Because I don't want to forget anything about the nine days we spent with our little girl, here is an account of her short, but love-filled life. Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.
The morning before my c-section was fairly calm. We had gotten up early
(4am) so I could have one last meal before surgery. We packed the car
& prepared the house for our return as a family of three (which we
were really hoping & praying would happen). As I have mentioned
previously, we knew that Charlotte had some hurdles to overcome, but the
extent of them were unknown until she arrived. The biggest hurdle
being whether or not she could breathe on her own.
The reason for our scheduled c-section was three-fold: 1. Charlotte was
breech; 2. her condition warranted the doctors wanting to be fully
prepared to give her the best care possible; and 3. we would be having
her an hour away from home at Legacy Emanuel in Portland, in order to
receive the top care. For weeks leading up to our scheduled due date, I
feared my body would go into labor due to my high levels of fluid and
we'd have to rush to Portland as fast as we could, but thankfully that
didn't happen. But once I got checked in, I was informed that I was
having consistent contractions, although I couldn't feel any of them.
Surgery prep seemed pretty routine - IV put in, monitoring baby + I,
meeting the doctors that would be delivering Charlotte. Our family &
friends came to wait for Charlotte's arrival with us and we said one
last prayer together before I was wheeled to the operating room to meet
our little girl.
The surgery itself wasn't too memorable, even with it being my first
major surgery and all, but all my thoughts were consumed with the
anticipation of what was coming (Charlotte). Before they started the
c-section, we were told that they were going to give her a chance to
breathe on her own, but if she couldn't, the NICU staff would be ready
& waiting to assist her. Once I heard "here she comes!", I remember
just praying she'd overcome all of the obstacles ahead of her and
surprise everyone. But when they pulled her out I held my own breathe
waiting to hear her cry and when she didn't, I knew something wasn't right.
Charlotte Renè Grable was born on 12.12.12 at 2:35pm, weighing 6lbs 14oz and measuring just over 17in.
She was whisked away to a room off of the operating room and Sam
went to be with her almost immediately, which was our plan if this happened.
But when he didn't come back with her before they were done putting me
back together, my biggest fears were all I could think about. It wasn't
until I was being wheeled to recovery when I was finally able to see
our little girl for the first time, however looking at her was all I
could do as she was already hooked up to a CPAP breathing machine. My
heart broke seeing her all hooked up to machines and then shattered when
I went to my recovery room and Sam & Charlotte went to the NICU, instead of joining me.
Like surgery, my recovery wasn't too memorable either. The only thing I recall
is my deep desire to hear what was going on with Charlotte, so I put on a
happy face for those who came to check on me, but the only place I
really wanted to be was with my husband and little girl. Finally, after my two-hour
recovery time ended, I was wheeled up to the NICU to see Charlotte before going to the Family Birthing Center. Sam met me at the door of the NICU and
we had a chance to talk to the neonatologist about Charlotte's status,
which was what we thought - she was having trouble breathing. I was
informed that the CPAP wasn't working for Charlotte and they had to
intibate her instead, but the neonatologist still felt encouraged because she was out
breathing the machines. The tears I had been holding back for hours
finally came pouring out, a mix of fear and a love I had never
felt before. Before I knew it, I had to leave again and the
tears returned, mainly because I didn't know when I would see my
newborn baby again.
Sam continued to stay in the NICU with Charlotte as I was staying in the Family
Birthing Center. For a couple of days, all we could do was touch
Charlotte while she lay in her bed. Sam had a chance to change some
diapers and assist in other care for Charlotte, but my visits were
limited due to recovery and my medication schedule. It wasn't until
Friday afternoon when I was finally able to hold my baby girl for the first
time and while it was a little challenging due to all the tubes and
cords, it was hands down one of my top three moments of my life!
Friday also brought some meetings with the NICU staff. First, we met
with the geneticist, who had looked over Charlotte's bone scans and
confirmed her diagnosis - campomelic dysplasia. Then we met with the
neonatologist again and he said that since Charlotte was doing so well
on the breathing tube, they wanted to try the CPAP again, in hopes that
she would do better than she did at birth and hopefully she wouldn't
need further extensive breathing assistance. This was planned for the following
day and to be honest, it was hard not to hope for the best...