WARNING! This story is pretty lengthy... We received so many phone calls, e-mails and text messages from our friends and family today, asking tons of questions about everything that happened! It was definitely a long day and very hard to return phone calls and text messages, so I thought that the best way to share the full story was in blog form. However, this story is also for Kurt and I. I wanted to be able to write it all down quickly before I forgot any important details. Feel free to skip past any of the "boring stuff". :)
On Wednesday, (11/18), Kurt and I went to my regular 34 week appointment. My fundal measurement was a "little small". According to the tape measure... I was measuring exactly the same as I did at our 32 week appointment, basically meaning that there had been no growth over the past two weeks. We were told that it was more than likely nothing to worry about, and sometimes it isn't even accurate - the baby can be curled up into a ball or something, and causing the uterus to "seem" smaller than it actually is. Anyway, she told us she would like us to go get a growth ultrasound just to make sure that Baby was growing okay. She said that there was no rush, and we should just make sure we get it done sometime within the next two weeks, so that we'd be able to go over the results together at my 36 week appointment on December 1st. Other than that, I had been feeling great, and Olivia's heartbeat was "right on target", so we really felt like there was nothing to be concerned about.
I asked where we should go for this scan, and she said we could either go upstairs to the ultrasound area of the women's center where her office is, or we could make an appointment at the perinatal center, which is located inside of Methodist Hospital. We had gone there previously for our ultrasound at 20 weeks to find out the gender, so I just figured we might as well go there again since we knew the perinatologist already, etc. When we got out to the car, we talked about how there was probably nothing to worry about, and that it was an awesome surprise to get to have some more ultrasound pictures that most parents don't get to have this late in the pregnancy. I was excited, so I said we should just call right then and see if they could get us in this week sometime.
I called right away, and made an appointment for 11:30 AM on friday morning. The rest of Wednesday and Thursday flew by - we both worked and I had a couple of classes. This morning, I got up earlier than usual and got all ready for the appointment. I woke Kurt up and we were on our way. When we got there, the parking was ridiculous and I said "good thing we weren't coming here to have a baby today! I will freak out if we can't find a parking spot then"! -- Little did I know!
We got all checked in, and then the scan started out as normal. The same technician that we had last time administered the ultrasound, and we were both very relaxed. After a few minutes of measuring some bones and looking at her blood flow, she zoomed in on the heart. I thought it was weird that she was spending so much time looking at it, since last time we were in, they looked at it quickly and said that it looked great, then moved on to the next area. It was silent for a few minutes and I just kept telling myself that rthere was nothing to worry about, and I was just being paranoid! After a couple more minutes, she said "I need to go get Dr. Foley, she needs to look at some things". She left the room very quickly.
Dr. Foley rushed into the room, and said "I've been watching this scan from my office on my own computer, and there are some very concerning findings" - my heart dropped to the pit of my stomach. The next thing she said went something like "There is water surrounding Baby's heart, and she has no amniotic fluid around her". I think she said a few more sentances, but I was in such shock that I can't remember! Then, she very quickly told us that we were going to deliver this baby by cesarean, and a team of people would need to examine the baby very quickly. All I said was "Wait... we're doing this.... TODAY?!". She said yes, and that she didnt even want to wait for the Labor and Delivery team to come get me with the wheelchair, she wanted to walk me up to the 9th floor hereslf. Within 5 minutes I was chenged into a hospital gown, and laying in a hospital bed in a recovery room getting my blood drawn and IVs put in.
The team was AMAZING.. The nurses were so nice to me, and completely sensitive to the fact that I was on the verge of freaking out. Kurt stayed out in the hallway for a minute to call our parents and let them know that we were about to meet Olivia, and they needed to get up here as fast as they could. Then he was given scrubs to change into. The whole time we were getting "prepped" the nurses explained what was going on and what was about to happen. I got wheeled down the hall to the operating room, and all of a sudden there was about 10 or maybe even 15 doctors and specialists surrounding me. The anesthesiologist gave me a spinal block while Kurt and I signed forms and had a jillion things plugged into my fingers, arms, etc.
Literally 5 minutes (if even that long) later, Olivia Margaret Miller made her very dramatic enterance into the world! The tried to hold her up for me to see quickly, but the big curtain blocking my view from the c-section was in the way, so I only got to see her foot. The surgery went so fast it was unreal. The spinal block kicked in ridiculously fast, and they started operating right away. All i felt were a few pushes on my abdomen, and thats it! Kurt got to go over to the other side of the room and watch them clean her up, etc. He came back and told me that she had lots of dark hair, and that she looked just like a full-term baby, just extremely tiny. I could hear the team explaining to him that she had great color and that she looked like she was doing very well for the circumstances, and they gave her a breathing tube.
