Wednesday, March 30, 2011
A Preemie Prints Story: Carissa and Makena
My name is Carissa and this is the story of my little miracle Princess Makena!
I got pregnant unexpectedly at 30 years old. I was super happy to add to our little family of three. I remember just being so anxious to find out what we were having. My pregnancy started off with lots of all day sickness. I was super sick everyday!! Of course I figured it was just and I tried all the home remedies to cure my upset tummy. I believe I was about 16 weeks along or so when I noticed I was getting this pain in my upper right side,it felt like it was under my ribs. I also had some breathing issues and had to be in the hospital over night due to my oxygen level being too low for a pregnant woman. My doctor told me over and over it was just because baby was putting pressure on my lungs and that I was carrying high so that was where the pain was coming from. I went on like normal...working, taking care of the family and exercising during those months. We found out that we were having another little girl and of course I started buying everything I could! I was still getting sick most days, but I was surviving.
I had a doctor appointment at about 27 weeks along. We went through the normal process like every other appointment but this time they told me my blood pressure was a tiny bit high. I guess they didn't see a problem with it and I scheduled my next appointment for 29 weeks to take some tests and talk about when to schedule my c-section. I had a c-section with my first daughter so we were just gonna do the same with Makena. A few days; later in the middle of the night, I woke up in pain. My right upper side was really hurting me. I tried a bath and tried to just sleep through it but nothing helped. I finally woke my boyfriend up and said I had to go to the hospital. My mom came and got my older daughter and we checked into the ER. Since I was 27 weeks they sent me up to labor and delivery. They admitted me over night to watch me and run tests.
My blood pressure was still high and after being there 24 hours they said the proteins in my urine was very very high. My doc came in and said it seemed like I had and I was going to deliver this baby girl early. Our local hospital is small and doesn't have the ability to care for a pre term baby or a high risk pregnancy so I was transported to Eugene about an hour away. I remember how scared we were and I kept praying I could make it until 30 weeks at least. I begged God to keep me and Makena safe and to let me keep her inside me as long as possible.
Once we got to Eugene they had me on best rest with low stimulization. They had me watch videos about the NICU and had a NICU doctor come in and talk to us about what to expect. That was a . I made it through that day and the next. They were doing nonstop labs on my blood and liver and watching me close. I turned 28 weeks . That morning at 6am they came in to take more blood. I remember I felt sick and so I called the nurse in to tell her that I was feeling pain again and I felt sick. She took my blood pressure and it was very high. The doctor decided it was time to take baby. I was in risk of having a seizure and so off I went to get prepped for a c-section.
At 8:58 am on November 9,2010 Makena Braelynn was born!
She came into this world 12 weeks early and weighed a whopping 1lb 8oz and was 13 3/4 inches long. I didn't get to see her but I sent daddy to check on her and take some pictures. Meanwhile things with me took a turn for the worst. My blood pressure didn't lower and my breathing was slowing down so much they were afraid I was going to seize. I don't remember too much during the recovery that day but my boyfriend said it was hard. He didn't know if I was going to make it. I finally woke up and slowly over that day I got up and moving. Unfortunetly my blood pressure was still high and my liver was not working right. It must of been a whole day before they wheeled me down to the NICU to see my tiny little girl. It was love at first sight! She was so small and under the blue lights for her jaundice. I got to touch her hand and I told her I loved her and we were all praying for her.
It took a few days before I finally got to hold her because of me being sick. I can close my eyes and remember just how I felt the first time I got to hold her. I didn't want to give her back to the nurses! I was there about a week longer and then I got discharged...I didn't want to leave her there but we had to.
As for Makena she had very strong healthy lungs and the nurses and doctors were surprised that she was doing so good. But as we know in the NICU its never just an uphill battle its a roller coaster. At first she didn't have to have a SI-PAP or C-PAP but pretty soon she started having a lot of apneas. Her precious nurse Lori spoke to the doctor and requested they take some blood because she suspected something was going on with our little girl. Thank goodness for her because they found a bacteria in her blood and had to start her on antibiotics. She had to be put on the SI-PAP machine and I believe she was on it for about a month. I know I didn't know if how I felt was right or if I was the only mommy in the NICU that felt the things I did.
I remember being angry at times. Angry I couldn't take my baby home with me when others around us were going home. We ended up staying in a guest house in Eugene because we live so far away so it was hard to be away from home and away from my 10 year old daughter so much. My boyfriend TJ was having his own hard time through all of this. He felt helpless and worthless. He wanted to be home and I couldn't bear to go home for the few days a week that we would. I cried everyday we had to be away from her...every second I couldn't be with her. I don't think I have ever cried so much in my life. Makena had other issues during the first month too. She wasn't making enough urine so they were worried about her kidneys at one point and also her heart. Then there is all the ultrasounds and scans of her brain and her heart and her eye exams. It was very overwhelming some days. I felt like it would never end. Then the day came in December that I got a phone call from Makena's primary nurse. They moved her down from the SI-PAP (breathes for her) to just a C-PAP (just flow)! I was so happy!!
It was only a few days later when they decided she was doing so good with hardly any apneas that they took her off her C-PAP and put her on HHNP(high humidity nasal prongs). I loved finally being able to see her face! To kiss her little cheeks and feel her skin against mine during .
Its funny..I thought as she got better it would get easier but it never did. I always worried that she was awake and that she knew I wasn't there. It seemed like after her breathing machines came off she progressed quickly. They took her prongs out about halfway through December and it was Christmas eve when they gave her a bottle for the first time. She ate the whole bottle her very first time. Makena did great and now that I look back we are so very lucky. She didn't have to have any surgeries and I know there were so many things that could of been wrong. I thank God for keeping his hand over her!!
At the beginning of January the doctor told me that they thought I could take Makena home in about a week. I got very nervous and scared! I was so ready these couple months to take her home and now that I knew the time was close I was so nervous. Could I keep her safe and from getting sick? I wanted to take our favorite nurse Lori home with us! But the day came...January 11th Makena got to come home with us. She was 4lbs 9oz and still so very small. We have been home since then and she is doing very good. At her last appointment she was 8lbs 15oz and 20 inches long. I am so grateful to all the nurses and doctors who took care of her. This experiance has forever changed me and my life. I feel like a have a calling in life now...to help premature babies and raise awareness of pre eclampsia. I wouldn't take it back for anything!
Thank you Carissa for being so open and sharing your story with us! You brought us some very scary issues that moms of preemies deal with before and after delivery. I loved how you really put them into terms that everyone can understand. Your story also reminds me of my Pre-E diagnoses and how serious it can be. Our organization, because of my story and so many others like you, supports the Preeclampsia Foundation for helping to raise nationwide awareness of this very serious conditon. God bless you and your little girl and thank you so much for being so open with us! ~Amber @ Preemie Prints