At 30 weeks, the ultrasound indicated that baby was small. Like really small. Like in the 3rd percentile. So we were referred to a specialist in Dallas. We saw him a few times. He concurred that baby was small, but seemed healthy. We/she/I was diagnosed with IUGR--Intrauterine Growth Retardation. Most often it's an issue with the placenta. The doctor's felt like this was a placenta issue, and not another underlying issue that caused baby to stop growing. He predicted that at 30 weeks she weighed about 3 pounds.
We had goals. Make it to 31 weeks. Then 34. Then 37. We had two ultrasounds each week to make sure no other issues popped up. At 31 weeks, my blood pressure (which was perfect the entire pregnancy) went up a little. I tested for preeclampsia. The results were better than good. The doctor decided that my blood pressure was just a bit high during pregnancy. A little over a week later, I did another test, and the results were still good. I had an ultrasound at the end of my 34th week and my blood pressure was still high. The doctor told me to come in the following Monday, just to make sure things were OK.
That weekend I had a baby shower. Then my parents and my in-laws came over that Sunday to help us get things in place and the nursery put together. And are we ever glad that happened! On Monday afternoon, my doctor sent me to the hospital to do a third test for preeclampsia and to monitor the baby overnight. I rushed home to get a bag packed and reported to the hospital. I got my bracelet, put on my gown and cried as they blew a vein inserting the I.V. I'd just started week 35 and expected to be sent home on bed rest if my results showed preeclampsia. No big deal. I'd just binge watch a million series on Netflix.
My results came back on Tuesday evening. I had severe preeclampsia. Like so bad they weren't releasing me from the hospital. Because baby was tiny, she would need a NICU. I would need to transfer hospitals. I had to wait about an hour for the ambulance, so I pleaded with the nurse to let me shower, even though I needed to be in bed. She agreed to it, if I did it super quickly. I did. And then I rode ONE BLOCK in an ambulance to the hospital with a NICU. Oh. my. word. You truly can see each hospital from the other; they are SO close.
Once I got there and was set up in my room, my doctor came to see me. She let me know that they would deliver the baby at 4pm the next day. Knowing that I'd be on magnesium for 24 hours after the delivery (to treat preeclampsia), I absolutely hated the thought of waiting hours and hours to get that 24 hours started. I cried and begged her to move it up. The operating room was booked all day until then, so there was no flexibility.
Thankfully, Jeremy stayed with me that night. At 4am--less than six hours after I'd arrived in my room--three nurses bolted into the room, turned on all the lights and said, "It's go time!" Baby's heart rate decelerated three times. That's enough to getcha into the operating room sooner! They prepped me for the C-section in my room and on the way to the OR. (Side note: when we toured the hospital during our birthing class, the OR was freezing. But when your baby is headed to the NICU, it's heated!) Jeremy called our parents, and then came into the OR once things were ready to go.
At 5:05am, our sweet baby girl was born, wrapped up in her umbilical cord. She weighed 2 pounds, 14 ounces and was 15 inches long. Such a tiny thing! The NICU team did their preliminary checks, and then brought her to see us. It was my one glance for 24 hours. We were separated. She was in the NICU; I was being treated with magnesium. Neither of us were stable enough to visit the other. Of all the pain I experienced with surgery, the emotional pain of separation was the worst of all. For the most part, my mom stayed with me while Jeremy stayed with the baby. (She still wasn't named at this point!) I saw pictures, but she was under the bili lights, so I never really saw her.
We were able to get some rest and food once in my swanky new room. (Which happened to cost more than any hotel we've ever stayed in.) At the appropriate time, we made it back down to the NICU. And then we talked names. We'd had it narrowed down to just a few. I'd hoped that when I saw her again, something would click, but it was still difficult. We both decided that we loved Ivy Beatrix. She had a name.
|Dollar used for size perspective. She was so teeny tiny!|
(I just remember the clerk being SUPER put out with me for not having a name until Friday. Apparently that's unacceptable, and every other baby born on Wednesday had a name.)
(That didn't make it happen any faster.)
So that's how her story began. I'll share more about our 19 days in the NICU and her amazing progress. (Preview: she has some chunky thighs!)