Sunday, March 18, 2012

This Week's Featured Baby Was Josephine!

If you missed Josephine's story on our website, here is a chance to read about her amazing journey.

My daughter Josephine Amelia was born on November 26, 2011.  Her original due date was February 16, 2012.  But her story starts way before the day she was born, and her miracle goes way beyond the day she was conceived.
My husband and I were married on January 17, 2004.  There are 20 years between us and so when we got married, I became a mom to a high schooler and a college student.  I had made my husband get their approval before we got married because there was such an age difference, and my boys accepted me into their family. 
My husband and I had decided early on that we were not going to get worked up over having kids, if it happened… great.  I was never good at taking pills and in the first month of our marriage I had filled birth control, but was constantly catching up on taking my pills so I stopped taking it.  There was no sense in spending the money on birth control if I wasn’t going to take it like I should. 
Several years went by and no pregnancy came.  I was fine with it until I was having some health issues and found out that I had a cyst.  I had dealt with endometriosis since the beginning of my menstrual cycle.  My mom had a history of endometriosis so I wasn’t surprised.  But the cyst was something else altogether.  I was having a great deal of pain and pretty constant bleeding.  The cyst was discovered in 2007.  My OBGYN was constantly changing.  My first one retired.  He had done a laparoscopy in 2003 to remove some scarring.  The next one left the group and the one that I was talking to in 2007 gave me some devastating news that I had not been given when my laparoscopy was done in 2003.  It seems that when they had done the laparoscopy they had deemed that I would probably not be able to have kids.
Not getting pregnant is so much different then never being able to get pregnant.  I had a procedure done to remove the cyst, and slowly came around to the realization that having kids was not going to be something that would ever happen for me.  After they removed the cyst, they said that there were some tests that could be done to verify whether or not I was infertile.  I never scheduled these appointments.  I didn’t have any reason to question the doctors findings since we had never once gotten pregnant and had not used birth control in our entire marriage.
I was fine being a step mom.  And by 2011 our oldest son had twins, a boy and a girl.  And our youngest had a son and a daughter on the way.  So I was a grandma before I would ever be a mom.  I had a conversation with my youngest one day after the baby shower for his oldest.  He had said to me that he was thankful that I always made his mom feel included.  I had to remind him that I was the outsider and that since I would never have kids of  my own, they were all I had.  His wife, our daughter-in-law was adopted and family was something that was very important to them.  Regardless of the age difference and the fact that I was not old enough to be a grandma, I was and they afforded me every right of grandma.  Something that I was so thankful for.  Even though our boys were grown when we got married, I still call them my own.
In March 2011 I started seeing a chiropractor for some corrective care.  I was in the office three days a week for a few months doing physical therapy and adjustments. 
In July 2011 I started feeling odd.  My breast’s where so tender that taking a shower was painful and I would tease my husband that he couldn’t even look at them cause I would feel it.  At this point my husband and I have been married 7 years, have never used birth control , and had never gotten pregnant.  I still had not ever been tested for infertility, but after 7 years, I had no reason to question the doctors findings and was not going to spend the money on tests that I really felt that we all knew the answer to.  My symptoms started progressing and I was nauseated all the time.  I was talking to one of my girlfirends at work and she kept telling me I was pregnant.  I kept telling her it wasn’t possible.  She asked when I my last period was and by this time it had been at least a month.  I had never missed a cycle before, but really didn’t think anything of it.  I just figured it was due to stress as I had been working a lot of hours at work.
Despite my denials, my friend convinced me to get a home pregnancy test.  Despite the fact that I had all the classic symptoms, I still refused to believe that I could possibly be pregnant.  The last thing I wanted was to get my hopes up.  I had really just come to terms with the fact that I would only be a step mom, but never a “real” mom.  Don’t get me wrong, there are real mom skills that are needed as a step mom and it is one of the hardest jobs that a woman will ever choose.  But there is something to be said about raising your own child.  My husband and I had determined that if we could not have kids, if the need ever because so great for me to need to be a mom that we would adopt.  For me it was more in the raising a child then birthing one.  I couldn’t see spending money on the fertility treatments for a “maybe” chance.  And I had no way of knowing if I would be able to carry a child.  I did not know how badly my body was broken. 
My friend Bonnie and I went to Walgreens by our office and I purchase a two test pack.  I took one at lunch.  NOTHING.  See, I told you I was pregnant I thought to myself.  But I took the other test the next morning.  Still NOTHING.  So, now, not only was I not pregnant, but there was something SERIOUSLY wrong with me.
I had made an appointment with my OBGYN, but just couldn’t wait.  And since the home tests both said that I was not pregnant, then I decided that I needed to go see my family doctor instead.  So the next Saturday I was sitting in my doctor’s office explaining all my symptoms and telling her that there was something really wrong with me.  I was telling her about all the issues I had and what the doctor said. While we were talking, the nurse knocked on the door.  The test from the urine sample I had left came back.  Apparently I don’t know how to pee on a stick because to my shock, I was in fact pregnant. 
The following Monday I went and had an ultrasound.  The sound of her heartbeat was the most amazing sound I had ever heard in my entire life.  This was it, I was pregnant.  I was going to have a baby. 
I immediately started eating better.  Doing whatever I could to make sure that my baby had a healthy start.  Other than being uncomfortable, I had no issues in my pregnancy. 
In November my aunt and uncle came to visit for thanksgiving.  It was my first Thanksgiving dinner that I was ever responsible for preparing.  And we had a lot of fun.  The Saturday after Thanksgiving we had planned on going to a craft fair.  We were all getting ready and I just wasn’t feeling that great.  I had been in and out of the bathroom thinking that I had to poop.  I finally called the doctor and was told to drink water and rest.  A little while later I found blood.  I quickly started getting ready and told my husband that we were going to the hospital.  He asked me if he could take a shower.  He had just gotten up.  I told him no, he had to come home and take one.
Since I was only 28 weeks along, we had not had a chance to go to the hospital orientation.  I did not know that there was a special check in for maternity, so I went to the ER.  By the time we were on our way to the hospital, I was certain that I was having contractions, but didn’t want to believe it.  We arrived at the hospital about 1:24 pm.  Since she was born just 12 minutes after getting to the hospital, it was a good thing I didn’t let my husband take that shower.
From the ER they rushed me over to maternity triage.  The nurse came in to take a look at me.  She put on a glove and reached down to check me.  She looked at my husband and asked him to hand her another glove because she was unable to move her hand.  All the way up to labor and delivery they kept telling me to stop pushing.  Once we got into labor and delivery, they assisted me through the next few contractions so that I could at least make it till the doctor got in the room.  Once he arrived, one push and Josephine was born.  It was 1:36 pm.  She weighed 3 pounds and was 16 inches long.  And once she was delivered, I felt fine.  I now realize that I had been pushing all day. 
Despite being born 2.5 months early, Jospehine did amazing.  The Neonatoloigist called her a Rock Star and the nurses fought over her.  She was a boring preemie which we are fine with.  She was breathing room air from the minute she was born.  She came home two weeks before her original due date and is now 8 pounds. 
Her personality shines through and she is so much her mother’s child.  She is impatient and headstrong.  We joke that she said, “I am tired of it in here, I got this mom.”  My husband calls her an overachiever.  I am ok with that too.  I couldn’t ask for a better baby.  She amazes me EVERY DAY.

