Thursday, March 25, 2010

You're joking, right??

"She's having trouble getting oxygen, we're moving her to the Special Care Nursery.
Uh, OK. Is she alright?
Yes, we just need to get her some oxygen and help her breathe a little. "
an hour or so later....
"Are you aware of what Trisomy 21 is?
That's Down Syndrome, right?
Yes, we think we see some markers for T21, and believe she has a heart condition, we'll need to transfer her to Children's Hospital right away. The transport team should be here within the hour."
"You're joking."

Well, I'd like to think that's what I said - but in reality, it wasn't that clean. I had done the Quad Screen test when I was pregnant and it came back with us "in the clear", so we did not do any further testing for any genetic anomalies. Not that it would have made a difference - as I said, I'm a worry wort so I would have worried had something come back questionable. But the most important problem was that I hadn't held my daughter yet! She had been whisked away after Todd held her and I hadn't had a moment with her yet. So they were able to get me off the gurney and into the wheelchair and took me to the nursery where there was my little girl, under an oxygen hood and not happy about it. The Childrens' Hospital transport team was there getting her prepped to go and gave us a few minutes to hang with her so she could hear our voices. It seemed to calm her a bit.

She didn't have a name yet - we had a list, but hadn't decided on one for sure. I looked at Todd and said we needed to send her to Children's with a name. He looked at me and chose "Caroline." That was the name I had loved all along for a daughter, and it was at the top of our list, but he never acted like he was sold on it. But she IS a Caroline. Caroline Page Rismiller. Page is my middle name, it was my grandmother's maiden name. CPR, ironically enough.

So off to Children's she went that morning. I headed to the recovery room and Todd and I tried to get some sleep for a few hours. We were both completely exhausted and in shock of what had happened in the prior hours. I felt so empty going to the room without our daughter in my arms. I felt like we didn't belong on the floor, without our baby there with us. The nurses put a "It's a Girl" banner on our door and a little sign that said "CCHMC" - meaning she was at Children's.

We were so overwhelmed. What do we do now?????

Here We Go!

So around 11pm on Sunday, August 30th, I'm all all ready for bed and ready to go to work the next day when suddenly I started having what felt like strong menstrual cramps. Mind you, we did birthing classes and I was expecting to have contractions for a few hours, get to the "1 minute long, 5 minutes apart" stage - so I wasn't quite thinking this was labor. After all, I had no contractions that I could feel, yet. But we called my OB anyway, and she told us to go to the hospital and get checked out, but that I probably wasn't in labor because I had not had any clear labor pains yet.

At midnight, we had thrown on clothes, grabbed whatever was in the bags and got into the car because I was timing 45-second contractions, 2 minutes apart. This was less than an hour after I had my FIRST twinge of a contraction! At 12:15 when we got to the hospital after running a few red lights, I was ready to strangle someone from the pain. My water broke in the triage room (excellent timing, I thought), and found out I was already 5 cm dilated! An hour later I was 9cm, but luckily had enough time to get the epidural, take a breath, and get a grip.

Miss Caroline arrived at 4:50am that morning, just shy of 6 hours after my contractions began. 7lb 11 ounces, 20 inches long. She's beautiful!!!

But................ She's turning a little blue and not breathing so well.........

Where do I start?

Wow, I'm officially a blogger. Never done the blogging thing before, but after Caroline came into our lives, I knew I had to do something to document everything that's happened since her birthday - and what a great way to keep it all in one place for her to read later. So here goes.

So Todd and I had been married about 4 years in 2008. We had decided when we got married to wait a few years and enjoy being married before bringing children into our lives. Being in our 30s, we knew we shouldn't wait long. We talked for a good year to year and a half about whether we were ready to try to conceive - were we ready for our lives to slow down, to put off the twice-a-year vacations, and all that. By fall of 2008 we were ready.

One round of ovulation kits later, I took a test on January 1, 2009, and it was positive!!! We were surprised - didn't expect to get pregnant so soon, but OK, we'll roll with it! I had suffered a miscarriage 2 years before, a surprise pregnancy in the first place, so we decided to keep this one quiet until we were close to 12 weeks.

Of course, in the meantime, we took a cruise. So Caroline has already been to Puerto Rico, she's seen the nude beach in St Maarten, kayaked in Dominica, seen the nutmeg farms in Grenada, and snorkeled in Bonaire. We'll just tell her about it later. I lived with the Sea-Bands on my wrists to combat the motion sickness I already had just from being on the cruise ship in the first place!

All was OK with the pregnancy until I found out I had gestational diabetes in June. That was a big shock! I had been eating well, more healthy than I did when i WASN'T pregnant, but we had to roll with it and spend the last trimester of my pregnancy watching every little thing I ate and checking my blood sugar 4 times a day. And I'm a worry wort so this was not fun. I was convinced I would end up on insulin shots, and had every excuse known to man ready as to why they shouldn't make me take them. In the end though, I had to realize that this wasn't anything I did - Caroline's placenta was overloading my system with glucose and my body just wasn't handling it well. I managed to get thru the rest of pregnancy with Glyburide tablets and my sugar levels went back to normal after I had her. But man, what I wouldn't have given for a hot caramel sundae from Dairy Queen that last month!!!

Todd and I are HUGE, and I mean HUUUUGE, Jimmy Buffett fans. Between he and I, together we've seen close to 30 live shows. In 2009, the Cincinnati show was scheduled for August 6th, and I was due on September 10th. So, we knew it had to be a sign when we got closed out of tickets on the day they went on sale thru Ticketmaster. Did I really want to waddle around Riverbend during the day and deal with the crowd on what could be a very hot day? So, we held off. As the time got closer though, we decided we just needed to go - our last Buffett show as "just the two of us." So we managed to find pavilion seats, the day before the show, and paid face value! Caroline heard her first Buffett show, in utero, less than a month before she arrived into the world. We just knew we had to introduce her to Jimmy the right way, Braxton Hicks contractions be damned. :) It was a great night, we were so glad we went, and that was probably the first Buffett show I attended, sober, since I was about 17!!!!! FINS UP!!!

So fast forward to August 30th. Todd had been out of town a good part of the prior week, working at the Darke County Fair with his family and side business, 2001 Flavors. I was starting to feel uncomfortable, but not so much that I thought I would go into labor - but we asked the neighbors to be "on call" anyway. Friday at work, I closed out lots of items and brought my plant home because I just had a feeling something would happen over the weekend. I made Todd come home and be with me Friday night, but felt better Saturday so he went back to the fair until Sunday morning. Sunday I had been pretty uncomfortable but hadn't felt contractions at all, so we did our usual: get dinner (Mexican, not regular but it sounded good), go for a walk, have a Klondike bar. Got ready for bed, and then something felt a little funny....................