1 day old
3.5 weeks old
She is here! We made it. I have really put off writing this. Partly because I am way too busy snuggling with this sweet little girl and partly because it kind of gives me a knot in my stomach to think about putting the last few weeks into words. Lola Capri was born on November 13, I am not sure when, as I was taking a long winter’s nap during the process. I do know she was 18 inches long and 5 pounds 4 ounces. And I do know she is an amazing, strong, sweet and peaceful baby who when I look in her eyes, I know she knows what we went through together and how very special it is that she is here. Every baby is a miracle and she is ours. The story of her birth is below. I do not know how graphic I will get and I do not even know if I have all of the details right, as I was not really “there”. I want to write it not only for those that are interested, but for us, so that we never forget how much we wanted this baby and how much she wanted to be a part of our family and how much we believe God helped make that happen.
The beginning of our story is written about previously here, here, here, and here. To summarize, this baby was five years in the making. After some help we were so happy to be pregnant. The pregnancy was normal for about five days and then got crazy and never stopped. At 19 weeks, we were told we were losing her. A sweet friend said, “there is a heart beat, do not give up on her”. And so we did not. I then laid on a couch for 5 months to try to keep her safe inside. I took weekly injections of hormones and only left the house for our numerous ultra sounds and doctor visits. Every visit the news was never good, but it seemed to get a little better the closer we got to “viability”. Such a terrible word. We had a calendar and celebrated every week. 24, 28, 32 were the big ones. We made it to week 35. We never thought we would. But we did. And we thought, we made it this far, everything is going to go great now. Our c section was scheduled for November 16 and the doctors were prepared for anything, but hoped for a normal delivery.
The morning of November 13, I woke up bleeding. We knew that meant it was time. It was 4.30am and by 4.45am, Sam, Madeira and I were in the car on the way to the hospital. M was so brave and made me so proud. We got to the hospital and they said they were going to try to have us make it to deliver around 10am, so the hospital would be better staffed, just in case. Around 10.45, I was taken in for the epidural. After numerous attempts at epidural and spinal, some strong shots to my nerves and emotional exhaustion of the anesthesiologist, me, the nurse holding me and my doctor, we all collectively decided to just put me under general. That meant Sam could not be in the room and I would not meet my baby when she was born. After a few tears of disappointment and fear, I laid down and went to sleep for what I thought would be about an hour.
Four and a half hours later I woke up to nurses and surgical recovery staff and heard scary words about my super low blood pressure and super high heart rate. I felt like I had not had anything to drink for days, my tummy felt like it had been ripped out of my body and I wanted to know where my baby was. Well, while I slept, my baby was born removed with a vacuum from my belly and sent to the NICU, my uterus, tubes and cervix were removed, I received 6 units of blood, 14 bags of fluid and gained 40 pounds from the fluids and my mom and friends sat in the waiting room, while Sam ran back and forth to the NICU and trying to get updates on me. My placenta had grown through everything and had grown so many veins that when they tried to remove it, I began to hemorrhage. My theory is that it had to do this in order to stay attached and continue to feed Lola while she was inside. I heard that someone said that no baby should have been able to survive on the conditions that were inside of me and I know by reading that many mommies do not survive births like mine. Grateful. And that epidural that did not work, grateful. I can not imagine if Sam and I had witnessed any of what happened.
Lola was sent to the NICU at birth because of respiratory problems and the risk of sepsis from all of the bleeding. I was sent to ICU to be monitored and given more blood and fluids. She and I finally met a day and a half after she was born. I reached through the hole of the incubator and touched her leg. And I could not say anything. I just thought to myself we made it and sat looking at her with tears rolling down my face. I was given five minutes with her and then taken to my recovery room. We were so well taken care of by the amazing nurses and doctors. They made me feel like were going to be OK, which was what I really needed.
After five days, I was healthy enough to go home. Which was wonderful, except for, I was leaving without Lola. Being wheeled out of the hospital that nite, leaving her behind broke my heart. Madeira softened the hurt a little by decorating the house with welcome home signs and her big smile. The next 8 days Sam spent his time taking care of me and spending time at the NICU with Lola. He was amazing. I felt so safe and taken care of and knew that Lola felt loved and nurtured by him as well. I do not know how he did it, but the love I have for him is so deep. Lola got to come home on Sunday, the 25th. What a day to have all four of us under the same roof. We were complete.
This has been a life changing experience for so many reasons. None of us will ever be the same. The love we have felt and the prayers and good thoughts that have come our way from so many is what has made this dream come true and is overwhelming. I am trying these days to focus on what is and not what might have been. It is hard sometimes and there are moments when I just break down about what could have happened- the thought of Sam being a daddy to two girls without a mama or the thought of our family without Lola. But thankfully that was not the plan for us. Sam, Cari, Madeira and Lola happy and healthy, that was the plan. I am forever grateful. Amazing love.