Monday, March 5, 2012

This Week's Feature Baby! QUENTIN


For several days leading up to Quentin's birth, I had been having horrible abdominal pain which the doctors told me was the muscles stretching to accommodate for my growing little man. On July 4th, the pain just got to be too much so my husband and I went to the hospital. I was admitted to L&D where I was put on a monitor. The pain was not muscle stretching after all, it was preterm contractions.

I never actually went into labor. The doctors did a test to determine my likelihood of going into labor in the next two weeks and it came back positive so at that time the decision was made to transfer me to another hospital that had a NICU just in case, All the while I was being told that they would get the contractions stopped and would send me home the next day on strict bed rest. I was fine with the transfer because I would be going to a hospital where the staff knew me because I had received all of my prenatal care there. Before the transfer, I was given Procardia to stop the contractions. This ultimately is what led to Quentin's premature birth.

The Procardia caused Quentin's heart rate to plummet multiple times. When the doctors figured out what was going on the Procardia was immediately stopped. Unfortunately, it was already too late because the medicine had already gotten into Quentin's system. Shortly before 8a on July 5th, Quentin's heart rate plummeted for a fourth time and stayed down for 6 minutes. The decision was made at that time to do an emergency c-section. Quentin was better off out than in. I had already been given one steroid shot but unfortunately, Quentin came 8 hours too soon to get the second one. Due to previous surgeries, the doctors told me that I was not a candidate for an epidural. This upset me greatly because it meant I had to be put totally under. This meant two things, one I could not witness my son's birth and neither could his daddy. I was so scared to wake up to find out that my son did not survive. Thankfully, someone was looking down on us and Quentin came through the birth. He had a very rough start. He had to be given CPR to get him going. This was because he was exposed to the anasthesia. And so begins our seven week NICU stay.

After bugging the nurses for four hours, I finally got to see my son for the first time. He was the most beautiful site I had ever seen. It was instant love. The doctors told us to expect Quentin to be in the hospital until at least his due date, if not longer. Quentin proved EVERYONE wrong!

He came off the vent at 12 hours old. He did have to go back on for about a week because he just grew too tired. At about a month old, he was totally off all oxygen support. At this time, they let us start trying to breastfeed. I cried the first time I was able to feed my son. He tuckered out after five minutes but it was five minutes that I will forever cherish. He caught on very quickly to breastfeeding.

At just shy of 6 weeks old, Quentin was deemed a feeder/grower, he no longer needed medical support. He just needed to gain weight. He was about 3.5lbs by now. We ended up transferring to a hospital closer to home. We stayed there for 12 more days. Six days into our 7 day "no brady" countdown, Quentin had a pretty nasty brady episode after being given his iron supplement. I was devastated because we only needed one more day and then we would have been going home the day after that. The seven days had to start back over, or so I thought.

The doctor came in to talk to us the next morning and saw the documented brady and asked what had happened. We explained that he bradied because of choking on the iron. The doctor gave him a free pass because it wasn't a true brady! We would be going home the next day as long as Quentin gained some weight. For a few days, he had been bouncing between 4lbs. 3oz and 4lbs. 4oz. At weight check that night Quentin weighed 4lbs. 4.5oz. He had gained enough weight to go home! After 50 long days Quentin came home on August 25th, 2010. Almost a MONTH before his actual due date!

He continues to do very well. He is now 20 months. He weighs about 21 pounds and is somewhere around 31.5 to 32 inches. He's struggling with walking and standing but PT has really helped. He has made a lot of progress since starting.

Note to mommies and daddies still going through the journey:

It may not seem like it now but it does get better. On the tough days, just think of the positives. Your little one has passed a great milestone in just being here.

One major thing I learned from my son's journey is that I am my son's voice. It was up to me to advocate for him. If something didn't feel right to me, I spoke up. I asked so many questions, there were days I worried the medical staff was sick of me. But I had to learn that they were there for me and my son. Asking questions is extremely important.

Steffany, mom