He was so amazing throughout the entire surgery, by the way. He stayed up by my face, and talked to me non-stop so that I wouldn't start crying or getting upset. I don't know what I would have done without him there - I really think I would have lost my mind!! I couldn't ask for a better fiance or a better daddy for our little baby girl.
I would also like to say that the team who delivered Olivia, helped Olivia get cleaned up, etc was so unbelievable. They explained everything step by step to me as they were doing it, constantly asked me if I was okay, and told me every few minutes how things were going. I never felt like we were left in the dark, and they gave me the confidence that I needed to stay strong and keep remianing calm.
I laid there for a while longer and got all "put back together". Kurt stayed for a bit, and then the NICU team asked if he wanted to go with her to see where she was going. I told him he absolutely needed to go with her and that I'd be fine by myself. Before they left, they held her up to me for about a minute, and let me kiss her forehead. She had such soft, delicate skin!
They took me back to the recovery room, and I was covered with blankets. The doctors all told me that they were so surprised with how calm I was, and that they couldn't believe that I was just "going with the flow" so well. - Partly, I feel like it was because I had literally ZERO time for any of this information to process. There was a lot of it, and it came at us very fast. There was less than an hour (56 minutes to be exact) between the time our ultrasound appointment began, and Little Olivia's time of birth. I also believe that God was trying to tell me that everything would be ok. I think I really just put everything in His hands, and almost removed myself from the situation.
After a bit, Kurt came back and said that Olivia had opened her eyes and looked at him in the NICU while they were getting her all set up. He looked so happy and proud, I wish I had been able to take a picture of the way his face looked during that moment. Our families (my mom, dad, sister Abbie, aunt Mary, Kurt's mom and dad, and his sister Jordynn) were all out in the hallway, but were not allowed to come visit me in the recovery room.
My temperature kept dropping, so I had to lay there with TONS of hot blankets on my for a long time (OK it wasn't really a long time, probably 45 minutes, but it seemed like FOREVER!) before they would take me to my real hospital room and let me see my family.
Finallllyyyyyy we got to go up to our room, and once the nurses got me all settled in, our family came in and we FINALLY got to see them! My Grandma 'Nore got to the hospital just as I was being wheeled past everyone! We talked and explained things to them for a couple of hours while we waited to be able to see Olivia. I was told that once I could feel my legs and could be moved into a wheel chair, we would get to go down to the NICU.
After about four long hours of waiting, a nurse finally helped Kurt and I get down to the NICU floor, and I got to REALLY meet our beautiful daughter for the very first time. She looked absolutely perfect, like a teeny tiny little doll. I am still in awe.
Now for the most important part of the day: Little Olivia's status. Basically everything that they had suspected from looking at the ultrasound was true. She has a little bit of fluid surrounding her heart, but they said not a lot. They ran numerous tests on her, ultrasounds and x-rays. We were told that most of the results wouldn't be completely back for a few days, so there would be a lot of waiting! The BEST news was that she is SO much stronger than they were expecting. She isn't breathing on her own yet, but they said that her lungs are great, and her blood pressure was awesome. Even though there's fluid around her heart, "from a cardiac standpoint, there isn't much concern". We are still waiting on the results from the CAT scan of her brain. The neuro surgeons have already looked at her, and according to Olivia's NICU doctor, they will be able to address any concerns that the test results might raise.
After we visited her for a while, all of the grandparents came in to meet their brand new (FIRST!) baby grandchild!
After everyone left for the night, Kurt and I visited Olivia one more time. We had a long talk with her nurse, and I was given all of the nursing information that I will need to store milk for Olivia. She will be on an IV for a few days which will provide her with her fluids, but after that (hopefully sooner rather than later), they will be able to giver her a feeding tube, and she'll get to have breast milk just like normal! I am extremely excited about this, because I kind of assumed that she'd just have to be on formula because of all this craziness!
Now we are both completely exhausted. In fact, Kurt is asleep on the cot next to me, and I am just enjoying some quiet time to myself before I go to bed.
For those of you that just read the entire story, Thank you!! Like I said, I wanted to be able to share this amazing day with all of you, but I also needed a place to write down all of the details so that Kurt and I don't forget any of them!
Words cannot describe how appreciative Kurt and I are of the support we received from all of our friends and family today. We are so blessed, and so loved by so many people. For those of you who sent messages saying that you're praying for Olivia and for our little family - thank you! She can use all the prayers she can get!
And now.. Introducing, Olivia Margaret Miller!!