Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Guest Post - Cheryl from Lips Unzipped

I asked a new friend a couple weeks ago to share her preemie story. Unfortunately, last week I wasn't able to post her story because of a trip to Indiana and no internet, but this week, I am thrilled to introduce you to Cheryl from Lips Unzipped!


Hi everyone!!! Denise recently asked if anyone would be willing to write a guest post on preemies, since it is prematurity awareness month! I’ll introduce myself a little bit and then get into the nitty gritty details! I’m Cheryl, a 28 year old mom to 2 beautiful little girls. Lauren who is almost 3 and Jillian who turned 1 in September. Married to my “soul mate” (sound sickening?? Well, I didn’t believe in soul mates either until I met Adam) we’ve been together for almost 10 years, married for almost 5.

My first daughter, Lauren was born at 38 weeks, 1 day. Via c-section. I had been having pretty regular contractions and she was sitting VERY low in my pelvis. I actually started with preterm labour on Christmas Eve of 2006. Lauren is my “atypically” developing child. No serious complications after birth, nothing that would ever clue me into problems we might have with subsequent children. My wish was always to have a large family, since I’m an only child. However, it didn’t work out that way!

Jillian is the icing to our cake, I guess. My worrying about her started at 12 weeks gestation. When I had the triple screen done to check for chromosomal defects. I went to the doctor and he told me that my levels for Downs Syndrome and Spina Bifida were raised. Adam and I opted to have an amnio, not that we would have done anything with the results, we just needed to know. Come to find out, Jillian’s chromosomes were all there, happy, healthy and accounted for. My doctor warned that it might be a placental problem, so, we’d have to keep an eye on it.

Now while I was pregnant, I met a wonderful friend Anna. Who actually had a 26 weeker. I visited them on a regular basis and hoped that I would be BEGGING Jillian to vacate my body. Almost a month after Noel was born, I was walking back from visiting him and noticed that my pants and underwear were wet. It was summer. I started making excuses about why it might be happening. “Maybe I peed myself?” (Jillian was also a frank breech presentation) “Maybe Jillian kicked something?” Lauren needed a nap, so, I laid down to get some rest when she fell asleep. When I stood up, I felt a small gush. I panicked. I was 29 weeks, 3 days. I immediately called Adam and asked him to come home.

Fast forward 4 days. My doctor and I had already discussed that I was going to have a repeat c-section. I REALLY wanted a VBAC, but, my uterine scar was thinning. I was put on complete hospital bedrest for 4 days. I was only allowed up to use the bathroom, oh and a 5 minute shower every 2 days, where a nurse would stand outside and knock when my time was up. I felt like a prisoner, but I was willing to do anything to keep Jillian inside! Luckily, Adam was able to stay home with Lauren and they made twice daily treks to the hospital.

September 8th, 2008 marked the day that Jillian entered our family. She was born at 30 weeks gestation. Jillian gave us a scare the night before she was born when her heart rate was up to 190 bpm. She settled down and I attempted to sleep. My doctor arrived in the morning (after being on call all night) and did an ultrasound. I was contracting every 10 minutes, but it wasn’t painful at all. I thought it was Braxton hicks and that it would go away. He checked my cervical length and dilation through the ultrasound since my water had broken, they didn’t want to introduce any bacteria. At 8am, I was completely closed, not effaced, feeling I had nothing to worry about.

By 10 o’clock, I was having to breathe through contractions and concentrate. I paged my nurse (who immediately came running because she knew I didn’t page them unless absolutely necessary) my nurse paged the resident on call. They were all trying to decide if they should take me to labour and delivery to monitor my contractions, or just take Jillian out. The resident decided to check to see if I were dilating. I had made it to 3 cms (in less than 2 hours). Since my blood pressure was so low, they couldn’t put me on ANY drugs to stop the contractions. So, it was go time. I asked them how long I had before we went to the OR. I was told 10 minutes, TOPS. I IMMEDIATELY called Adam and told him to get to the hospital. Thankfully a nurse and a social worker were able to watch Lauren. By the time my spinal was placed they checked me again and I was 6 cms dilated, guess it is true that you go faster with your second baby!

Since Jillian was breech, when the doctors lifted her out, they flashed me her bum before heading to the NICU. I was so upset to be separated from her, but, I knew she was in VERY competent hands. Considering her gestational age, it really surprised EVERYONE that she cried when she was born.
After spending 5 weeks in the NICU, Jillian FINALLY got to come home on Thanksgiving Monday (October 13, 2008- we’re Canadian, eh?!) I thought that our battle with prematurity was over . Sure, we had TONS of doctors visits and other things to keep her healthy, but I didn’t think we’d see any long term effects.

In November of 2008, Jillian was hospitalized briefly for a blue spell. She stopped breathing for 5 seconds, twice. HOW SCARY! They decided to do a head ultrasound while we were there (VERY common in preemies) they did see that she had a PVL and told me it could lead to Cerebral Palsy. Obviously devastated, I wanted to be able to fight for Jillian. We ended up having another head ultrasound in February of 2009. Fortunately, they saw that her PVL was gone. Adam and I were ecstatic. Unfortunately, her soft spot was fusing, so they didn’t get an accurate picture.

Jillian is developmentally delayed, with VERY high muscle tone in her legs and trunk. Depending on early intervention, we started therapies. In September of 2009, Jillian’s fabulous doctor decided that she needed a sedated MRI to see if there were any underlying causes of her delays and muscle tone. It was then we learned that the PVL wasn’t gone, in fact, it had gotten bigger. Obviously upset again, I decided we needed to fight harder for Jillian.

As of October 22nd, 2009, Jillian has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. We don’t know the type or severity yet as we have to see what Jillian will do on her own. Our hopes are high that Jillian will over come this, but we also have to be realistic about the whole thing. Jillian’s CP is a result of her early birth. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would have a “special needs” baby. Not that I’m close minded or anything like that. But, I think we as parents NEVER want to hear that there is something wrong with your child.

We are now awaiting so many specialists I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to sleep. Jillian is our icing on the cake, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Thank you for sharing - what a terrifying & difficult experience!