming more intense. They called my OB who ordered another shot of tributalane to stop the contractions. The shot lessened the intensity of one measly contraction, and then they continued full force. At this point, the baby started reacting to the contractions and I was starting to develop a fever, which is a sign of infection. Dave arrived around 9:15, and they sent me down to Labor & Delivery shortly after, where my OB confirmed that I would be delivering that night.
And so, on January 30th at 10:55pm, our darling Alyse Claire was born. She weighed in at a tiny 4lbs. 13 oz. and was 18.5 inches long. I was most surprised that she looked nothing like her siblings, mostly due to her beautiful dark brown hair! Since she was so premature (33 weeks, 5 days gestation) she was taken to the NICU shortly after she was born, and she remains there today.
At just over a week old, she's doing remarkably well. She's ditched her feeding tube and is eating well. She's now able to regulate her body temperature outside of a heated isolette, so she was recently moved to an open crib. Like Calder and Tessa, she was jaundiced at birth, so she also spent a few days under the lights. Her one remaining issue is something called bradycardia -- which is a common issue for preemies. Basically, she occasionally 'forgets' to breathe which causes her heart rate to drop. She almost always self-recovers, which is a really good thing. From what we've been told, it's something that we just have to wait out. She'll outgrow it at some point and she should be able to come home about 3-5 days after she stops having the bradycardia 'spells'. It definitely has not been easy...but there are a lot of very sick babies in the NICU, and it's a reminder of how lucky we are that she is so healthy and just has this one issue to overcome.
Since it's flu season, only parents are allowed in the NICU. So, Calder and Tessa are still patiently waiting to meet their little sister. We can't wait to bring her home!