Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Olivia

Today, Kurt and I met our brand new baby girl (very unexpectedly and about 5 weeks early) at 12:26pm. She weighs 2 lbs and 11 ounces. She is currently in the NICU, and will more than likely have to remain there until her due date (December 29th, 2009) if not even a little bit longer.

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!!


Mommy, Daddy and baby Liv - VERY tired from the long, long day!

I think this one is Olivia's FIRST Picture! SO sleepy!!

Daddy's little Girl

Pretty Baby


Holding Daddy's Hand...

Holding Mommy's Hand!

Check out the hair on this kid! Beautiful


Anonymous said...

OMG BETSY! That story was amazing. I felt like I was there. I will be praying for your little baby and I am so excited for the two of you! MISS you tons and you are so brave for staying so strong! LOve you threeee!!!
-Ash Eakin

mary.erwin said...

Betsy and Kurt

Congratulations on your little miracle! She is beautiful! I am so happy for you and so proud of you both! Your calmness and patience in the hospital yesterday was amazing and if it is any indication of what type of parents you will be, Olivia is truly blessed! Congratulations!! We love you all!!
Aunt Mary (Ollie's Great Aunt)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! You have a tough little girl on your hands. We recently had a preemie due to pre E on the 3rd of this month. I wanted to encourage you in your breastfeeding! We had to fight with the neos at our hospital to not supplement her. They wanted to add fortifier to my milk and I wouldn't let them. My baby came home after 8 days and has done great she has put on wieght like a champ and so can yours!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow!! I am so happy for you and Kurt that everything went smoothly! I am so proud of you mommy!! I cannot wait to meet baby Olivia. I am praying for your entire family!! Congratulations!!! LOVE YOU!

Katie Guz

Anonymous said...

Betsy!! I am so happy for you that you have a beautiful little girl and she seems to be doing great!! That story is awesome, i think i said out loud OH MY GOSH! like 3 times haha. Well i hope all goes well and i still realllllly can't wait to meet her!! You are all in my thoughts!!


Anonymous said...


I almost started crying when I read this, I cannot beleive how strong you were throughout all of this. Having a baby myself, I know how scary it is, I was shaking literally the entire time I was in the hospital getting ready to have him. I was I had low amniotic fluid during my pregnancy and my OB made it sound like I would have to deliver at 35 weeks, I was scared to death! I cannot imagine getting this news! Thank god Olivia has a strong mommy like you! I'm so glad she is doing okay! This stressful, scary situation has turned into a miracle! Congratulations again!!!

-Michaela Callahan

Anonymous said...

COngratulations on your little blessing. She's a fighter that's for sure. your story almost made me want to cry. I also just had my baby and I can only say that you are a really strong woman. Saying lots of prayers for you and your family.


Anonymous said...

Betsy and Kurt,
I cried through this whole story, and I'm still crying. It is so encouraging to see your amazing faith even in times of extreme chaos. I would have had a mental breakdown if this would have happened to me, but you were both so calm and mature. I really feel like God was wrapping his arms around you.

I am so excited to meet you and kiss your little cheeks for the first time. Always remember that you are truely blessed to have such amazing parents. Your daddy called Catelyn right after you were born and said that you were a "little warrior" I thought that was the cutest name ever! I love you so much already!

Abigail Rose Vetick

Anonymous said...

I am so happy for you and your families. Without a doubt, I am sure Olivia and you both are in many, many people's thoughts and prayers. I canNOT wait to see this little girl and most of all to see her in your arms. I love you guys!! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.


Maggie Ballard said...

Wow that was absolutely amazing to read! I am so happy for your huge blessing in this life that comes in such a little (but growing!) package! Congratulations to you both, to your parents for becoming grandparents, and to Olivia for being such a trooper! I could type for a long time about how happy I am for you both, but instead I'm going to go get some tissues and dry my eyes!


mary.erwin said...

Betsy and Kurt

I want you to know that not a day goes by that I don't think of you both and little Olivia. It breaks my heart to know you are hurting and if there was a way I could take on some of your pain and heartache, I would. Your strength continues to amaze me!

Olivia's funeral was so beautiful and this blog is amazing - you have done an awesome job at celebrating her short life. I am so grateful that you allowed me to share some of her short time here on earth and I was able to hold and kiss her. She will always be in our hearts.

Love and prayers,
Aunt Mary

Anonymous said...

Betsy and Kurt ~

Although it's been three weeks since Olivia passed away, I'm sitting here with TEARS just streaming down my face after reading your blog and seeing her for the first time. What a beautiful baby! I love the close-up picture and the one where she is under the sun lamp. She looked just like a doll!

We all know God works in mysterious ways, but sometimes what He thinks is best is so hard to understand.

I wish I could have been there to meet her and then to attend her funeral and say goodbye. I wish I could have been there to grieve with the family, to hug you, and to lend emotional support. It's good to know you have so many other family members - and friends -nearby to help comfort you in such a difficult and sorrowful time.

Your blog was such a great story, and it is great that you were able to have pictures of Livvie taken with so many family members. Those will be so dearly cherished.

I love you, Betsy, and Kurt. God Bless!

Aunt Sue

Lori said...

Your little girl was absolutely beautiful. I am heartbroken she is not with you. She was born only 8 days before my sweet little Matthew.

Sorry you are missing her. Lifting you up.

Kristin B said...

Found your blog link on the MC board. Tears are just streaming down my face. My little Ethan was born 11/11/09 and he is almost 7 months now. I don't understand why your beatiful little girl isn't here now-it is not fair. I had two mc's in '08 and still think about them from time to time. Olivia is a beautiful little girl.

lanaijen said...

Hi Betsy,
I found your blog through Faces of Loss. I am so sorry you lost your little Olivia. We just recently lost our baby girl, Stella, after 6 days. She was born three weeks early and hadWolf Hirschhorn syndrome. She had severe heart defects and kidney failure. Her little body could was not strong enough for the surgery that would save her life. I would love to talk to you more if you are up to emailing me: Take care and God Bless, Jennifer

Jeremy and Megan said...

I just found your blog googling "march for babies t-shirt ideas" and the shirt you made linked back to your blog. Reading Olivia''s birth story brought me to tears because we went through something VERY similar exactly 9 months and 1 day ago with our daughter Olivia. I am so sorry for your loss, your daughter was beautiful!

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